Did Leonardo da Vinci Believe In God?

We do not know much about Leonardo da Vinci’s personal life. He left us thousands of writings but not much about his personal life or beliefs.

Leonardo did not tell us what his belief in God was, but there is evidence that is left that suggests that he held fast to many Christian ideals and beliefs. People such as the artist and author Giorgio Vasari, who knew him and wrote about him, spoke of his character and what a great man he was.

For Leonardo to paint the Last Supper as he did, he would have had to study the Bible and fully understand the Last Supper’s meaning and story. He would have had to learn about the lives and personalities of Christ’s twelve apostles.

Leonardo da Vinci And His Belief In God

Leonardo da Vinci left no writings or evidence about his personal beliefs in God. We have very little personal information about him in his writings.

Most of what we have that is personal is what others have written or observed about him.

But no evidence shows that he did not believe in God; on the contrary, there is much evidence that he did. We can only speculate about this as we have no proof of whether he believed in God, but I think he did.

The Last Supper (1495–1498) By Leonardo da Vinci

First of all, he understood Christ, the apostles, and human character. This is evident in this Last Supper painting and how he showed the personality of each of the apostles.

To be able to paint that painting, he would have had to have studied the writings of the Bible and learned about the lives of the apostles. Because he understood them so well, this painting continues to be a religious masterpiece.

What we do know about him is his character and the kind of man that other person said that he was. From his character and what others saw of him, others considered him to have many “good Christian attributes.”

Leonardo’s Personal Character

Giorgio Vasari Portrait

Many of the early biographers as Giorgio Vasari, who personally knew Leonardo or knew people who knew him, Leonardo da Vinci was described as a kind and generous man. He was well-liked in the community and was considered a great conversationalist with charm and wit.

Vasari said this about Leonardo and how others saw him:

… his magnificent presence brought comfort to the most troubled soul; he was so persuasive that he could bend other people to his will. … He was so generous that he fed all his friends, rich or poor… Through his birth Florence received a very great gift, and through his death it sustained an incalculable loss.

In the normal course of events many men and women are born with various remarkable qualities and talents; but occasionally, in a way that transcends nature, a single person is marvellously endowed by heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind… Everyone acknowledged that this was true of Leonardo da Vinci, an artist of outstanding physical beauty who displayed infinite grace in everything he did and who cultivated his genius so brilliantly that all problems he studied were solved with ease.

Giorgio Vasari – Lives Of The Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects

Leonardo’s peers knew him to be kind, generous, witty, giving, compassionate, and “full of grace.” He was well-liked and highly respected for not just being an artist but also for his character. Leonardo seems to have the Christian virtues of charity or giving to those who have less than he had.

While painting the Last Supper, Leonardo did write about some of his thoughts. Those thoughts can also help to give us some insight also into his character and what was important to him:

“Wine is good, but water is preferable at table. … Small rooms or dwellings set the mind in the right path, large ones cause it to go astray. … If you want money in abundance, you will end by not enjoying it….He who wishes to become rich in a day is hanged in a year.”

Leonardo da Vinci

We learn from this quote that Leonardo believed in many ways in a simple life, which would have also been an attribute of a Christian ideal. He also spoke of the “evil of money,” which has long been a Christian belief.

Leonardo da Vinci, Religion, Humanism And Renassiance Era

In the Renaissance era, the Catholic church was still the driving force for religion, especially Italy. As Leonardo lived in Italy and was Italian, he would have been influenced by the Catholic church.

The city of Rome, the Catholic church, and even the Popes were all affected by the Renaissance era. The Renaissance brought great art patronage, especially from the Catholic church, but it was also an era of change for religion.

There was a movement in the Renaissance era known as Humanism. Humanism was an intellectual movement focused not on religion but on what it was to be human. The origins of Humanism went back to the 14th Century Italy.

Humanists believed in the importance of education in classical literature and the promotion of civic virtue. Humanists believe in their full potential for their good and the good of society.

During the Renaissance, the main Humanism thought included:

  • An interest in studying literature and art, in particular from antiquity as Greek and Rome
  • Use of Latin and a combination of literary studies, history, and linguistics.
  • Believed in education and that education can help society.
  • Believed in both private and civic virtue.
  • Understood non-religious studies were essential and encouraged them.
  • An emphasis on the importance of observation, critical analysis, and creativity.
  • A belief that poets, writers, and artists could help lead people to a better life and understanding.
  • A deep interest in the question of what it means to be human?

When we look at these points, I can see how Leonardo could have been interested in the Humanism movement that started during the Renaissance. After all, he was a forward thinker.

The humanist believed in Christianity and God; it was a movement that led the way for the future Protestant Reformation.

Leonardo da Vinci was Christian, and he believed in God. There is no evidence to show that he did not, and in fact, there is a lot of evidence from those who knew him and his writings that he was religious.

During his lifetime, almost everyone would have at least been or shown to be religious. The Catholic church had a lot of control over individuals during this time. People would have attended church as it was not cultural but also part of the government. Leonardo da Vinci would have been no different.

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By clicking here, you can learn more by reading How Was Leonardo da Vinci Able To Master So Many Different Professions?.

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Leonardo da Vinci was a philosopher; being a philosopher means that you want to seek wisdom. Leonardo was one person who tried to seek knowledge or enlightenment in his life. Leonardo was an active observer and learner of the human body, human behavior, and nature.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Can We Learn From Leonardo Da Vinci?.

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By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Was Leonardo da Vinci A Philosopher?.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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