Sources of Inspiration in the Early Life of Leonardo da Vinci

Christopher W. Tyler, Ph.D., D.Sc.


Although the early life of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence seems singularly unproductive, particularly considering the acknowledged breadth of his genius, an inferential examination of his early work reveals an interesting scope of likely activities. A self-referential element is his only signed and dated work, a landscape drawing, which is identified as a likely commemoration of the date of his conception in Vinci, a unique concept in art historical analysis. To develop a fuller picture of his accomplishments in this early period requires an interconnected series of analyses and reappraisals, including an interpretation of the otherwise puzzling set of young men in red caps painted by Botticelli as the incipiently famous group of artists that trained in Verrocchio’s bottega. These analyses fill out the picture of Leonardo’s formative years in the hillsides and towns around Vinci, as not only a precocious artist based on exposure to works by famous artists before leaving Vinci, but as a handsome studio model, an extempore musician, a leading member of the redcap band of remarkable apprentices in Medici Florence, an engineering assistant to his master Verrocchio, and a collaborative associate of the pioneering group of Florentine perspectivists including Uccello and Toscanelli in their later years.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.