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“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Artist, Scientist and Inventor, 1452 - 1519

Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Leonardo's mastery in art, science and engineering have earned him a place among the most prolific geniuses of history. He was one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, a period when the arts and sciences flourished.

At age 17, Leonardo and his father moved to Florence, where he apprenticed to Verrocchio. His brilliance soon eclipsed that of his master. In 1472, Leonardo became a member of the painter's guild of Florence, where he had contact with other great Florentine artists including Michelangelo Buonarroti.

In 1481, Leonardo left Florence for Milan to offer his service to the local Duke. During this period he painted the Virgin of the Rocks and the Last Supper. In 1499, Leonardo left Milan, traveling through Mantua to the court of Isabella d'Este; to Venice, where he consulted on architecture from 1495 to 1499; and in 1502 and 1503 was military engineer for Cesare Borgia. After his service to the Borgias, Leonardo returned to Florence. It was during the period between 1503 and 1506, while working primarily in Florence, that he had his greatest following and painted such classics as the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo left Florence for Milan in 1506, although he returned in 1507-8 to fight for his inheritance from his Uncle. In 1509, he returned to Milan and devoted much of his time to scientific studies, and to engineering projects such as channeling the course of the Adda river. In 1512, Leonardo left Milan again, and from 1513 to 1516 was in Rome under the protection of Giuliano de Medici, the brother of Pope Leo X. Here Leonardo came into contact with Michelangelo, and another young rival, Raphael.

After the death of Giuliano dei Medici, Leonardo accepted an invitation from French friends and moved to the castle of Cloux near Amboise, where he stayed with his faithful pupil Melzi until the end of his life. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519, and was buried in the cloister of San Fiorentino in Amboise.

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Resource Menu
Books About Leonardo

Notebooks Leonardo's Notebooks
by Leonardo da Vinci (Author), H. Anna Suh (Editor)

Culled from more than 7,000 pages of sketches and writings found in rare books, papers, and other resources throughout the world, Leonardo's Notebooks presents, for the first time, an exhaustive collection of the insights and brilliance of Leonardo.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Leonardo's Notebooks

Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Works Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Works
by Augusta Tosone (Editor), Catherine Frost (Translator)

All of Leonardo Da Vinci's work is presented in this compact volume - from his paintings and frescos, to detailed reproductions of his remarkable encrypted notebooks.

Purchase this hardcover edition of Leonardo da Vinci: The Complete Works

Leonardo: The Artist and the Man Leonardo: The Artist and the Man
by Serge Bramly

Bramly's acclaimed biography reveals Leonardo to be as complicated, seductive, and profoundly sympathetic as the figures he painted.

Purchase this paperback edition of Leonardo: The Artist and the Man

DVDs About Leonardo

Da Vinci DVD Da Vinci & Mysteries of the Renaissance

Includes the Golden Globe-winning miniseries, The Life of Da Vinci and the Emmy-winning Renaissance series profiling Michelangelo, Raphael, and others.

Purchase this DVD edition of Da Vinci & Mysteries of the Renaissance

Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By
Produced by The History Channel

The "Code" in the title refers to Da Vinci's implacable work ethic, his insatiable curiosity and the talent and discipline required to keep his busy mind satisfied.

Purchase this DVD edition of The Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By

Leonardo Online Videos

Da Vinci Machines

Da Vinci Decoded

Leonardo's Automovile

Leonardo's Atom Model

The Lost Leonardo
A CBS "60Minutes" Report

Related Websites

Scientist, Inventor, Artist
The Museum of Science, Boston

da Vinci at WebMuseum, Paris

Master Draftsman
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Man and His Machines

da Vinci, The Complete Works

The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo at the Artchive

Leonardo's The Virgin of the Rocks
At the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London

The Restoration of the Last Supper

Google Art Project

Leonardo da Vinci

Other Artists in the Lucidcafé Library

Other Inventors in the Lucidcafé Library

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