A Leonardo da Vinci biography allows readers to get to know one of the most forward-thinking minds of all time. Painter, engineer, inventor, architect and astronomer, Leonardo da Vinci created a body of work that is still regarded today as that of a genius.
Born in 1452 on April 15th, Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate son of a notary. At an early age, da Vinci showed great promise as an artist, and his father apprenticed him to a painter, Andrea del Verrocchio, in Florence, when he was 15 years old. When his talent surpassed that of his master, da Vinci was able to set up his own shop in Florence. Many artists of his day spent hours studying anatomy and human and animal physiology, and da Vinci filled notebooks full of detailed sketches throughout his life, reflecting his fascination with living things and how they moved and functioned.
After gaining a reputation as a painter in the Florence area, da Vinci was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, a duke in Milan, Italy. Leonardo worked in Milan for around 17 years. In Milan, some of da Vinci's most famous works were created, such as "The Last Supper, "Virgin of the Rocks" and "Madonna and Child with St. Anne."
When the French overtook the city in 1498, da Vinci spent the next years traveling throughout Italy, in Florence, Rome, Mantua and back to Milan. He received various commissions and interacted with contemporaries such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli. His work from this nomadic period included "The Battle of Anghiari" and various portraits, including "La Gioconda," better known as the Mona Lisa. Throughout his life, da Vinci had also written more than 13,000 pages of notes on various science, engineering and architecture concepts, including schematics for flying machines and submarines.
With Francis I of France as the ruler of Milan in 1515, da Vinci soon created commissioned works for him, and they became close friends. He lived in France for three years, completing paintings and other works for the king. Leonardo da Vinci died at the age of 67 on May 2, 1519, in France at the Clos Luce, a manor house given to him to use by Francis I. His body was buried at the chapel of Saint Hubert.