"The heavens often rain down the richest gifts on human beings, but sometimes they bestow with lavish abundance upon a single individual beauty, grace and ability, so that whatever he does, every action is so devine that he distances all other men, and clearly displays how his greatness is a gift of God and not an acquirement of human art. Men saw this in Leonardo."
Georgio Vasari (1511-1574)
Here's a super short video that shows some of Leonardo's art in relation to the Renaissance!
Leonardo began as an artist in 1469 when he started at the workshop of Verocchio. Verocchio's specialty was perspective and within a short a bit of time Leonardo soon mastered it. He surpassed Verocchio quickly soon became famous for the work. Leonardo often tried to portray faithful renditions of life. He also often painted things realistically since the era before was dominated by highly figurative and religious paintings. The 16th century then followed Leonardo's structure and type of art. Leonardo inspired many artists during the Renaissance. He gave people a new way to view painting that was carried on throughout that century and others to follow. Leonardo went above and beyond any technique that had been used in his time. He used science to improve his work which was not typical for him. He studied nature and anatomy that led to paintings of the human body. Unlike Michelangelo, Leonardo went more into detail. Leonardo thought very highly of being able to paint in perspective but also including nature. He believed that the eye was the perfect instrument for this and an artist was the perfect person to illustrate them.