Hi, Leonardo da Vinci, Could you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to pursue painting?

I was born in Vinci, Italy, and had the fortune of apprenticing under the renowned artist Verrocchio in Florence. This apprenticeship was pivotal; it not only honed my skills in painting but also exposed me to a range of subjects, from engineering to anatomy. My insatiable curiosity and love for both art and science fueled my pursuit of painting and invention. I believe art is not just a form of expression but also an exploration of the world around us.

How would you describe your approach to art and the development of your style?

My approach to art is deeply intertwined with my scientific inquiries. I meticulously study the world, from the mechanics of the human body to the subtleties of light and shadow in nature. This study is reflected in my art, which is characterized by detailed, realistic portrayals and a deep understanding of perspective and anatomy. I continually experiment with techniques, as seen in my development of sfumato, a way to blend colors and tones subtly.

What inspires you to choose the subjects that you do?

I am inspired by the complexities and beauty of both nature and the human experience. My subjects vary widely, from human portraits to religious scenes, each chosen for its ability to explore deeper truths. For instance, in the Mona Lisa, I sought to capture not just the physical appearance but the essence of a person's soul through her enigmatic expression.

Could you elaborate on how you approach color in your work?

My use of color is often subdued yet deliberate, focusing on creating a harmonious and naturalistic effect. I pay close attention to how light interacts with surfaces and how colors change in different conditions. This careful observation allows me to create a sense of depth and realism in my paintings.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who look up to your work?

To aspiring artists, I say, cultivate your curiosity and never stop learning. Art is not just a skill to be developed but a continuous process of discovery and inquiry. Study nature, explore different disciplines, and let your diverse interests feed into your art. Be patient and meticulous in your work, and above all, never be afraid to pursue your unique vision and ideas.