Masters, companions, friends and disciples

Masters, companions, friends and disciples

Still today, Leonardo's relations with his contemporaries are unclear as well as the considerable influence exerted on him by his predecessors. Like other Renaissance artists, Leonardo surely studied works of classical art and his declared admiration for Giotto and Masaccio is as significant as his implicit esteem of Brunelleschi. Although Verrocchio is known as his master, he was undoubtedly influenced also by the Pollaiolo and by the works of Flemish artists. In his manuscripts he mentioned some of the greatest artists of the time as friends, and he had a shop and a school whose importance was underestimated in the past. Leonardo's influence is particularly evident in the works of the Florentine shops active in the last decades of the 15th century. His heritage fell to the Mannerists in the first decades of the 16th century.

  • Great architect and theoretician of art Alberti exerted a significant influence on Leonardo, who could study many buildings built by Alberti in Florence: lthe Loggia and Palazzo Rucellai, the façade of Santa Maria Novella, the tempietto of the Holy Sepulchre in San Pancrazio and the dome of the Santissima Annunziata. Well known to Leonardo were Alberti's theoretical works. These writings are, in fact, recurrently mentioned in Leonardo's notes.

  • Mathematician, he held the position of procurator of the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli. His name recurs several times in the deeds notarised by Leonardo's father. He could have been Leonardo's master of abacus, who was instead, according to other hypotheses, Giovanni del Sodo, another Florentine mathematician.

  • Botticelli was a pupil of Verrocchio along with Leonardo. He is recalled by Leonardo in the Codex Atlanticus and again in the Book on Painting. Noteworthy is the presence in Florence of the fresco of St . Augustine in his studio, in which appears an astrolabe that recalls the drawing of a perspectograph done by Leonardo around 1480.

  • Famous architect of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, he designed other beautiful buildings in Florence. Great protagonist of the early Renaissance, he was also an important sculptor.He greatly influenced the young Leonardo, who re-elaborated his construction site machines in several notes.

  • Cimabue was a leading figure in the renewal of the visual arts that took place in Italy between the 13th and 14th centuries. He produced such masterpieces as the Crucifix of Santa Croce and the Maestà in the Uffizi, and collaborated in the realization of the mosaics for the Baptistry. Leonardo mentions that he was a student of Giotto.

  • Born in Florence, he lived on the corner of Piazza Santa Croce with Via del Diluvio (now Via Verdi). He was in Rome with Leonardo when he was commissioned by Pope Leo X Medici to bring his message to Ethiopia. During the trip he wrote to Giuliano de 'Medici a letter containing an ambiguous mention of Leonardo, which has given rise to his fame as a "vegetarian" and "animalist". He performed important astronomical, geographical and ethnographic surveys; he introduced movable type for printing into Africa,

  • Luca Della Robbia (1400-1482), his nephew Andrea, and the latter’s son Giovanni formed an illustrious dynasty of artists. Their atelier was associated with the marvelous “invention” of glazed terracotta, a technique they used to produce many works for churches and other buildings in Florence and around Tuscany. Leonardo mentions the Della Robbia family in his Libro di pittura.

  • Originally from the homonymous castle in Chianti, it was a Florentine family of watchmakers, goldsmiths, astronomers, mathematicians, inventors and cartographers to which Lorenzo (1446-1512), Bernardo, Camillo, Benvenuto, Eufrosino and Girolamo belonged. In January 1504 Lorenzo was with Leonardo among the experts consulted on where to place Michelangelo's David. It is highly probably that Lorenzo and Leonardo exchanged their experience on the subject of clock-making and other technological studies. Manuscripts and artifacts attributed to family members are now visible in many places in Florence.

  • In the Codex Atlanticus Leonardo mentions this painter, whose work reflects the influence of Baldovinetti and above all Fra Angelico. He is best known for the large fresco Dante e la Divina Commedia that he painted for the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore. Other works by him include a charming Madonna today in the Museo del Bigallo.

  • Architect and engineer; in 1458 the initial project for Palazzo Pitti was commissioned of him in Florence; in 1487 he was in Milan, where he met Leonardo. Fancelli had been summoned to that city to judge the projects for the lantern over the Milan Cathedral, on which Leonardo too was working. And it was from Milan that Fancelli wrote to Lorenzo the Magnificent, describing a project destined to make the Arno navigable from Florence to Signa. Fancelli's daughter Chiara married Perugino.

  • Born in Siena, he was an architect, engineer, painter and sculptor. Leonardo studied his treatises and was with him at Pavia in 1490. Some of Leonardo's autograph drawings were attributed to him in the past. Recent attempts have been made to assign Leonardo a very important role, although not yet proven, in Francesco di Giorgio's architectural works, such as Santa Maria delle Grazie at Cortona. It is more probable instead that Leonardo was influenced by him.

  • A painter, like his brothers David and Benedetto, he was the master of Michelangelo. He is considered to be, like Leonardo, one of Verrocchio's pupils. To him were once attributed two masterpieces, the Annunciation in the Uffizi, today attributed by most critics to Leonardo, and a singular painting, the Miller Tondo in Palazzo Vecchio. In Florence his major works are found in the churches of Santa Trinita and Santa Maria Novella; in the latter church, in the Portrait of a Lady in the Tornabuoni Chapel he foreshadows the dynamic pose of the Mona Lisa.

  • The great painter, sculptor and architect Giotto, born in the village of Vicchio in Mugello, was the leading protagonist in the revitalization of Gothic art in Italy. He is cited with admiration by Leonardo around 1490 in the Codex Atlanticus for having rescued painting from its decline by turning to the direct study of nature.

  • The son of Filippo and pupil of Botticelli, he was a close friend of Leonardo, as shown by their exchanges of commissions for paintings: this is the case of the altarpiece for the Chapel of San Bernardo in Palazzo della Signoria and the one with the Sant’Anna for the high altar of the Santissima Annunziata. Some of his works are in the Badia Fiorentina and the Uffizi, while his frescoes by Filippino ca be seen in the Brancacci Chapel at the Church of Carmine and in the Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella.

  • He was above all a pupil of Verrocchio (who named him his heir) and a disciple of Leonardo, with whom he had many points in common as regards pictorial style. In fact masterpieces of Leonardian portrait painting, were once attributed to Lorenzo, including the Lady with an Ermine. Important paintings by Lorenzo di Credi are preserved in the Uffizi and in the church of San Domenico in Fiesole.

  • Machiavelli and Leonardo were in close contact during the early years of the 16th century, when Leonardo was in the service of Cesare Borgia, working on the project for deviating the Arno around Pisa as well as on the fortifications of Piombino, and had begun to paint the Battle of Anghiari. When the Medici returned to Florence, Machiavelli was dismissed from service and devoted himself to writing.

  • In his short life, spent in the Oltrarno in Florence, Masaccio profoundly innovated the Florentine art of the fifteenth century, starting from the perspective: it was studied and admired by Leonardo, who in the Codex Atlanticus mentions him as an example of rebirth against the decadence of art imitation.

  • When in 1500 Leonardo returned to Florence, he did so in the company of Luca Pacioli, who was housed in the Franciscan convent of Santa Croce. Leonardo had met the illustrious mathematician in Milan, where he had been his pupil in the years in which he illustrated the De Divina Proportione. Pacioli, among other things, recalled in the De Viribus Quantitis an emergency bridge made by Leonardo.

  • Painter of Umbrian origin, he worked in Verrocchio's shop alongside Leonardo. Raphael's father described the two pupils as «two youths equal in estate and in love»: in Perugino's Virgin with two Angels, today in London, it is possible to detect Vinci's participation. Many of his paintings are preserved in Florence.

  • Explicitly mentioned by Leonardo, he is one of the great protagonists of the '400: he greatly influenced Leonardo with his De Prospectiva pingendi, as well as with his painting which highlighted mathematical concepts. In Tuscany there are works by Piero in the Uffizi and in various sites in the province of Arezzo.

  • Mentioned many times by Leonardo, Bartolomeo Sacchi (known as Platina) was well known for his culinary skills. Born near Cremona, he was appreciated in some of the major courts of the time, worked in the Vatican for the Pope's library and had relations with the Medici Academy together with Ficino.

  • Antonio (1431 -1498) and Piero Benci (1441 c.-1496), known as the Pollaiolo. Both were painters: Antonio, more than his brother, excelled in the goldsmith's art and in sculpture. He was also one of the first great engravers (as exemplified by the extraordinary Battle of the Nudes). Piero is the author of the famous Portrait of a young lady of Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan. Undoubtedly, they strongly influenced the young Leonardo, as regards both style and the study of anatomy; there are also obvious links to what concerns the conception of the landscape and the intense dynamics of the figures in space.

  • In his youth he was a pupil of Leonardo.He came from Pontorme, a village only 10 kilometers from Vinci, represented by Leonardo on his maps.Among his many works visible in Florence the best known is the Deposition in the Church of Santa Felicita, but many others are visible in different churches and museums. At Pontorme are found today the Saints painted by him in the Church of San Michele, while the house where he was born has been restored and is open to the public.

  • A sculptor who trained as a young man with Verrocchio's circle, he was influenced by Leonardo, as shown by some roughed-out sculptures inspired by the Battle of Anghiari. Starting in 1506 he worked on the sculptural group representing the Preaching of the Baptist for the Florentine Baptistery, with the advice and perhaps the participation of Leonardo; the two artists lived together in the nearby Palazzo Martelli.

  • Antonio da Sangallo the Elder was appreciated as an architect in various Tuscan cities, and worked with Leonardo in Piombino. His brother Giuliano, also an architect as well as a military engineer and sculptor, worked in Florence and out of town for projects of the highest prestige: he was with Leonardo in Milan in October 1492 to present Ludovico Sforza with the project of a grandiose palace. Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, their nephew, was an architect and carver: he worked in Rome in the circle of Bramante and collaborated with Raphael.

  • Sculptor, goldsmith and painter. The presence of Leonardo in his shop is expressly documented. Leonardo's belonging to his school is confirmed by various sources, as well as clearly demonstrable from a stylistic point of view in works such as the Annunciation and the Baptism of the Uffizi. In 1471 Verrocchio placed the gilded copper sphere on the top of the lantern of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, in the presence of the young Leonardo. It has been hypothesized by some art historians that Leonardo collaborated on various sculptures by Verrocchio preserved in Florence.