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20 Famous Paintings and Drawings By Leonardo da Vinci

There are very few people who came and will ever come close to the talent of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519), better known simply as Leonardo da Vinci.

This Italian polymath wasn’t just a painter. he was talented in multiple fields such as invention, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, paleontology, and cartography.

Together with his contemporaries Michelangelo (check his best work here) and Raphael he formed a trio of extremely talented artists who remarkably lived together in the same area and during the same period of history.

Unfortunately, da Vinci didn’t just work very slow, he was also prone to procrastinating and distractions. Therefore, only about 36 paintings have been attributed to him. Some are not universally accepted as well.

Let’s take a look at the legacy of the master Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most talented human beings to have ever walked the earth!

20. The Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of Christ was painted when da Vinci was an apprentice in the studio of painter Andrea del Verrocchio. It depicts the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist as described in the Bible.

This painting was painted by Andrea del Verrocchio, but Leonardo da Vinci had a great contribution to it as well. Historians believe that both the angel to the left of Jesus and the landscape in the background was painted by a young Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci Famous Paintings the baptism of christ

19. Portrait of a Musician

  • Date created: 1485-1490
  • Location: Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy

The Portrait of a Musician is the only male portrait that Leonardo da Vinci ever created, and it’s unknown who the man in the painting really is.

A study has concluded that the man in the portrait is holding a paper with music notes on it, so it’s assumed the man was a musician, hence the name of the painting. It’s one of many of da Vinci’s works that he left unfinished.

Portrait of a musician leonardo da vinci famous paintings

18. Benois Madonna

  • Date created: Started in 1478
  • Location: Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

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The Benois Madonna is also sometimes referred to as “Madonna and Child with Flowers” and is a painting that has one of the most popular compositions of all of da Vinci’s works, hence it was copied multiple times.

There are a few drawings of the painting as well (which can be found in the British Museum in London), and the original was considered to be lost for many centuries. It eventually turned up when a Russian architect named “Leon Benois” sensationally exhibited it in Saint Petersburg in the year 1909.

Benoit Madonna leonardo da vinci famous paintings

17. Madonna of the Yarnwinder

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder shows the Virgin Mary sitting with her child in a landscape and who looks at a yarnwinder used to collect spun yarn.

It has been recorded that Leonardo da Vinci was working on the painting back in 1501, and underdrawings were found with the same changes made to the painting as well. It’s believed, however, that another artist worked on the painting as well.

Madonna of the Yarnwinder leonardo da vinci paintings

16. La belle ferronnière

  • Date created: 1490-1496
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

La belle ferronnière is a portrait of a lady and is also sometimes referred to as the “Portrait of an unknown woman,” even though some believe it’s the portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, il Moro, Duke of Milan, or his wife, Beatrice d’Este.

The official title of the painting, which has been used since the seventeenth century describes the sitter as the wife or daughter of an ironmonger (a ferronnier).

La bell feronnière leonardo da vinci

15. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

  • Date created: 1503
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne is a painting that depicts Saint Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary, and the infant child Jesus Christ.

It’s believed that this painting was commissioned by King Louis XVII for the birth of his daughter Claude in 1499. The painting was, however, never delivered to the commissioner.

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne leonardo da vinci

14. The Virgin of the Rocks

  • Date created: 1483-1486
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

The Virgin of the Rocks is sometimes also referred to as the “Madonna of the Rocks,” and is one of two paintings by da Vinci of the same subject.

The painting depicts the Virgin Mary, the baby Jesus, the archangel Uriel, and John the Baptists, in a rocky setting, which is the reason the painting is named the way it is.

virgin of the rocks leonard da vinci

13. Lady with an Ermine

  • Date created: 1489-1490
  • Location: National Museum, Krakow, Poland

Leonardo da Vinci painted Lady with an Ermine when he was working for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. It depicts his mistress by the name of Cecilia Gallerani.

The painting was part of the sale of the Princes Czartoryski Collection which was bought by the Polish government for €100 million on 29 December 2016.

lady with an ermine

12. Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk

  • Date created: 1512
  • Location: Biblioteca Reale, Turin, Italy

The Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk is believed to be a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci when he was already at the age of 60.

The portrait is drawn using red chalk on paper and was drawn with the left hand. It has become the ultimate representation of the “Renaissance Man” and has been reproduced countless times.

portrait of a man in red leonardo da vinci

11. Saint John the Baptist

  • Date created: 1513-1516
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

Saint John the Baptist is believed to be the last painting that Leonardo da Vinci ever created. It depicts Saint John the Baptists in complete isolation.

The smile of the man depicted reminds us of the Mona Lisa painting, which is equally enigmatic, as he points towards the sky.

Saint john the baptist leonardo da vinci

10. La Scapigliata

La Scapigliata translates to English as “The Lady with Dishevelled Hair” and is believed to have been painted by da Vinci, even though this is not universally accepted.

The painting depicts an unknown woman gazing toward the ground. Nothing is known about her identity, and the date it was created as well as its history is still up for debate.

La scapigliata

9. Adoration of the Magi

  • Date created: 1481
  • Location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The Adoration of the Magi is an unfinished painting by Leonardo da Vinci which was commissioned by the Augustinian monks of San Donato in Scopeto in Florence in the year 1481.

He didn’t complete the painting because he left for Milan just a year after he started. It depicts the Virgin Mary with Child as the Magi are kneeling in adoration.

Adoration of the magi ufizi

8. The Annunciation

  • Date created: 1472-1475
  • Location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The Annunciation is one of the earliest works of Leonardo da Vinci, painted when he was still in his early twenties.

It depicts the Angel Gabriel who was sent by God to tell the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God who was to be named Jesus.

The Annunciation da vinci

7. Madonna of the Carnation

Madonna of the Carnation is also sometimes referred to as “Madonna with Child” or “Madonna with Vase.”

The painting depicts the Virgin Mary with her baby Jesus as she is wearing precious clothes and jewelry. In her left hand, she is holding a carnation flower.

Madonna of the carnation

6. Portrait of Isabella d’Este

  • Date created: 1499-1500
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

The Portrait of Isabella d’Este was commissioned by Isabella d’Esta in 1499 as Milan was being invaded and da Vinci was fleeing to Venice.

This drawing is the sketch that Leonardo da Vinci made as the actual painting was never painted. It’s considered to be one of the best portraits he ever created.

Portrait of Isabella d'Este da vinci

5. Ginevra de’ Benci

Ginevra de Benci is a portrait of the Florentine aristocrat of the prominent Benci family. She was born in the year 1458 which means she was just 16 years old when da Vinci started the painting.

The painting was sold to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1967 for a record sum of $5 million. It remains the only da Vinci painting on public display in the Americas up until today.

Ginevra de’ Benci leonardo da vinci most famous paintings

4. Salvator Mundi

  • Date created: 1490-1500
  • Location: Acquired Privately

Salvator Mundi was long thought to be a copy of the lost original until it was confirmed that it was the original. It depicts Jesus in a Renaissance dress as he makes a peace sign with his right hand.

It was sold on November 15, 2017, by New York’s Christie’s auction house for a stunning $450.3 million. It was bought by Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and its future location is still to be determined.

salvator mundi leonardo da vinci most famous paintings

3. Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by da Vinci and was originally known as “Le Proporzioni del Corpo Humano Secondo Vitruvio” which translates to “The proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius.”

The drawing represents the ideal human body proportions according to a description by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. The drawing has become one of the most famous cultural symbols in history.

Vitruvian man leonardo da vinci paintings

2. The Last Supper

  • Date created: 1495-1498
  • Location: Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan, Italy

The Last Supper painting is a fresco created on a wall of a convent in the Italian city of Milan. It was commissioned by da Vinci’s patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. as part of the renovation of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

The painting depicts a scene from the last supper, more specifically the moment that Jesus mentioned to his apostles that one of them will betray him.

Da Vinci used an experimental substance to create the painting, and this didn’t work out too well. Hardly anything remains of the original painting, and it has been restored multiple times by various artists.

It’s one of the most recognizable paintings in all of history and is the most replicated religious painting in the world.

the last supper leonardo da vinci famous paintings

1. Mona Lisa

  • Date created: 1503-1506
  • Location: Louvre, Paris, France

The Mona Lisa is one of the most mesmerizing paintings ever created. It’s also referred to as “La Gioconda,” a reference to the woman it depicts, the wife of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa Gherardini.

It’s without a doubt the most famous painting in the collection of Leonardo da Vinci, and one of the most remarkable facts is that it actually remains an unfinished work, even though it’s considered to be the ultimate masterpiece of the Renaissance.

Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular attractions at the Louvre Museum in Paris as well!

mona lisa famous paintings leonardo da vinci