I used to spend a lot of time in bookstores. I like to touch the books, smell and heft them, browse through the pages. Once I found a large book about Leonardo da Vinci, I could n`t raise it up so easily. It is a half-meter long and the weight is a few kilogramms. Complete set of the Leonardo`s works, including drawings and notebooks. Here I discovered his unbeaten historical record.
Well, the book was nice, the chapters were sorted perfectly, and while looking through the part with oilpaintings, I realised that. Just take a book with complete list of Leonardo`s oilpaintings and you will see it too. Count them. All together, the 500 years of history knows only twenty Leonardo`s oilpaintings. Two of them are unfinished, just in the state of a sketch, as an underpainting.
Twenty oilpaintings. Only that preserved, but probably he did not paint much more. Here I realised it. I am not fond of that kind of conclusions, because to tell that Leonardo is better than Rembrandt is not serious. Actually, you cannot compare the masters on that level. Nevertheless, generally Leonardo is refered to as a greatest painter of the history, not a physician or scientist. We cannot deny the fact that most people consider him the best one. We cannot explain enough, why Mona Lisa is so famous, while there are many great portraits from Titian, Vélazquéz or Ingres, not to mention Picasso.
It is difficult to understand that phenomenon. After 500 years, Leonardo is still No1. Moreover, he made it with twenty oilpaintings. Comparing the number of paintings, Vermeer is close with about 40 ones. No drawings are known, unlike Leonardo. However, his fame cannot be compared. Regarding the fame, Raphael could compete, but the number of his paintings is much larger. Picasso, who in 500 years might be as famous as Leonardo, left several thousends of paintings.
Simply said, nobody can compete with Leonardo the recordman. If you wish to beat him, you have to be equally famous for at least next 500 years with less than twenty paintings. Good luck.