Many people admire the paintings and sculptures that artists create. Some very beautiful paintings and sculptures were created by two men who lived in the same country at the same time. These men were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. They both lived in Italy around the year 1500.
Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for his painting called the Mona Lisa. This is perhaps the best known painting in the world. The Mona Lisa shows the head and shoulders of a dark haired woman. When people look at this painting, they are often captivated by her smile and by her eyes, which have a look of mystery. Another painting of Leonardo's is called The Last Supper. This painting shows a famous scene from the Christian religion. In this painting, Jesus Christ is seated at the middle of a long table, with his followers the disciples seated around him. Many of the paintings that were created at this time have a religious theme.
Leonardo was not only an artist, he was also interested in engineering. He actually worked for some time as an advisor to a military leader, helping him to develop new machines for use in war. Leonardo also made rough drawings of machines that are similar to those that were invented much later, such as submarines and helicopters. Obviously, Leonardo was an extremely creative man.
Michelangelo was about 23 years younger than Leonardo. In addition to being a painter, Michelangelo was also a sculptor, and many experts consider him the greatest sculptor of all time. One of his most famous sculptures is David, which is a statue of a young man who was a famous figure in the Bible. Another great sculpture of Michelangelo's is called the Pieta. The Pieta shows Mary, mother of Jesus, holding the baby of her son across her lap.
Michelangelo is also famous for painting the ceiling of a church known as the Sistine Chapel. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Julius, asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of this new church. This project required many years of hard work, and the Pope complained that it took too long. However, when the work was finished, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was covered with beautiful paintings of many scenes from the Bible.
Fortunately, many of the works of Leonardo and of Michelangelo can still be seen today in the art galleries of Europe. During the past 500 years, the color of the paintings had faded somewhat, but in recent years, some work has been done to restore the paintings to their original appearance.