Triple Shot Friday – Leonardo da Vinci

For Triple Shot Friday – I noticed that da Vinci died on this date, May 2nd, back in 1519, when he was 67.  So my post today has three parts about this genius: 3 of my favorite works, a short video of some da Vinci works, and 3 Quotes.  Also, side note –  taking the weekend off and so I will be back to “me blog” on Monday!  And you can read more about da Vinci the Renaissance Man HERE!

A: MY three favorite Leonardo da Vinci works:

1. Detail of Drapery Study, Leonardo da Vinci -1496.

detail of drapery study da Vinci 1496
Detail of Drapery Study, Leonardo da Vinci -1496. I love this work because cloth can be so beautiful. Also, the lined gold and tan curtains in my dining room bring me a bit of joy – funny how little things can do this – but they added so much to that room! The right drapes can soften sounds – impact temp., add vertical beauty, and just make other things look better. And Leonardo’s “detail of a drapery study” just speaks to me! The sheen, tone, folds, composition, and overall feel is a personal enjoyment.  And that is what art is supposed to do – speak to us!

2. Study for the Head of Leda, Leonardo da Vinci, 1505–07

Study for the head of Leda, Leonardo da Vinci, 1505–07
Study for the Head of Leda, Leonardo da Vinci, 1505–07 I like this one for many reasons – and I call it quiet elegance! The Medusa hair is a bit much, but otherwise that…. 😉

3. Self-Portrait, Leonardo da Vinci -1512.

self-portrait da vinci 1512
Self-Portrait, Leonardo da Vinci -1512. I like this one because Leonardo made it 7 years before he died – and well, this piece captures what I call the “beauty of age.” Our culture is obsessed with youth and many times we overlook the beauty of a seasoned patina! Aging can be cool and we need to celebrate wrinkles more than we do. Lifestyle lifts are cool too, especially for some, but let’s embrace aging a bit more folks.  This portrait whispers of years of reading, hours of thinking, days of drawing, and likely millions of moments of smiling and discussing…..

B: A short Video:

Just for fun, I threw a handful of Leonardo works into a slideshow. By the way, I do it all on my Mac (which used to be cool to say back in the day), but if you are looking for an online option for making videos – check out Animoto. Also, in this collage video I made – I have included Warhol’s take on the Mona Lisa and a few sheets from Tuesday Art lessons. Leonardo’s  Mona Lisa is on the list of 100 paintings that I think all students should study.


C: 3 Leonardo da Vinci QUOTES:

(more quotes HERE).  I added my take with some “bottom line” comments.

1. Leonardo said, “Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

Bottom line: Keep growing and developing.  Find ways to broaden your outlook –not just for art or coming up with novel ideas – for life contentment.  Your outlook changes everything.

Also, all things do overlap and the little things add up – and it helps to “see” that!  Get around people that can offer you needed accountability and get your hands on helpful resources – a better “you” impacts everyone you come into contact with – and your effort will have a positive rippling effect!

2. Leonardo said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”

Bottom line: Work is good for us.

 I believe in the value of work so much that this is the area all of my post graduate work is on!  Work – Beautiful WORK!

Work is the essence of human health!!!!  Whether it be volunteer work, structured job work, domestic work, or temp. work – and whether it be technical, managerial, entrepreneurial, or visionary roles – the INHERENT VALUE OF WORK IS OFTEN MINIMIZED – and overlooked – IN OUR CULTURE.  Someone once said that “work is the natural response to being alive” and I agree!!

If possible, do work that you enjoy for the most part- and make sure you find simple things that refresh you – because as Leonardo noted – “a little relaxation” is essential to keep you fresh for work!


3. Leonardo said, “As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.”

Bottom line: Live your life! Use your days! Make the most of what you have.  Do a few risky things- and other times learn how to be still!  Keep growing and enjoy this very hour!  Sometimes we have to adjust our expectations and adjust ALL of our plans (really) – but it really can  “work together FOR good.”

And this is not to suggest Pollyanna thinking, it is straight up wisdom my friend – making the most of what you have – and BEING determined to “use” and live your life – can change so much for the better – and it will leave you with less (or NO!) regret when you’re older….


Have a nice weekend – be back on Monday!


Update with a few Teaching Tips:

For elementary art lessons, Leonardo is the ideal artist for the following:

First:  Leonardo da Vinci can be a featured artist for teaching a bit of art history.  May teach about the Early Renaissance, Age of Exploration during the 15th century, what the term “Renaissance man” means, realism, horizontal staging, and explore art museums like the MET or Louvre.

Second: Leonardo’s Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda) can be used to teach about under drawings or preliminary sketches. The Mona Lisa can actually be used to cover MANY topics – like sometimes we talk about the fantasy background, the ambiguous smile, portrait art, Warhol’s 30, the history of what has happened to Mona Lisa through the years or the history of the name or how the artist carried it with him and was never quite done. This piece is also great to introduce students to sfumato (derived from Latin word for smoke)  and refers to a smoky effects from transitions between colors – and chiaroscuro (derived from Latin clarus) refers to using light and shadow for dramatic impact. The Mona Lisa is also ideal to use to teach about the golden triangle/rectangle – and while we never got to this, some teachers expound on how the Fibonacci numbers fit into the world of art.

Anyhow, one of my favorite middle school lessons with the Mona Lisa is to talk about preliminary sketches and underdrawings. Leonardo has many detailed sketches to pull from – but recently we have access to infrared findings that found underdrawings beneath the paint in Mona Lisa – and it showed where Leonrado erased certain areas as he sketched it.  That is cool.

Third: Human proportion.  Middle school national standards have art students learn perspective and proportion! Leonardo’a drawings are great for body proportion and ratio!  This is also a time when students connect math to art!  But when it comes to science or math in art, try to be sensitive to some students who mentally cannot grasp certain things yet.  The brain really does take time to develop and there are biological reasons for waiting to teach certain things, like algebra – and so just be sensitive to students who may feel overwhelmed if they do not “get” proportions or ratio!    But students can still get a basic feel for how the size of the human head is in proportion to the entire body, and how long the arms and legs are in proportion to the trunk, etc.  We use pipe cleaners for making little figures and I note that women usually have larger hips while men usually have broader shoulders – most of the time….)

For human proportion, I have used handouts of Vitruvian Man, and on my copies I blurred out certain areas – so  if you use this – be prepared for some silly reactions – but I like to use the VV drawing to expose students to another famous piece.


34 thoughts on “Triple Shot Friday – Leonardo da Vinci

  1. (EN)A personal view of Leonardo and good knowledge of art.I agree with your thoughts.Love your post 🙂
    (IT) Una visione personale di Leonardo e una buona conoscenza dell’arte. Concordo coi tuoi pensieri. Mi piace molto il tuo post 🙂


      1. (EN) Do you mean the last three lines?I didn’t notice it because I’m not used to put labels on myself. Sweet and nice thought…THANKS 🙂 🙂
        (IT) Intendi le ultime tre righe? Non l’ avevo notato perchè non sono abituata a mettere etichette su me stessa. Dolce e bel pensiero…GRAZIE 🙂 🙂


      2. (EN)I must apologize, these days are not the best and my attention is a bit low.
        I hadn’t see the sweet dedication in the video
        I apologize for the inattention.It was a thought so special…I feel really so sorry
        (IT) Devo chiedere scusa, questi giorni non sono dei migliori e la mia attenzione è un po’ bassa.Non avevo visto la dedica nel video.Mi scuso per la disattenzione.Era un pensiero cosí speciale. …Mi sento davvero tanto dispiaciuta


      3. oh do not even mention it – and maybe I should have told ya about it ahead of time – but I thought of you with Leonrado’s vid because I know you like art, you post a lot of videos, and you are Italian…. lol
        have a nice week.


  2. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of Da Vinci, Yvette! Wonderful insights of working and living your life!


    1. Well still learning so much still – the more you learn about so many subjects it seems like more awaits to be discovered and uncovered – ya know? and I hope you have a great weekend Amy. 🙂


    1. Hey Dennis – well first of all – I cannot believe I just found out that you have an art blog. It seems like I have been following your “gotta find a home” blog ( for almost as long as I have been blogging – and to see your art side has been way cool.

      and for me, I do not “love” the Renaissance art and realism is on my “B” list – and well, I feel like I am scratching the surface with much of Leonardo’s work – his drawing, painting, sculpting – and whew – he was scientist, botanist – etc.!! So I feel like I know a god deal about a few of his works – from lessons – then a medium amount about a handful more – and then – well lots to learn.

      And I can see how you soaked so much up!

      have a great weekend and so nice to see your gravatar in the comment section – you’re a good man. 🙂


  3. This is wonderful Y. I love the amazing mind that man had. I have a book called How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb that I need to spend more time with! You’ve inspired me.


    1. thanks so much – 🙂 and it is fun to add personal notes – as opposed to writing that has to be more formal — appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment.


    1. Hi gpcox! well that is the only name I think of when I see your gravatar – and sometimes I think “Mr. History Buff…” but well said, well said! 🙂


      1. Quite the compliments you’ve handed me! I’m blushing – but jeez, I’ll take ’em. ^^’


  4. Your post has given me an insight into the genius of Da Vinci, if only more of our “leaders” could act and think this way what a different world we would live in.


  5. Great post Yvette. I especially loved part 3 and your take on the quotes. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!


    1. thanks for taking the time to comment – and for noting that – because that is one of the things I like about this blog right now – just the touch of personal and informal things I get to share… have a great week Kan!


  6. Love this quote – “Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” This is so basic and so vital, and yet we don’t follow it. I mean we tend to be influenced by others’ views and allow that to cloud the way we look at things – and nothing can be as unique as “our” understanding of things. Thanks for this post, Y!


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