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Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Title: The Lady with an Ermine
Technique: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 54,8 × 40,3 cm
Date: ca. 1483-1490
Location of creation:
Current Location: Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland
Movement: Renaissance

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Title: Drapery Study for a Seated Figure
Technique: Brush and grey tempera on “tela di lino” prepared in grey
Dimensions: 26,6 x 23,3 cm
Date: ca. 1470
Location of creation:
Current Location: Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Movement: Renaissance


During the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci is considered to be the first artist to study optics and the properties of light, in both science and art. These prolific studies allowed him to create masterful effects in the portrayal of shadows, light masses, perspective and luminescence effects.

Led into the study of optics mainly by his interest of perspective, he recognized that the perception of space depends greatly on light.

In his body of work there is a growing attention to the effects of light upon objects and human flesh (rather than a focus on the description of the actual form) and light begins to be used to create specific perspectives and shapes.

His drapery study is a magnificent example of how he used darkness and light (chiaroscuro) to create depth. Whereas in The Last Supper, light, optics and perspective carve luminous figures accurately in space. In all of Leonardo’s universe, the world of light is the foundational cornerstone from which reality can be seen, perceived, and understood.

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