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Friday, November 15, 2019
 
 
Leonardo Da Vinci
 

The illegitimate son of a 25-year-old notary, Ser Piero, and a peasant girl, Caterina, Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, just outside Florence. His father took custody of the little fellow shortly after his birth, while his mother married someone else and moved to a neighboring town. His parents continued having children, although not with each other, and they eventually supplied him with a total of 17 half sisters and brothers.

 
Growing up in his father's Vinci home, Leonardo had access to scholarly texts owned by family and friends. He was also exposed to Vinci's longstanding painting tradition and, when he was about 15, his father apprenticed him to the renowned workshop of Andrea del Verrochio in Florence. Even as an apprentice, Leonardo demonstrated his colossal talent. In search of new challenges and fortunes, Leonardo entered the service of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, in 1482, abandoning his first commission in Florence, "The Adoration of the Magi". He spent 17 years in Milan, leaving only after Duke Ludovico Sforza's fall from power in 1499. From 1485 to 1490, Leonardo produced a series of studies on loads of subjects, including nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture (designing everything from churches to fortresses).

Between 1490 and 1495, he developed his habit of recording his studies in meticulously illustrated notebooks. His work covered four main themes: painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. About 1503, Leonardo reportedly began work on the "Mona Lisa." From 1513 to 1516, he worked in Rome, maintaining a workshop and undertaking a variety of projects for the Pope. Following the death of his patron Giuliano de' Medici in March of 1516, he was offered the title of Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King by Francis I in France. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519 in Cloux, France. Legend has it that King Francis was at his side when he died, cradling Leonardo's head in his arms. (Source: www.mos.org)
 
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