/Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci: Who was the greatest?
michelangelo or leonardo da vinci
Which artist’s works of art strikes your fancy more?
Who is the greatest: Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci?

Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci: Who was the greatest?

Michelangelo and Leonardo are the two greatest minds, even geniuses of the Renaissance. However, which one is more of a genius than the other: Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci? Even though these are both incomparable geniuses, let’s have a look at their similarities and differences and make the decision on your own.

They were the geniuses who hated each other and according to Giorgio Vasari, there was “the greatest hate” between those two supreme Florentine masters. However, the effort to outdo rivals was one of the engines that drove Renaissance art forward.


Michelangelo is an architect, sculpture, and painter. His first works of art were mainly sculptures when he was 16 years old. His fascination with the human body, sculpture, architecture, and his will to try his own ideas made Michelangelo a one of a kind artist. With the knowledge of anatomical structures of human and animals, you can even see the veins and nerves in his sculptures.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born 23 years before Michelangelo was. He is an artist, mathematician, inventor, and writer. His first works of art were paintings and were made at the age of 17. Leonardo excelled in so many things, such as anatomy, zoology, botany, geology, optics, aerodynamics, and many more… Thanks to his passion and desire to know every piece of a human’s body, he dissected human corpses and left us with over 200 pages of drawings of the human’s body.


  • They were both highly skilled in architecture. Leonardo created architectural monuments that surpassed his time period and engineers declined these in 1502. However, in 2001, a bridge was built, based upon Leonardo’s notes. The bridge worked and has a very modern shape.
    Michelangelo invented a new architectural form, giant order –also known as colossal order-, which solved the problem of combining the classical columns with the modern division of storey.
  • What makes these men special is the fact that they both came from poor families, which could only afford them a regular education. Yet these poor men beat the “well-educated” ones.
  • Museums all over the world presents their artwork.
  • Michelangelo and Leonardo both became very famous and wealthy during their lifetime.


  • Michelangelo and Leonardo were too different, both as artists and men. Leonardo was handsome, urbane, eloquent and well dressed. In contrast, Michelangelo was neurotically secretive; he had a badly broken nose and extremely sharp tongue.
  • Michelangelo did more sculptures of artwork. Da Vinci did more paintings and sketches of artwork.
  • Their works of art are mostly portraits or scenes with characters. Even so, they used different styles of painting. Leonardo used a style called chiaroscuro, which is also called 3D painting and a specific technique, “sfumato”, which gives the paintings a shadowy quality. His portraits look vivid and the picture looks different on every side. He used this technique in creating his most famous painting – “Mona Lisa”. Although he primarily considered himself a sculptor, he created some of the greatest fresco paintings. Unlike him, Michelangelo was fond of fresco painting, which means painting on wet plaster.
  • Sexually, younger men attracted both of them. Leonardo seems to have been quite relaxed about this, while Michelangelo has agonized.
  • Artistically, Leonardo was an obsessive observer of the natural world; Michelangelo fiercely concentrated on the representation of the naked male body with the maximum anatomical expressiveness.
  • Da Vinci drew sketches and paintings of science. He did observations and experiments through 13,000 pages of notes and drawings. Drawings like flying machines, war machinery, and the human body.

Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo and Michelangelo left us artworks, some of which were destroyed or lost and other unfinished, but all equally beautiful and ahead of their time. These great men were not just artists, but innovators as well. Even though they disliked each other, they were very much alike. However, they have been praised ever since and their work is still admired.