Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (Vinci,
April 15, 1452 - Amboise, May 2, 1519)
It 'was a painter, engineer and Italian scientist.
Man of genius and talent of the Renaissance universal, fully incarnated the
spirit of his time,
bringing it to the main forms of expression in the various fields of art and
He was involved in architecture and sculpture, was designer, essayist, stage
designer, anatomist, musician, and
in general, designer and inventor.
It is considered one of the greatest geniuses of mankind.
Youth (1452-1481) The origins and family
The arrival in Florence
In the workshop of Verrocchio
First independent works
Four years of silence
The return to painting
The approach to the Medici
The Adoration of the Magi
In Milan (1482-1500) The departure
The Virgin of the Rocks
In the circle of the (Ludovico Maria Aforza)
La Dama con L'ermellino
The marriage of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella of Aragon
The equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza
The merger of the Colossus
The Last Supper
La Madonna dei Fusi
The Danae and the work at the Castello Sforzesco
The wandering period (1499-1508)
The great Nibbio
The return to Firenze
La Madonna del Garofano
The service of Cesare Borgia
Study of the Battle of Anghiari
The death of his father and the Treaty models birds
Leonardo and Michelangelo
First stay in Milano
The second stay in Milano
In France, in the service of Francis I
The inventor of the flying machine project
Civil engineering and architecture of Leonardo
The personality of Leonardo
The library of Leonardo
The features of Leonardo
The critical success of the painter
List of works
Leda e il Cigno
Studies in Anatomy
Lost original by Leonardo
Leonardo and the Shroud of Turin
"It was so rare and universal,
which by nature to be his miracle manu say is power:
which not only the beauty of the body, which granted him very well, he
turned endow him,
but many rare virtues anchora it turned teacher.
Much earned in mathematics et perspective at least, et worked in sculpture,
design et passed in by far all the others.
Hebbe inventioni beautiful, but he painted many things, because it is said
never to have himself satisfatto, et though many are rare in his works.
He was eloquent in speaking et musician of rare lira was valiant in tirari
et et in buildings of water,
, and other quirks, and never co quieted his mind, but always with the
talent fabricava new things. '
(Anonymous Gaddiano, 1542)
(1452-1481) The origins and family
The birthplace of Leonardo Anchiano (village
Leonardo was the eldest son of twenty-five notary Ser Piero da Vinci,
of wealthy family,
had a relationship with a certain Caterina illegal extraction below.
The news of the birth of their first grandchild was noted by his
grandfather Antonio, father of Piero himself notary,
of an ancient book notary fourteenth century, used now as a
collection of "recollections" of the family, stating:
"He was born a grandson, son of Ser Piero my son to
day 15 April to Saturday at 3 o'clock at night (actual 22.30).
He was named Leonardo.
Battizzollo priest Piero di Bartolomeo da Vinci, in the presence of:
"Daddy Nanni, Tonino Meo, Pier Malvolto, Nanni di Venzo, Arigo John German,
Mona Lisa by Dominic Breton, Monna Antonia Giuliano, Monna Niccolosa of
Barna, Monna Maria,
daughter of Nanni di Venzo, Monna Previcone of Pippa. "
The register does not specify the birthplace of Leonardo, who are widely
believed to be the home
that the family of Ser Piero had, along with a farm in Anchiano,
where Leonardo's mother will live.
The baptism took place in the nearby parish church of Santa Croce,
but both the father and the
mother were absent,
not as inconveniently married.
Piero had been preparing well for other wedding, while Catherine was tried,
a husband who accept willingly compromised his situation, finding a farmer's
near Vinci, that of Piero da
Vinci Vaccha, said Attaccabriga, maybe even hired as
his brother Andrew.
Meanwhile, back in 1452, his father Piero had married John Albiera Amadori,
from which they will have children.
The joyful reception of the child, despite its illegal status, is
as well as from the record of his grandfather, but his presence in the
family home of Vinci.
This is stated in the declaration for the land of Vinci year 1457, prepared
always by his grandfather Antonio, where it is stated that the said Antonio
was 85 years old and lived in the parish
of Santa Croce, husband of Lucy, aged
64, and had for his sons Francesco and Piero, aged 30, married to Albiera,
twenty-one, and their partner was "Leonardo son of Ser Piero said
born of him and Chaterina that
this is the woman Achattabriga Piero da Vinci Vacca, aged 56. '
The stepmother Albiera died at twenty-eight in 1464, when the family lived
already in Florence,
being buried in San Biagio. Ser Piero married three times:
a second (1464) with fifteen Francesca di Ser Giuliano Manfredini, who also
died without offspring,
a third with Margherita di Francesco di Jacopo di Guglielmo (1475),
who finally gave him six children;
another six was the fourth and last marriage.
Leonardo had so twelve of half brothers and sisters, all much younger than
(The last was born when Leonardo was forty years old), with whom he had a
but that gave him a lot of problems after the death of his father in the
struggle of inheritance.
Ser Piero had already worked in Florence and in 1462, as a matter of Vasari,
he returned with his family, including the little Leonardo.
The father would show his friend Piero Andrea del Verrocchio some drawings
of this bill
would convince the teacher to take Leonardo in his workshop;
in reality it is unlikely that an apprenticeship started just ten years,
that the entry of Leonardo in Verrocchio's workshop is now considered back.
It is thought that Leonardo remained in the country in the grandparents'
where he took his education, rather messy and uneven, with no programming
by the grandfather Antonio, Uncle Piero Francesco and the priest who had
In fact, the child learned to write with his left and down, in a very mirror
image of normal writing.
Vasari remembered as the guy in the studio began "many things and then
and now unable to start the legal career, his father decided to introduce it
to the knowledge
of the abacus, although "moving constantly doubts and difficulties to the
master who taught him,
right [that] often confused him."
arrival in Florence
The grandfather died ninety-six in 1468, citing the inheritance "Leonardo",
together with the grandmother Lucia, his father Piero, the new stepmother
and uncles Francesco and Alessandra.
The following year the family of his father, became notary of the Signoria
along with his uncle Francis, who was enrolled in the Silk Road, was
domiciled in a
Florentine home, which was demolished as early as
the sixteenth century, in via dei Gondi, next to Piazza della Signoria.
the workshop of Verrocchio
Landscape with River (1473) now becoming
more and more evident the interest of the young Leonardo in "draw et the
doing of relief, as things that gl'andavano to fantasy more than anything
Ser Piero finally sent his son, in 1469 or 1470, in the workshop of Andrea
which in those years was one of the most important monuments of Florence,
as well as a real breeding ground for new talent.
Among the students included names that would become the great teachers of
the next generation,
such as Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and
Lorenzo di Credi,
and shop espletava multifaceted activity, from painting to sculpture
(Stone, lost wax casting and wood carving), to the "minor" arts.
Above all, it stimulated the practice of drawing, bringing all employees in
a language almost
common and even today can be very
difficult to attribute the works outputs from the workshop
the hand of the master or to a specific student.
We know many examples of drawings of drapery out of his shop, which come
that the teacher did do so by copying the
folds of tissue placed on models of the earth.
In addition, the students learned the concepts of carpentry, mechanics,
engineering and architecture.
Leonardo is mentioned in the Compagnia di San Luca, of Florentine painters,
"Lyonardo di ser Piero da Vinci painter de 'give all june 1472 only. six for
the grace made
each had its debt coll'Arte to say even until July 1, 1472 and de 'give all
November 1472 only. 5
for his mail made day 18 octobre 1472. "
This means that at that time was recognized as independent painter,
whose formative experience could be closed, although his collaboration with
protracted for several years.
On August 5, 1473 Leonardo dated the first certain work, Landscape with
river, a design
with a view bird's eye view of the
Arno valley, now in the Cabinet of Drawings and
Prints of the Uffizi.
The focus on a true description of the natural world was a constant feature
especially evident in the juvenile stage.
This earned him the award of certain works contributions to outputs from the
Verrocchio, as Archangel Raphael and
Tobias (London, National Gallery),
in which the realistic fish or
scaliness the energy snappy of the dog have been proposed
as details leonardeschi, even if it is
attributions not universally shared.
The same applies to the landscape of the Madonna and Child with Angels (also
with a rocky just remind the
Landscape with river.
Bears witness to the confrontation with the master of the Baptism of Christ
Uffizi, painted with
According to the indication of Vasari, later confirmed also by modern
critics, is to be assigned to Leonardo The angel in the left foreground and
the soft landscape background, as well as
the general organization of the
style to mix at least three coats of different personalities
(Verrocchio, a very gifted student
and Leonardo himself).
In this work are already evident a few reasons the style of Leonardo, which
exceed the limits of the teachings workshop: the decoration based on flowing
reasons, attention to the elements plants or expressiveness of the faces,
often portrayed with an ambiguous smile;
New is also the spatial rendering and Atmospheric unified, and the first
hints of a style faded.
Also according to Vasari, Leonardo's skill in the proof of Baptism would
reluctant to make a direct comparison was starting to see him losing to
himself exclusively to sculpture.
In fact, the story is rejected by modern critics, inclined to think it an
the literary theme of '"student becomes the master" brought about by the
Vasari also remembered how
Leonardo worked "in sculpture, doing, in his youth,
ground some heads of females laughing, going, formed by the art of chalk,
and likewise the
heads of cherubs, that seemed to
come out of the hand of a master. "
You do not know, however, no safe sculptural work of Leonardo, despite
various proposals attributive
advanced in the past.
Recently Parronchi Alessandro gave him a bust of cupid, in a private
collection in Florence.
There are many coincidences, however, also very strict, including some
drawings or sketches
Leonardo and Verrocchio's sculptures, such as profile former captain (1475,
London, British Museum), similar to the carved reliefs of ancient Captains
for Matthias Corvinus,
or the Study of hands (1475, Windsor, Royal Library), considered a study for
the portrait of
Ginevra de 'Benci and very similar to the
position of the hands of the bust of Lady with a bouquet.
In the end the only experiment safely with the sculpture of Leonardo was the
monument to Francesco Sforza.
Dreyfus Madonna (1469 approx)
The first independent works of Leonardo are now dated between 1469 and the
even before Baptism.
In these works, of which the critical debate was very heated, the artist
adhesion to the language common
students of Verrocchio, complicating studies of attribution.
The full authenticity of the little Madonna Dreyfus
(1469 or so, the National Gallery of
is a finding of recent criticism, which in the past had swung even the names
Verrocchio and Lorenzo di Credi:
is in fact close proximity with the subsequent stylistic
del Garofano (1473) circa, Alte Pinakothek, Monaco)
with delicate and almost transparent
skin tones, gestures family between
mother and child, the setting on a
dark background in which there are
"Flemish" two windows on a bright
It comes from the workshop of Verrocchio contemporary
Annunciation in the Uffizi, but his
even if it can be
of only hand, has long been
disputed by critics, to finally settle on the
name of Leonardo.
The fact Announcing Angel appears next to the invoice of the angel of
and there are two designs some of Leonardo:
one study arm at Christ Church, Oxford, and a Study of drapery with the legs
Madonna in the Louvre, that make
specific reference, respectively, to the
Archangel and Our Lady.
Although it is forming a personal style, appear still reasons Verrocchio,
lectern-like altar with lion's paws, which are reminiscent of the Tomb of
and Piero de 'Medici.
The painting contains a "mistake" in perspective, in the right arm of the
Virgin too long,
defect that is attenuated by assuming a point of view slightly to the right
of the work.
La Madonna del Garofano (1475-1480)
already clearly shows a rapid maturation of the style of the artist,
directed to a greater fusion between the various elements of the image, with
transitions bright and dark and light areas most sensitive and fluids;
the Virgin fact emerges from a dark room contrast with the distant and
fantastic landscape that appears two-light windows in the background.
In 1474 to 1478 was the portrait of a woman in Washington, identified with
Ginevra de 'Benci
This explains the juniper painting behind him.
This is the daughter of a prominent Florentine merchant, which demonstrates
Leonardo had access to commissions
from the rich Florentine bourgeoisie.
The work shows more clearly the influence of Flemish art, in the
luminescence of the hair,
in attention to the light output by the color.
There is, however, also the characteristic rendering of atmospheric
character in the
foreground and the landscape, in
addition to the technique of blurring with the fingertips colors, especially
in the realistic skin.
years of silence
From January 1474 to autumn 1478 you
do not know the works of Leonardo.
This silence is particularly odd when you consider how in the years
Leonardo's career finally taking off them, backed by a wealthy and
who kept it until at least 1480 and that could certainly help in obtaining
It is assumed, therefore, that in his early twenties Leonardo was still
uncertain about their future,
closer to the world of science with the attendance of the elderly geographer
Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli.
Probably had the opportunity to investigate the anatomy witnessing the
dissection of corpses
morgues in hospitals, but also had to study the physics and mechanics
through direct experiments.
The April 8, 1476 was filed an anonymous complaint to the officers at night
and de 'monasteries against several people, including Leonardo, sodomy
consumed to the seventeen year old Jacopo Saltarelli, a resident in via
(Next to Piazza della Signoria).
Although there was in Florence at a certain tolerance toward homosexuality,
the penalty in these cases was very strict:
castration for sodomites adults and mutilation of a foot or hand for young
In addition to Leonardo, among others investigated were the goldsmith
Bartolomeo di Pasquino,
the tailor, (tailor) Baccino, residing at Via de 'Cimatori at Orsanmichele,
and especially Leonardo Tornabuoni which is noted as dressed in "black"
(The fabric more expensive, the prerogative of high society):
for he was a young scion of the powerful family related to the Medici.
A similar complaint was also filed in June of the same year.
It was the involvement of the Tornabuoni that would play in favor of the
In fact, the accusation was filed and the defendants were all "absoluti cum
conditione retumburentur ut", "forgiven (Or released) unless there is no
other complaints about it. "
The report shows how Leonardo, however, at that time was still apprenticed
return to painting
On 10 January 1478 he received the
first public office, an altarpiece for the chapel of
St Bernard in the Palazzo della Signoria;
grossed by the Priors 25 florins but perhaps not even started the job, then
given in 1483 by
Domenico Ghirlandaio and then to
Filippino Lippi, who completed it in 1485 (the Altar of Eight,
now in the Uffizi).
In this shovel the expression "Leonardo", that is ambiguously smiling
Madonna had in the past confused some critics who had attributed to
Meanwhile, the desire to devote himself to painting had to return to bite,
as evidenced by a note, partially incomplete, in which the artist recalls
how at the end of 1478
began two Madonnas.
One of these is recognized in
Today the Hermitage in St. Petersburg,
that Bocchi in 1591 mentioned in the Florentine house of Matthew and John
"Tablet colored in oil by Leonardo da Vinci, excessive beauty,
where he painted a Madonna with the greatest artifice et with due diligence,
the figure of Christ, that child is
beautiful to a marvel:
seen a raise in the face of unusual et admirable work difficulty in attitude
happy ease ";
But that description may
refer also to the Madonna of Carnation.
Yet to be dated around 1475-1478 the small Annunciation in the Louvre,
probably part of the predella of the Madonna and Child with Saints by
Lorenzo di Credi of the Cathedral of
Pistoia, that would include also the Birth of the Child by Perugino, hours
at the Art Gallery in Liverpool and San Donato
and the tax collector of the same
Lorenzo, hours at the Art Museum in Worcester.
The unit of composition,
consistency and individuality of the small table, but back away from the
Annunciation in Florence, confirm the attribution to
Meanwhile, at least since 1479 was no longer living in the household of his
as evidenced by a document of Florentine land register.
approach to the Medici
Design of the body of Bernardo
In these years was probably also the approach to Lorenzo the Magnificent and
which was part of his master Verrocchio.
Some studies show Da Vinci code sheets for military advice and engineering
probably required by Lorenzo. The December 29, 1479
Leonardo drew the corpse hanging from one of the leaders of the conspiracy
of the Pazzi,
Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli (the murderess of Giuliano de 'Medici),
confirming a link with
the Medici family.
This is a drawing of hanged, with annotations, conserved at the Musée Bonnat
The Anonymous Gaddiano also recalls his attendance, around 1480,
the Garden of San Marco, a sort of
open-air museum where it was exposed to the collection
of ancient statues of Physicians and the
elderly sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni
held an art school which also
participated, almost ten years later,
the young Michelangelo Buonarroti. The note reads:
"Stood [... Leonardo] with the Magnificent Lorenzo et, giving them salary
did the work in the garden on the square of San Marco in Florence »:
the purchase of land by Lorenzo was that year and therefore had to Leonardo
eseguirvi works of sculpture and restoration.
Adoration of the Magi
If the unfinished Saint Jerome of
the Vatican Pinacoteca do not have any documentary evidence, Adoration of
the Magi, now in the Uffizi, you know that he
was commissioned in March 1481
by the monks of San Donato a Scopeto
as an altar piece, to be made within thirty months;
committee, the most important received from Leonardo until then,
was probably facilitated by the father Ser Piero, who was a notary for monks.
Leonardo, however, did not hand never work and only fifteen years after it
a painting of the same subject,
by Filippino Lippi.
The work, which remained a sketch in brown heightened with white lead, was
leaving for Milan, his friend Amerigo Benci, the father of Geneva, in 1482.
In it, Leonardo began to reflect more deeply on the subject, so frequent in
art of the fifteenth century,
emphasizing the time of '"Epiphany" in the original greek meaning of "event".
Baby Jesus reveals his divine nature in fact surprising the audience.
"Nothing remains traditional Epiphany, and the shepherds and kings have
replaced the broader multitude of hands, faces intensely characterized,
darting from one side of the clothes out of the shadows of the hedge human
sucked the other suspended by a luminous dust.
Are not magicians, they are guardians of herds:
are living creatures, all creatures with faith and with doubt,
with the passions and the renunciation of life, haloed by the light-creating
in which the color would not take place "(Angela Ottino).
Milano (1482-1500) The departure
Between the spring and summer of
1482, Leonardo was already in Milan, one of the few cities in Europe to
exceed one hundred thousand inhabitants, in the center of a region populated
The reasons for his departure from Florence are varied.
Surely, as evidenced by the Anonymous Gaddiano and Vasari, sending the
artist was caused by Lorenzo il Magnifico
as part of its diplomatic policies with the Italian dominions, where the
Florentine masters were sent
as "ambassadors" of the artistic and cultural dominance of Florence.
Our brothers and Antonio da Majano
had left for Naples and a group of painters had started to decorate the new
of Sixtus IV.
Leonardo had a mission to bring the Duke Ludovico il Moro homage. The
"Leonardo was thirty years that the said Lorenzo the Magnificent was sent to
the Duke of Milan to present Improved
Atalante along with a penny, that one was playing this instrument. "
Vasari tells that he was a great musician and had built this silver lyre,
partly in the shape of a horse's head, "what strange and new, to the end
because the harmony was more tuba and more resonant voice. "
Arrived, Leonardo took part in a musical contest with that instrument called
the Sforza court,
"Wherefore surpassed all the musicians who were there to sound contests."
At that time Leonardo wrote a famous "point of use" of nine paragraphs,
in which he described his first projects of engineering, military equipment,
of hydraulic engineering, architecture, and only at the end of painting and
to be covered in time of peace, including the design of a bronze horse for a
It is clear that Leonardo was determined to stay in Milan
city that was to fascinate him for his openness to new scientific and
caused by the continuing military campaigns.
The Florentine ambience in fact had to get him some discomfort now:
on the one hand it should not be recognized in the culture of the
Neoplatonic Medici circle,
so imbued with philosophical and literary influences, he described himself
as "man without letters";
the other, his art was diverging more and more from linearity and the search
for a rarefied beauty
and idealized dominant artists on the scene, already his companions in the
workshop of Verrocchio,
such as Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli.
After his exclusion from the fresco of the Sistine Chapel remarked that it
was not in that group.
Virgin of the Rocks
Virgin of the Rocks (first version,
1486), detail, Paris, LouvreI documents
seem to indicate that the reception of Leonardo in the Milan was rather
not getting initially the desired results
in his famous letter to the Duke.
The artist also had a number of difficulties with the language spoken by the
(At the time the Italian language as a "Tuscan medium" did not exist,
everyone spoke only their own
although experts find themselves later in his writings the following years
To initially commissioned the artist had in fact wait for April 25, 1483,
when Bartholomew Scorione, prior of
the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, entered into a
contract for a shovel to be placed on the altar of the
chapel of the Confraternity of the church
of San Francesco Grande (now destroyed).
The contract also attended the Evangelist and John the painter brothers
Ambrogio De Predis, that housed Leonard in their home near Porta Ticinese.
This is the altarpiece of the Virgin of the Rocks, which, according to the
very detailed contract, was to be the central compartment of a triptych.
The central panel was supposed to be a Madonna and Child with two angels and
the other two, four angels, singers and musicians, then painted by De Predis;
the decoration was to be rich, with abundant gilding and the work was to be
by 8 December for a total fee of
800 pounds to be paid in installments until February 1485.
Leonardo, despite the narrowness of the terms of the contract, interpreted
program in an original, depicting
the scene of the legendary meeting between
St. John and the baby Jesus in the desert,
and concealing references to the
Immaculate Conception in the arid rocky
background and the way in which
Madonna will blend through a ravine that seems to evoke the mystery
maternity. In a petition to
Ludovico il Moro, dating from 1493, which shows that the work
had been carried out at least by 1490 -
but the critics still consider it finished by 1486 -
Leonardo and Ambrogio De Predis
(Evangelista died at the end of 1490 or early 1491)
demanded a compensation of 1,200 pounds,
rejected by his brothers.
The litigation dragged on until April 27, 1506, when the experts stated that
was incomplete and, established two
years to finish the job, granted a compensation
of 200 pounds; October 23, 1508 Ambrose
cashed the last installment and Leonardo ratified the payment.
Leonardo appears, given the non-payment of 1,200 lire to the Brotherhood,
had sold for 400 pounds the table, now in the Louvre, to the king of France,
providing, during litigation, a second
version of the Virgin of the Rocks,
which remained in San Francesco Grande until the dissolution of the
Brotherhood in 1781
and is now preserved the National Gallery
in London, along with the two tablets of the De Predis.
It must be said that not all the copy of London's Leonardo:
for some, such as Carlo Pedretti, although drafted by the teacher, was
conducted with the help
that can be addressed Ambrogio de 'Predis to complete the work is plausible.
Giulio Carlo Argan shows that for all Leonardo is "immanence."
He looks at the reality and nature through the eyes of a scientist.
The landscape of this "is not a landscape seen nor a fantastic landscape:
is the image of nature naturans of themselves and get rid of cyclic transfer
from the solid state, to the liquid,
the figure is no longer the opposite of nature, but the deadline of its
continuous evolution. "
circle of the
(Ludovico Maria Sforza)
Ferronnière (1490–1495), Parigi, Louvre
In the early years in Milan Leonardo
continued with his studies in mechanical engineering, inventions of military
machines, the development of various technologies. In 1485 must have been
entered in the
circle of Ludovico il Moro, for whom he designed with versatility irrigation
he painted portraits, approntò designs
for court festivities, etc..
A letter to remember those years, however, as the artist was dissatisfied
fees received, and tells his family was at the time.
He wrote Leonardo to the Duke in three years had received
only fifty ducats, too few to feed
it was her, than those of the three students Marco d'Oggiono,
John Boltraffio and Gian Giacomo Caprotti said Salai, a laborer and, since
a maid named Catherine, perhaps the mother of Leonardo in the wake of his
be widowed. Salai, by Oren, at the service of Leonardo in 1490, when he was
he had his nickname by one heck of
Morgante of Pulci:
Leonardo's assistant then called "thief, liar, stubborn, greedy," but always
On completion of the Virgin of the Rocks Leonardo must engage in some
One was probably the d '"optimo painter" to be sent as a gift to King
Corvinus of Hungary in 1485
(Described as a "figure of Our Lady, how beautiful excelente et devotional
Sapia more to do,
sparagno without spending any "in a letter dated April 13, 1485 Duke).
Another was probably the Madonna Litta, performed mostly by assistants,
especially Boltraffio and Marco d'Oggiono.
Another recurring theme is the portrait of the Milanese period, in which the
artist was able to
capitalize on the anatomical studies
started in Florence, dealing especially the links between the faces and the
"movements of the soul"
that is, the psychological and moral qualities that transpired on time by
One of the first tests of this theme that has survived is the Portrait of a
perhaps the master of the Chapel of the Milan Cathedral Franchino Gaffurio.
Noteworthy are in this analytic attention and the psychological aspect in
the eyes elusive
Another famous portrait of this period is the so-called Belle Ferronnière, a
perhaps related to the Sforza court, with an intense look that
aristocratically avoid the
gaze of the viewer.
Certainly related to the ducal patronage is the Portrait of Cecilia
la Dama con l'ermellino.
La presenza dell'animale, oltre a richiamare il cognome della donna
alludeva anche all'onorificenza dell'Ordine dell'Ermellino,
ricevuta proprio nel 1488 dal Moro da parte di Ferrante d'Aragona.
marriage of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella of Aragon
For two years after the ducal
commissions became more and more frequent.
Received such payments for the project of the lantern of Milan Cathedral.
In early 1489 took care of the decorations, the Castello Sforzesco,
for the marriage of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella of Aragon, quickly
death of the mother of the bride, Ippolita d'Aragona, and sent back the
as Leonardo wrote the book titled of the human figure.
The festivities resumed only January 13, 1490, for they, like the poet
Bernardo Bellincioni in 1493,
"There was building, with great ingenuity and art to master Leonardo da
Vinci in Florence,
heaven with all the seven planets (seven, because the moon was considered a
going around and the planets were represented by homini. "
Another document, written shortly after the celebration and preserved in the
in Modena, recalls the thrill of staging,
the audience, the actors and the splendor of the dresses
"El Paradiso was de facto similarity half an egg, and which side was in
tottu made horo,
with the greatest number of lights ricontro the stars, with some fools where
he was the
seven planets, segondo and their
degree highs and lows. A back of the rim above the finger mezo round was
there significant XII, with certain lights inside the'll see that they made
a gallant et pretty sight:
in which Heaven had many songs soni et et suavi very sweet. "Heaven"
invented by Leonardo,
taking advantage of the long tradition of sacred representations Florentine
had to be full of
special effects, light effects and
sounds, which remained for a long live in the memory of his contemporaries.
equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza
In those years, Leonardo began the grand plan for an equestrian monument to
as evidenced by a payment by way of advance on costs for a model,
paid on behalf of the Duke by the Superintendent of the Treasury of the
court, Marquis Stanga.
On 22 July 1489, also Pietro Alamanni communicated to Lorenzo the
request to obtain the co-founders of Florentine bronze:
"A master or two APTI to this work et although the Have made this thing in
Leonardo da Vinci,
I do not think much know the lead. "
The company was huge, not only for the size of the statue, which was to be
cast in bronze,
but also for the purpose of sculpting a horse in the act of rearing up and
fall on the enemy.
The artist spending months on the study of horses, attending the ducal
to look closely at the anatomy of these animals, especially with respect to
and the tension of the muscles during the action.
The company was suspended to resume the celebrations marriage-Sforza
On 21 June 1490 he went to Italy, at the request of the Cathedral
fabbricieri for advice.
He went there with Francesco di Giorgio Martini, an architect and author of
the Treatise on Architecture, incorporating the De Architectura of Vitruvius.
Leonardo had to find particularly challenging in the reworking of the vulgar
depth study of architecture:
of those years is in fact the so-called Manuscript B (Paris, Institut de
dedicated to planning, religious and
Date from the same period in the studies on the human body and its perfect
which culminated in the execution of the famous drawing of the Vitruvian
The merger of the colossus
Back in Milan is dedicated to various activities, including celebrations for
the wedding of
Anna Maria Sforza and Alfonso I d'Este (1491) and those of Ludovico il Moro
Beatrice d'Este (1494).
Slowly brought forward the project of an equestrian monument to Francesco
Ludovico il Moro wanted to dedicate to
the memory of his father.
The project went through several versions was of colossal dimensions,
coming, in 1491, the final phase of implementation of the final model
(in wax and then clay) and waited for the next lost wax casting of bronze.
The company had extremely difficult, to the great need of molten bronze to
for this, he dedicated himself to meticulous calculations at the design
Meanwhile, in 1493, was for a while in the wake of the procession that
Germany Bianca Maria Sforza, wife of
Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg;
he went to Lake Como
(where he studied the famous intermittent
source at the villa Pliniana Torno)
visited the Valsassina, Valtellina and Chiavenna.
Back in Milan on July 13 of that year he received perhaps the visit from her
At the end of 1493, everything was ready for the fusion of the "Colossus".
In the Old Court,
home for years workshop of Leonardo (on the site of the Royal Palace)
the clay model was ready and visible, but a sudden news stopped the
availability of the metal:
the imminent invasion of Charles VIII of France, in Italy, for the war
Aragonese Kingdom of Naples
made it urgent demand for bronze for the manufacture of weapons, defeating
which was deeply disappointed and saddened for the new economic problems
the failure commission.
In 1494 Leonardo, however,
received a new commission,
linked to the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a place dear to the Moor,
for the celebration of the Sforza family, which had just finished working
Work proceeded with the decoration of the dining hall, a rectangular
where the Dominicans their meals.
It was decided to paint the walls with less traditional themes:
a Crucifixion, for which he was named Donato Montorfano who developed a
already completed in 1495, and entrusted to the
Last Supper Leonardo.
In this work, who raised him from the impending economic problems,
Leonardo poured like a summa all studies
made by him in those years, representing a masterpiece.
The novelist Matteo Bandello, who knew Leonardo, wrote of him often
seen "The morning to buon'hora
to mount his su'l bridge, because the Cenacle is quite high off the ground;
he used the rising sun not rising until all'imbrunita evening never the
brush of his hand,
but scordatosi eating et drinking, without cease paint. He would then be dui,
three four days, that does not put v'averebbe hand, and yet lived talhora
one or two hours a day
and only contemplated,
considered et essaminando to himself, his figures judged.
I have also seen (According to
the whim or caprice touching him) depart at noon, when the
Sun is in Leo, from the Old Court where
that beautiful horse land composing, and venirsene
straight to the Graces:
et ascended on the bridge pigliar the brush, et one or two strokes to give
one of those figures
and immediately partirse et go elsewhere.
Leonardo drew on the tradition of Florentine circles, but reinterpreting it
in a very
original with a greater emphasis on the dramatic moment in which Christ says,
"Some of you will betray me" and "movements of the soul" of the apostles
upset. They are portrayed in
groups of three, as a series of
successive waves of emotion, with a central and dominant isolated figure of
As we know Leonardo was not comfortable with the technique,
because the fast drying time of plaster required a decisive and quick, not
with long studies, subsequent washes and his fine brushwork. Leonardo
invented for this
a mixed technique of tempera and oil on two layers of plaster, which slowed
down the execution phases work allowing them to make a greater harmony of
colors and light effects and
transparencies dear to him.
The work was completed in 1498, when it was mentioned in De divina
Luca Pacioli. The experiment,
however, turned dramatically unsuited to a wet environment
such as the refectory, with the wall
communicating with the kitchen: already in 1517
Antonio de Beatis wrote the first loss of
color, at the time of Vasari were already evident, then were followed by
restoration and repainting, as well as extremely dramatic events during the
Napoleonic occupation and the Second
who had delivered a masterpiece extremely compromise, which has remedied, as
far as possible,
the capillary restoration completed in 1999.
Danae and the work at the Castello Sforzesco
On 31 January 1496, the successful staging of Paradise was replicated
of Danae by Baldassare Taccone, performed in Milan in the house of the
Count of Caiazzo Francesco Sanseverino.
On the back of a Leonardo da Vinci folio, at the Metropolitan Museum,
is a preparatory study for the implantation stage:
the center of a niche was a character, perhaps Jupiter, flamboyant and an
surrounded by a stage with curved wings, perhaps reserved to the musicians.
Other sources point out how the Olympians calassero top, remaining suspended
in the air
between effects light to simulate a starry sky;
a system of winches and pulleys gave the actors the ability to move with
At that time Leonardo worked together to decorate the dressing rooms in the
Castello Sforzesco, which stopped in 1496;
this year, by his note of the cost of a burial, he deduced his mother's
Work remains today only the decoration of the Hall Axis
plant with a dense network of high sensitivity nature, today appreciable
only in general
by repainting necessitated several times to cover the gaps.
Of 2 October 1498 is the deed by which Ludovico il Moro gave him a vineyard
convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the monastery of San Vittore al
Meanwhile, storm clouds were gathering on the horizon in Milan:
in March 1499 Leonardo would have gone to Genoa along with Ludovico, on
which hung the
storm of war that he himself had helped to bring about;
while the Moor was in Innsbruck, trying in vain to ally the Emperor
October 6, 1499 Louis XII conquered Milan.
On December 14, Leonardo's 600 florins on the deposit
Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence and left Milan.
wandering period (1499-1508)
The departure from Milan, occupied by the French, marked the beginning of a
period of travel and wandering, that led him to visit shorter and cities,
returning for a short time in Florence.
Fled to Mantua, host of Isabella d'Este,
who had seen the Lady with an Ermine restandone affected.
It commissioned a portrait of Leonardo never completed, which keeps the
now in the Louvre.
Despite the lure of Isabella, who wanted to make the court painter Leonardo
replacing the old Mantegna, which did not appreciate the art of the portrait,
Leonardo departed early, finding the environment Mantua perhaps too stuffy
and altogether with limited income-generating opportunities for the
continuing economic problems of the small duchy.
This led him to Venice in March
The presence of the Florentine artist in Venice is evidenced by Luca Pacioli,
erhaps accompanied her in the city to
prepare with the release of De divine proportion, which was illustrated with
drawings perhaps derived from prototype Leonardo. Vasari did not mention the
trip, perhaps because it is linked to the activities of engineer and
mathematician rather than artistic disciplines. Here he was commissioned to
design some defensive systems against the continuing
Leonardo devised a movable dam, to be placed on the Isonzo and on Vilpacco,
able to cause flooding on principals land of the enemy. In any case also
from Venice off again soon.
Perhaps in Venice did or still left some of his innovative studies on
caricatures and grotesque
faces, whose influence law in some later
works produced in Venice,
as The Old Giorgione or twelve Christ among the Doctors Dürer's stay in
Leonardo also had with him the cartoon for the Portrait of Isabella d'Este,
who may have been
an example to push local artists in depth psychological portrait and greater
sensitivity to light effects.
Il ritorno a Firenze
After visiting Rome and Tivoli in
April 1501 he returned to Florence,
where not set foot in twenty years. Was welcomed at the canonical Amadori in
Albiera stepmother's brother, despite his father Piero was still alive;
probably the artist would have found uncomfortable in the house full of
did not even know and then turned out to
be hostile to him after his father's death, about the inheritance.
During his absence, Florence had changed both politically and on the art
Dead il Magnifico and chased his son Piero in 1494, had restored the full
headed by 1502 the standard-bearer for life Pier Soderini. New "stars" had
risen to the fore,
including that of Michelangelo, more than twenty years younger than
with whom he never ran bad blood.
Leonardo was plagued by financial problems and in need of work.
So it was that the friend Filippino Lippi, who had previously received
left unfinished by Leonardo,
relinquished the assignment in his favor of painting for the brothers Served
an altarpiece for the high altar the Santissima Annunziata.
Leonardo, with Salai, then moved to the convent, but once again failed to
complete the work
entrusted to him. The brothers had to
settle for a cardboard with the Sant'Anna, then lost,
which enjoyed an extraordinary reputation among his contemporaries.
It remains a vivid description of Vasari
"Finally made a cardboard dentrovi a Madonna and a S. Anna, with Christ,
which also did not marvel all craftsmen, but she was finished,
in the room lasted two days to go and see her gl'uomini and women, young et
as you go to a solemn festival, to see the wonders of Leonardo, who made
surprise all the people. '
(Giorgio Vasari, Lives of 'Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and
The Life of Leonardo da Vinci.)
It now seems certain that the work is not the carton of St Anne in London
it is instead a work painted by Louis XII perhaps a little later, by 1505,
and from the Milanese house of accounts Arconati;
rather paperboard Florentine had to derive the Saint Anne, the Virgin and
Child with lamb Louvre
completed, however, many years later.
La Madonna dei Fusi
Isabella d'Este in the meantime
trying to get the services of Leonardo for his study
and a portrait, according to his plan to compete in the major painters of
which was to involve also Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione and others.
Through the intercession of the Carmelite Pietro da Novellara asked the
and in the alternative, "A small painting
of the Madonna and sweet como devotee
is its natural," but the
monk replied that
"They have his isperimenti mathematical distracted so much from
the paint that can not suffer the brush."
In the letter dated April 14, 1501 the brother informed her that Leonardo
was performing a "shirker"
to the secretary of the king of France Florimond Robertret,
which depicted the Virgin in the act of "inaspare
and Child while grabbing the reel as if it were a cross.
This is certainly the Madonna dei Fusi, of which there are many versions, no
The closest to the hand of Leonardo is believed that the collection of
Duke of Buccleuch in Drumlaring at Edinburgh Castle, perhaps the oldest,
and one in a private collection in New York.
The letters testify to that Leonardo was now in Florence, fully occupied as
The service of Cesare Borgia
In 1502, Leonardo was hired by
Cesare Borgia as a military architect and engineer.
The two have already got to know each other in Milan in 1499.
The son of Pope Alexander VI, called "Duke of Valentino," was one of the
most brutal tyrants
of the moment and took Leonardo, who
had arrived in Cesena, in various tasks related to the continuous military
campaigns, how to detect and update the fortifications of the city of
For him, he developed a new type of gunpowder, consisting of a mixture of
and saltpeter, studied flying machines
and tools for submarine warfare.
In August, spent some time in Italy, from where he set off to inspect the
of Lombardy Borgia;
also drew detailed maps for easy moves military-strategic forces.
In the wake of Valentino attended one of the most bloody and cruel campaigns
of the time,
the sneak attack against Urbino. Just in Urbino Leonardo shook friendly
with Niccolò Machiavelli,
probably already known in Florence.
of the the Battle of Anghiari
Since March 1503 he was again in
Florence, surviving almost to the collapse of the domains of Borgia.
In April Pier Soderini entrusted the task of decorating one of the great
of the new Salone in Palazzo Vecchio,
great work in size and ambition, which would
expected in the following months.
In July, meanwhile, the Republic gave him a complex hydraulic
for the dam Arno so as to head off rebel against Pisa:
Leonardo went to the city besieged by the Florentines, together
with Jerome Alexander and Filicaja Albizi,
but his project failed due to a
calculation error, which he sent on a
rampage Gonfaloniere Soderini.
Back in town, then took up the project in the Palazzo Vecchio.
In the Salone had to be shown some military victories of the Florentines,
celebrating the concept of libertas Republican foes and tyrants.
A Leonardo was given an episode of the clashes between the army of Florence
Milan, 29 June 1440, the Battle of
Anghiari, while on the opposite wall would have to work Michelangelo
Buonarroti, the Battle of Cascina (July 29, 1364, against the Pisans).
For different reasons neither of these murals was completed, nor have they
kept the original cartons,
although there remain some studies autographs and copies of other ancient
Leonardo studied in particular a new technique that quickly raised by the
recovering from the Historia naturalis of Pliny the Elder encaustic.
As for the Last Supper This choice turned out to be unsuitable dramatically
when it was too late.
The vastness of the painting did not allow it to reach fires with a
temperature sufficient to dry the colors,
that flowed on the plaster, or tending to fade, if not disappear altogether.
In December 1503 the artist interrupted so the transfer of the painting from
the wall cardboard,
frustrated by a new failure.
Among the best copies taken from Leonardo's cartoon is that of Rubens, now
in the Louvre.
Also lost the cardboard, the last traces of the work were probably
covered in 1557 by the frescoes of Vasari.
In this time he
began the masterpiece that made him famous throughout the centuries,
the Mona Lisa.
Traditionally identified as Lisa Gherardini,
born in 1479 and wife of Francesco Bartolomeo del Giocondo
(hence the name "Mona Lisa"), the painting is considered the most famous
portrait in the world, goes far
beyond the traditional boundaries of portraiture.
As he wrote Charles de Tolnay (1951)
"The Mona Lisa, the individual - a sort of miraculous creation of nature -
is at the same time the species:
the portrait exceeded the limits social acquires a universal value.
Leonardo worked on this both as a researcher and thinker, both as a painter
and yet the philosophical-scientific side remained unanswered. But the
formal aspect -
the new layout, the nobility and dignity
of the attitude of the resulting model - took action
termination on the portrait in Florence the next two decades [...]
Leonardo created the Mona Lisa with a new formula, more monumental and at
time more lively, more concrete, and yet
more poetic than that of its predecessors. Before him,
in the mystery of the missing
artists have shown that external forms without the soul or, when they
characterized the soul itself,
it sought to reach the audience through gestures, symbolic objects written.
Only in Gioconda exudes a riddle:
the soul is present but inaccessible. "
The death of
his father and the Treaty models birds
On 9 July 1504 his father died Piero, Leonardo wrote several times to the
in apparent agitation:
«Wednesday at 7 o'clock died Ser Piero da Vinci, on the day July 9, 1504,
Wednesday at 7 am near," and yet, 'Addi
July 9, 1504 in Wednesday at 7 o'clock died
Piero da Vinci, notary at the palace of
the Podesta, my father, at 7 o'clock.
Years old was 80. He left 10 children boys and two girls. "The father did
not do it and heir,
against the brethren who opposed the illegitimacy of his birth,
Leonardo asked in vain for recognition of its reasons: because after the
court which he
promoted, only April 30, 1506 there
was the liquidation of the estate, from which Leonardo
In the early 1500 Leonardo deli pays particular attention to the study of
the flight and the
project a new flying machine.
Realizing the business of human flight is
the challenge amiziosa and Leonardo pursues the idea of writing a treatise
on the flight
divided into four chapters.
At foglio3r Manuscript K Leonardo notes:
Divide the Treaty of birds in four books, of 'which is the first to fly the
beat of Alie:
the second beat of the flight without wings, for the favor of the wind, the
third of the fly in
common, such as birds, bats, fish,
animals, insects, and the last movement of the instrument.
Leonardo did not ever complete the drafting of the Treaty on the flight but
in 1505 please fill
in the Codex on the Flight of Birds, now
housed in the Royal Library of Turin.
The Code of the flight is the collection of more mature thought of Leonardo
inherent in the
study of the flight, and in the pages of
this precious manuscript that Leonardo designed his most advanced flying
The Great Nibbio, The Leonardo's
flying machine in the Codex of Flight
In the three years following
Leonardo developed further his studies on the anatomy of the
birds and the air resistance and
around 1515, on the fall of the weights
and the motions of the air.
From this knowledge then tried to build original flying machines,
in some cases put in place, as seems to
confirm a note autograph
"Piglierà the first flight of the great bird on the back of his magnum
Cecero filling the universe with awe,
filling with its fame all writings and eternal glory to
the place where he
was born. "
It is believed that Leonardo did experience the flight attendant to one of
Tommaso Masini said "Zoroaster" from the hill of Fiesole, but did not get a
it seems that the victim fell into ruin even breaking a leg.
Leonardo and Michelangelo
The relationship between the two geniuses of the Renaissance, Leonardo and
was difficult, often tense, due to the generational difference
(Michelangelo was 23 years younger than Leonardo)
of different characters and artistic ideals irreconcilably far:
The first was thoughtful, versatile and interested in the natural world and
the second most
impulsive, notoriously unruly and idealistic.
There is no direct evidence of their enmity, but several clues and indirect
In the Treatise on Painting, for example, Leonardo condemned the "excesses
anatomical and muscular rhetoric" that are part of the style of Michelangelo
and his followers, without ever directly mentioning the rival.
The Anonymous Gaddiano remembers them in a novel, in which the two artists,
in Piazza Santa Trinita, met and Michelangelo, contemptuous and
Leonardo pressed about the interpretation of a verse of Dante,
Leonardo's reticence to accept the provocation generated the wrath of
that the derision about the failed project of the bronze horse ending:
"Et t'era who believed that from this 'caponi de' Milanesi?"
Misunderstandings and rivalry had come on even during double official
Palazzo Vecchio, but, perhaps because of the lack of realization of the
the sources are silent about it.
Before leaving Florence there was another episode that affected the two:
Michelangelo had in fact completed his David and the Florentine artists were
called in committee
to decide on the location of the statue in Piazza della Signoria, January
Of Botticelli, Andrea della Robbia, the Chronicle, Filippino Lippi,
Perugino, Lorenzo di Credi,
Giuliano and Antonio da Sangallo, Leonardo took the podium to advise,
following an idea of Giuliano, a secluded location for the statue in the
Loggia della Signoria,
close to the wall maybe short framed by a niche "so that no faults
ceremonies delli official".
Its position, which obviously provoked the opposition of Buonarroti, had a
Finally, the prevailing hypothesis of Filippino Lippi, to a position of
maximum exposure outdoors
dominant and authoritative in front of Palazzo Vecchio, the most important
building in the city,
as well as the nerve center of political and social life in Florence.
second stay in Milano
In Florence, Leonardo began to be flattered by the French governor of Milan,
Charles d'Amboise, urged that, since 1506, to enter the service of
The following year saw the king himself to ask specifically Leonardo, who
to return to Milan in July 1508.
The second stay in Milan, which lasted until 1513, with some travel from
October 1506 to January 1507 and from September 1507 to September 1508, was
a very intense period.
He painted the Saint Anne, the Virgin and Child with lamb, completed in
collaboration with the
De Predis, the second version of the Virgin of the Rocks and took care
of geological problems,
and urban basins.
Studied among other things a project for an equestrian statue in honor of
Gian Giacomo Trivulzio,
the creator of the French conquest of the city.
He lived near San Babila and its financial status is the record of a
for almost a year of 390 and 200 francs money from the king of France.
On 28 April 1509 he wrote that he solved the problem of squaring curvilinear
and the following year went to study anatomy with Marcantonio della Torre, a
at the University of Pavia, for this purpose wrote, to give "the real story
of the human figure,
which it is impossible that the ancient and modern writers I could never
give real news,
without an immense and tedious and confusing writing and length of time;
but for this very short way figurarla "- which is representing directly with
"It will give full and true information. And so that this benefit I give
unto men should
not perish, I teach how to reprint it in order ".
During his short trips visited Como, then ventured towards the slopes of
(At that time it was impossible to climb up to the summit which is 4,634
meters high well)
then with Salai and the mathematician Luca Pacioli lived in Vaprio d'Adda,
where he was given by his father the young Francesco Melzi, the last and
dearest of his
students who followed him until his death.
In 1511 the death of his supporter, Charles d'Amboise.
Two years later the new War of the League of Cambrai drove the French from
who returned to the Sforza.
Uncertainty of the situation 24 September 1514 Leonardo went to Rome,
closer together, Melzi and Salai. Here Giuliano de 'Medici, brother of
Pope Leo X grants him his favor, obtaining for him an accommodation in the
apartments of the Belvedere in the Vatican.
Here the artist devoted himself to his scientific studies, mechanics,
optics and geometry and
tried on fossil near Monte Mario, but complained Giuliano that he
should be prevented from his studies of anatomy in the Hospital of the Holy
Spirit. There was no public commissions,
but he had the opportunity to review Bramante and Giuliano di Sangallo, who
the building of St Peter, Raphael, who frescoed the papal apartments,
and perhaps even Michelangelo, from whom he shared the ancient enmity.
He was involved in the draining of the Pontine marshes, whose work had been
contracted by Giuliano de 'Medici -
The project was approved by Pope Leo X December 14, 1514, but was not
the death Giuliano is that of the pope in a few years - and of the port of
With Giuliano and the pope made a trip to Bologna,
where he met directly Francis I of France.
Leda e il cigno,
According to Vasari, this during
his short stay in Rome,
made 'for Messer Baldassarre Turini da Pescia, who was date of Leo,
a picture of a Madonna with child in arm with infinite diligence and art »
and drew "a little boy who is beautiful and graceful to a marvel, which are
both in Pescia" but of the two works is lost every trace, together with Leda
and the Swan, known at the time, and still seen by Cassiano dal Pozzo in
1623 in Fontainebleau:
"Leda standing, almost all naked, with the swan and two eggs at the foot of
In Rome also began to work on an old project, that of burning mirrors that
used to convey the sun's rays to
heat a tank of water, helping to drive the machines.
However, the project encountered a number of difficulties mainly because
Leonardo did not get along with its
German workers, specialists in mirrors, which were made on purpose to arrive
At the same time were resumed his studies of anatomy, has already begun in
Florence and Milan, but this time things
an anonymous letter, sent probably in revenge by two workers Germans accused
of witchcraft. In the absence of protection of Giuliano de 'Medici, and
faced with a situation which heavy Leonardo was forced, once again, to leave.
This time he had decided to leave Italy.
He was old, needed peace and someone to appreciate and help.
The last news of his Roman period date to August 1516,
when measuring the size of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls,
In France, in the service
of Francis I
In 1517 Leonardo left for France, where he arrived in May, together with
and the servant Battista de Vilanis, being housed by the king in the castle
near Amboise, and honored with the title of premier painter, architect,
mecanicien et du roi,
with a pension of 5000 crowns.
Francis I was a sovereign cultured and refined, especially Italian art
as demonstrated in the following years with honors welcoming other artists
(Primaticcio Rosso Fiorentino, Andrea del Sarto, Benvenuto Cellini).
The last three years in France were definitely the quietest time of his
assisted by two loyal students and though weakened by old age and a probable
thrombosis that paralyzed his right hand, he was able to continue with
passion and dedication
to their studies and scientific research.
The high regard in which he enjoyed is also demonstrated by the visit
received, October 10,
Cardinal of Aragon and its aftermath: Leonardo showed him "three square
one particular woman Fiorentina done from life to istantia of the late
mag.co Juliano de Medici,
the other Joane de San Bap.ta young age one of the Madona et son that the
in the lap of Santa Anna tucti perfectissimi, et's true that he came to
esserli certain paralesi it the Dextra, it can not be bona expectare more
thing. Has created a well-facto Milanese who works
very well, although M. et p.to Lunardo can not Colorir with that dulceza
while serves to make drawings et teach other.
This gentilhomo composed of anatomy so particularmente with demonstratione
de la pictura
So from members as of muscles, nerves, veins, joints, intestines of a lot of
of homini that de done, has never been so de facto anchora by another person
He also composed the nature of the waters, of several machines and other
things, according to reported him countless volumes et tucti language
if they come to light which will be very profitable et dilectevoli. "
Designed the Royal Palace in Romorantin, Francis I wanted to build for his
mother Louise of Savoy.
This was the project of a small town, for which foresaw the movement of a
river of water that enrich
fertilizzasse and the nearby countryside, "El river half does not receive
but this water goes to them were of holes in the ground, with four molina
entry and four exit [...]
the river has led to Romolontino Villafranca, and the like is made of its
if the river mn [Bonne Heure], a branch of the river was [Loire] is sent
into the river Romolontino,
with his murky waters it Grassera campaigns over which it adacquerà, and
make the land fertile. "
Participated in the celebrations for the baptism of the Dauphin and those
for the wedding of
Lorenzo de 'Medici.
Among his works as a curator of festivals and equipment is reminiscent
staged in Lyon
in 1515 and Argenton in 1517, in both cases, to celebrate the presence of
It was the automaton of the lion, who was able to walk and then stop opening
"All filled with lilies and other flowers, [...] who was a marvel to the
The last date found on a manuscript of Leonardo dates back to June 1518:
taken from calculations of geometry, studies are abruptly interrupted with a
because the soup is cold!"
This is a rare record of instinctive life, which makes the human dimension
of the character,
pressed by the calls of someone, to break the concentration to eat.
The tomb of Leonardo, Château d'Amboise
On 23 April 1519 he drafted a will before a notary William Boreau the
presence of five witnesses
Francesco Melzi, and inseparable:
dispose of wanting to be buried in the church of Saint Florentin, with a
funeral accompanied by
chaplains and by the Friars Minor, as well as sixty poor people, each regent
called for the celebration of three solemn masses, with deacon and
and thirty harvest "low", St. Gregory, Saint-Denis and in the
A Francesco Melzi, executor, let "them books [...] and other INSTRUMENTI et
Portracti about his art et de Pictori industry, "as well as the collection
of drawings and wardrobe;
the servant De Vilanis and Salai half for each "one Iardino that drilling of
the walls of Milan [...]
in which the aforesaid Iardino Salay has built et constructa a house ";
the maid Maturina of cloth and two ducats to his brothers Florentine
heritage in the Tuscan city,
ie 400 shields deposited in Santa Maria Nuova and a farm in Fiesole.
Leonardo died shortly thereafter, on May 2. Francis I, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
where he was, he learned of the death directly from Melzi and let go of a
On August 12, a record recalls how "he was buried in the cloister of the
[Saint-Florentin in Amboise] M. Lionard de Vincy, Milanese nobleman and
Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King, meschanischien of
former director of the painting of the Duke of Milan. "
Fifty years later, violated the grave, his remains went missing in the
unrest of the religious struggles
between Catholics and Huguenots.
Thirty years earlier he had written the words that sound prophetic in his
"Yes, as a day well spent gives happy sleep, so life well used gives die
Copies of Leonardo's writings on painting were already circulating in the
Vasari reported by an anonymous artist from Milan, who showed him "some of
the writings of Leonardo, while characters written with the left hand on the
reverse side, which treat of painting
and de 'ways of drawing and coloring ";
Benvenuto Cellini had written of Leonardo's perspective.
Thanks to the efforts of Cassiano dal Pozzo, a collection of manuscripts of
drafting extremely short of that put together the pupil and heir, Francesco
was published for the first time in Paris in 1651, together with the French
with engravings taken from drawings by Nicolas Poussin;
another Italian edition of the Treatise on Painting, was published in Naples
The painting, Leonardo, science, representing "the way with more truth and
certainty the works of nature," while "the letters represent more truly the
words to meaning."
But, he adds Leonardo shooting a Aristotelian concept,
is "the most wonderful science that represents the works of nature,
that what is [...] the works of men, as poetry, and the like, passing
through the human language. "
Leonardo also studied first in Europe the ability to project images from
life on a sheet where
they could be easily copied, with the so-called camera obscura Leonardian.
He also was among the pioneers of the use of oil painting in Italy, he used
mainly in mixed media, mainly for touch-ups.
"I know that, not me letters, he judges that some presumptuous I could
coll'allegare I be man without letters. Foolish people!
Such people do not know that I could, even as Mario replied against 'Roman
I do answer, saying:
"Those who dall'altrui labors if they adorned themselves, my I do not want
to grant the same."
Or they do not know that my things are more to be learned from experience,
that the word of others,
which was teacher who wrote well, and so the teacher for an air and that in
all cases will attach »
(Codex Atlanticus to 119 v)
"Omo without letters" stands for man who does not know the Latin
but he does not need the knowledge of the Latin for "I have so many words in
my mother tongue,
ch'i 'm'ho rather by doler good understanding things, that the lack of words,
with which well express my concept of the mind ";
and when the vulgar has full ability to express any concept,
the problem remains the truth of what is argued.
The Vitruvian Man, a study of proportionality of the human body, Venice,
AccademiaSecondo the thought of Leonardo,
a first truth we can draw from the direct experience of nature, from the
observation of phenomena:
"Much greater and more worthy thing to read" is not attach the authority of
authors of books, but
attach the experience, which is the master of those authors. Those who argue
citing the authority
other writers are swollen "and pompous,
clothes and ornaments, not of themselves, but of others' labors, and my not
grant the same to me;
and if I despise inventor, how much more them, not inventors,
but trumpeters and reciters of the works of others, will be blamed. "
And if they criticize him, saying that "my evidence against all'alturità be
of some days
men of great reverence hereafter to 'their inexperienced iudizi "
it is because they do not consider that "my things to be born under the
simple and pure
experience, which is true teacher. "
"I believe that instead of defining what is the soul, which is something
that you can not see,
much better is to study those things that you can learn with experience,
because not only the experience gap.
And if you can not apply one of the mathematical sciences, we can not be
If the experience is to know the reality of things, but still does not give
the rational necessity of phenomena, the law that is hidden in the
manifestations of things: "Nature is forced by reason
of his law, that she infusamene lives "and" no effect in nature without
you mean the reason and you do not need experience, "
in the sense that once it is within the law governing this phenomenon,
no need to repeat the observation, the intimate truth of the phenomenon is
The laws that govern nature are expressed through mathematics:
"Nissuna human investigation can be questioning will true science, s'essa
does not pass through
the mathematical demonstrations,"
standing still the principle that "if you say that the sciences, which
Principiano and end up in the mind,
have truth, this is not allowed, but denies, for many reasons, and the
that does not happen in such discourses mental experience, without which
nothing gives self-confidence. "
The rejection of metaphysics could not be expressed more clearly.
Even his conception of the nature of his research follows the approach:
"In its [nature] inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous
with counterweights, when it makes them members of the motion acts panels
models, but puts it into the soul of the container body,
that is the soul of the mother, who first made the figure of the man in the
matrix and in due time awakens the soul inhabitant of that which ought to be,
what the first was still asleep and protect
the soul of the mother, what the nurses and quickens the umbilical vein,
"and adds that with
prudent irony "Definition as given the rest of the soul will leave the minds
of 'brothers, fathers of' peoples, which inspired them to know all the
I leave the letters crowned star [the Scriptures] because they are supreme
But insists: "And if we doubt the certainty of each thing on the senses,
how much more are we to doubt the things they rebel senses,
as the essence of God and the soul and the like, which always takes place
It really happens where there is no reason that always make up for the cries,
which does not happen in certain things. "
Recognizes validity to the study of alchemy, "partoritrice of the simple and
not already considered a magical art but "ministratrice de 'simple products
which office the fact that it can not be kind, because she is not organic
hills which it can deliver that instruction that uses homo by his hands, "that
science by which man,
starting from the simple elements of nature, it produces compounds as a
However, the alchemist can not create any simple element, as evidenced by
alchemists, than ever "s'abbatero to create the least thing that you
can from it! create nature"
and would have been worthy of the highest praise if "fussino were not the
inventors of harmful
things, as veneni and similar ruins of life and mind. "
Instead harshly censor of magic, "necromancy, ovver flag flying banner
blowing in the wind,
guidatrice the foolish multitude. " The necromancers' have empiuti books,
stating that the charms and spirits endeavor and without language they speak,
organic instruments, without which you do not speak little, speak and bear
face and inundating rain and that men will be converted in cats,
wolves and beasts,
although the first beast when accessing those who say such a thing. "
Leonardo is best known for his paintings, for his studies on the flight,
probably much less for the many other things that it was instead a true
such as in the field of geology. He was among the first, in fact, to
understand what they were fossils,
and because they were marine fossils in the mountains. Contrary to what was
believed at that time,
namely that it was the evidence of the great flood, the biblical event which
would have drowned
the whole earth, Leonardo imagined the movement of water masses on earth,
like the blood circulation, with a slow but continuous change, coming to the
conclusion that the places where the fossils surfaced, time must have been
Although with very original reasoning, the conclusion of Leonardo was
Leonardo's contribution to almost all scientific disciplines was decisive:
in astronomy had insights, as the heat of the sun, the twinkling of the
on Earth, the Moon, the centrality of the Sun,
still for so many years would raise contrast and opposition.
But in his writings are also examples that show its ability to make
so dazzling of difficult concepts;
at that time was far from having formulated the laws of gravity, but
Leonardo already compared
the planets magnets that attract each other, thus explaining very well the
of gravitational attraction.
In another of his writings, more on this topic, resorted to an image very
Leonardo said: imagine to make a hole in the ground, a hole that passes
through from side
to side through the center, a kind of "bottomless pit" if you
throw a stone into the well,
the stone oltrepasserebbe the center of the earth, continued on its road
going up the other side,
and then would come back after again above the center,
dates back over here. This back and forth would last for many years,
before the stone is still definitely in the center of the Earth.
If this space was empty, that is totally devoid of air, it would, in theory,
apparent, the model of perpetual motion, the possibility of which, moreover,
writing that "nothing will move itself is insensitive, so, moving, fia
disequale moved by weight;
ceased and the desire of the first motor, the second will cease immediately.
Even in botany Leonardo made important observations:
first noticed that the leaves are arranged on the branches not randomly but
mathematical laws (Made only three centuries later) is a growth in fact,
that the leaves,
that avoids the overlap to take advantage of the greater amount of light.
He found that the concentric rings in the trunks indicate the age of the
an observation confirmed by Marcello Malpighi more than a century later.
He also noted the eccentricity in the diameter of the logs, due to the
greater growth of the
Especially first discovered the phenomenon of the rise of water from the
roots to the trunks by capillarity, anticipating the concept of sap
ascending and descending.
To all this was added an experiment that anticipated many centuries
hydroponics: having studied hydraulics, Leonardo knew that it was necessary
to raise the water
perform work; then in plants, in which the water rises through the roots, a
kind of work had to be done.
To understand the phenomenon took off the ground, placing the plant directly
into the water,
and observed that the plant could still grow, albeit more slowly.
You can take a final judgment on the position that it is up to Leonardo in
the history of science
quote Sebastiano Timpanaro:  "Leonardo da Vinci draws from the Greeks,
by Jordanus, by Biagio da Parma, by Albert of Saxony, John Buridan, doctors
the precursor of the unknown Duhem, but draws on ideas more or less
You and your new curiosity for every natural phenomenon and the ability to
see to the
naked eye that which barely be seen with the aid of tools.
Because of his unique and powerful sense of observation, he differs from his
His writings are essentially ordered and trying to translate them into
treaties of the purest modern science, you pervert. Leonardo (you have to
say it out loud) is not a super-Galileo is a great curious nature, not a
scientist-philosopher. It may be that sometimes go even further than
but there is another spirit.
Where Galileo would write a treatise, Leonardo writes one hundred or one
hundred aphorisms notations from the truth; while Galileo is so consistent
as to become in a few moments conseguenziario. Leonardo looks and note
without worrying too much about theories.
Many times records the fact without even groped to explain it. "
inventor of the flying
On 25 November 1796 the manuscripts of Leonardo withdrawn from the
Biblioteca Ambrosiana arrived in Paris and from their analysis, the Italian
physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi,
then in France, drew a Essai sur les ouvrages physico-mathématiques de
Leonard de Vinci,
excluded from this study da Vinci on the flight, judging probably just a
In 1486 Leonardo expressed his faith in the possibility of human flight:
"You know the man with his own-designed and large wings, pushing down
against the air
resistance, winning, being able to subdue and rise above it. " From
March 14 to April 15, 1505
wrote of what was to be an organic models Treaty birds, from which he wanted
to extract the
secret of flight, extending his studies in 1508 to the anatomy of birds and
air resistance and,
around 1515, adds the study of falling bodies and the movements of the air.
Call motorcycle instrumental human flight achieved with the use of a machine:
locates in the most simple parachute flight:
"If a man has a nappy clogged pavilion, which is 12 for face and upper arms
will throw herself of any great height without injury to himself. "
By analogy with the weight and the wingspan of the bird tries to establish
the wingspan that
the machine should have and what force should be used to move and sustain
Leonardo's faith in human flight appears to have remained unchanged
throughout his life,
despite failures and the difficulty of the enterprise:
"Piglierà the first flight of the great bird on the back of his magnum
Cecero (Mount Ceceri,
near Florence), filling the universe with awe, filling his fame all the
Eternal glory to the place where he was born. "
An experiment in this direction took place and really made a guinea pig his
During his lifetime, Leonardo invented many concepts, some of them, like the
were real prototypes. Her notes contain several inventions in the military:
scorpions, a machine "that little 'draw stones, darts, sagitte»
which can also destroy the enemy machines;
the cortaldi, guns to use against ships; coils, suitable against the "galleys,
to offend the enemy from afar. Vole throw herself 4 pounds of lead ";
the zepate, rafts to burn enemy ships at ports
and designing ships with spikes that break the enemy hulls and incendiary
of coal, saltpeter, sulfur, tar, incense and camphor, a fire "is so eager to
that followed the timber right under the water. "
Another project would include the diver - there are those who thought even
to the sub -
about which he wrote but did not want to disclose "to the evil nature of men,
them which userebbono them assassinementi ne 'funds seas with Navili break
down and engulf
men with necks that are inside. " Do you think the current bike, chopper,
a model which has been realized in the park of the castle of Clos-Lucé,
a device for gearing that has been interpreted as the first mechanical
in a car driven by a spring mechanism and an automatic loom,
reconstructed from the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan,
weaving cloth 2 inches per minute, designed the purple organist.
During his years in the Vatican invented an industrial use of solar energy,
through the use of concave mirrors to heat water.
Female anatomy, Windsor, RealiGli
collected writings of anatomy prior to the work of Leonardo,
such as those of Mondino de 'Luzzi or Guy de Chauliac, resuscitating the
tradition of Galen
and were therefore devoid of any experimental verification.
The insatiable desire to know, to understand everything he saw, brought
Leonardo to explore everything.
Even the human body fascinated her as a perfect machine and much more
machines made of gears.
Leonardo wanted to know what was in it, how it works and what happens when
stops with death.
For this, first to Milan at the end of the fifteenth century, and then in
Florence in the early
sixteenth century, used to go in
secret morgues and using scissors and scalpel dissected corpses;
at least thirty, according to the report of his contemporaries.
In his drawings also show the instruments then in use by surgeons, saws and
The anatomy was in its infancy, the ideas on the human body were very
He can rightly be considered the founder of the science,
together with at least the Belgian Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564),
De humani corporis whose work factory was to appear in 1543.
It is known the fact of a Florentine of
his experiences: "this old man, a few hours before his death,
he told me he was over a hundred years, and he did not feel any lack of it
the person, other than weakness; and so standosi to sit on top of a bed in
the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence
without other movement or result of distress, passed from this life. And I
to see the cause of such a gentle death. "
Leonardo studied anatomy in three
distinct periods: in Milan, between 1480 and 1490, worked
on it, giving particular attention of
the muscles and bones, as a function of his artistic activity;
subsequently in Florence, between 1502 and 1507, is applied in particular of
and finally, 1508 to 1513, in
Milan and Rome, became interested in the study of the internal
organs and blood circulation.
Movement of braccioLeonardo was the first to represent the interior of the
human body with a
series of drawings;
it was also a whole new way to "look inside" the body, among other things,
breaking old taboos.
There are hundreds of drawings now preserved at Windsor Castle, and owned by
Queen of England, that display what was
only described in words and fuzzy. Leonardo wrote:
"By what letters descriverai this heart, that you are not a wicked book, and
how much longer
write to the minute, the more
you will confuse the mind of the listener, and always will need to
sponitori or return to Scanno, in you
which is very short and gives news of a few things
compared to all of the subbietto you
want INTEGRAR news. "
Leonardo invented the anatomical
He also invented a way to illustrate that is still used by modern designers,
the so-called "image exploded" an example is looking like Leonardo was a
drawing the skull and the brain in sequence so as to show how they enter the
one inside the other.
He studied the bones, muscles, arteries, veins, capillaries, failed to
understand the age-related changes and even to realize arteriosclerosis.
Escaped him instead the role of the heart,
studied in Rome until 1513:
"All the veins and arteries arise from the core, and the reason is that the
increased thickness that is in these
veins arteries and is in conjunction with the core that they
have, and how much more if removano
from the core, the more you thin and divide in the
most minute ramifications, "and this
belief derives from the analogy with plants,
which have their roots in the lower
part enlarged, "it is clear that the whole plant originates
such as thickness, and consequently
the veins originate from the core,
where is their greater thickness "
Similarly his studies of the botanical astray, making him believe that the
as the sap of plants, with an ascending and a descending sap.
But the heart had identified the nature of muscle:
"The core is a major muscle strength, and powerful muscles above the others"
but also as an equivalent of a stove to give heat to the body: "The heat is
generated by the
motion of the core; and this
occurs because, when the heart faster you move, the more
heat multiply, as taught by the wrist
de 'feverish, driven by the beating of the heart "
Among his anatomical drawings, the most spectacular and impressive are those
a fetus before birth:
images were completely new for its time, and certainly shocking
Leonardo also studied the mechanisms of the eye to understand how the
three-dimensional view, due to
the superimposition of two images which are slightly staggered.
Boiled a bull's-eye in a egg white, so
that it can dissect and see what is inside.
He found the retina and the optic nerve, and reported these observations in
The hydraulic studies water ca 1508 In
the seventeenth century, Francis Arconati
son of Count Galeazzo da Vinci drew from the writings of these donated to
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, a treaty which he
called Del bike and measure the water, which,
however, will be published only in 1826.
Leonardo devoted himself to hydraulic studies from his stay in Milan,
already full of canals,
and Lombardy, crossed by an extensive
network of canals.
Collaborated with the Republic of Venice for the arrangement attitude of the
to prevent flooding and make it navigable, but do not know works on its
some of which, particularly grandiose, are attested by his writings: a
channel that combines
Florence to the sea, obtained by
adjusting the course of the Arno, the draining of the Pontine Marshes,
Lazio, which should have been made by diverting the river Ufente;
channeling the French region of Sologne, with the deviation of the Cher
River, near Tours.
Leonardo also designed machines for the use of water power for the drying
and the raising
of the water.
According to his custom, he studies the nature of water:
"The four elements below the second men grieve and second volatility.
This has never rest insino which is connected to its maritime element where
they are not harassed by the wind, is established and rests with its
from the center of the world " its origin,
movement, certain features, such as foam:
"The water that falls from the top in the other water, encloses inside
itself certain quantity of air,
which by the floods hit with it and with fast motion Kazing up reaching to
the left superfizie
dressed in thin body moisture sperico,
circularmente departing from the first percussion ».
Watch the visual effects on the water surface and finds that
"The image of the sun dimostrerrà more polished nell'onde minute that the
and that "the rocket of the sun, for the past rattles them [the bubbles]
superfizie of water,
sends it to the bottom of water a simulacrum of it rattle in the shape of a
I have not yet investigated the cause, but I estimate for the cause of other
sien joint it rattle around more. "
Takes care of the fossils found in the mountains and joked with those who
believe in the Flood:
"The foolishness and simplicity of those who want the animals in this Fussin
seas carried by the flood.
As another sect of ignorant state the nature or conceal them in such lochi
for infrussi celestial [...] and if you
tell them nichi [shells] that for them outside of Italy away
from them seas, in such a height is
vegghino alli our times, it was because of the flood that
left them there, I will say that
believing that this flood superassi the highest mountain of
seven cubits - as those who wrote 'the
such nichi, which are always close to 'quarrels of the sea,
were to stand over these mountains, and not so little above the root of 'mountains.'
He is convinced that with time the earth will end up being completely
submerged in water:
"Perpetual them are low lochi the bottom of the sea, and the other hand
there are the tops of 'mountains;
idea keep the earth will sperica and all covered from the waters, and will
engineering and architecture of Leonardo
Project centrally planned church,
Paris, Institut de France
Vasari writes that Leonardo "architecture still fe 'many designs such as
plants of other edifices
and was the first still that boy, discorresse over the river Arno to put it
into channel from Pisa to Florence " evidence that, apart from that on the
occasion of the project for deviating the Arno,
which occurred in 1503, Leonardo
was not "young man", shows that the interests of Leonardo
or requests addressed to him concerned
especially projects of hydraulic engineering or military.
On the other hand, note letter to Ludovico il Moro in 1492, Leonardo has his
powers of a military nature, but adds that in time of peace thinks "Perfect
satisfaction compared to any other in de architectura, in the composition of
public and private buildings,
et in guiding water from one place to another. "
In Milan will in fact only the title of "ingegnarius"
while in his second stay in Florence can boast the title of architect and
It is certain that for the
advancement of engineering knowledge is availed of personal
knowledge of the Sienese Francesco di
Giorgio Martini and his writings: it has a note and a
copy of his Treatise military and
civil architecture, designing fortifications with bastions
bristling with thick corners
that can oppose the enemy artillery.
His designs are known for both the dome of the Duomo in Milan for both
for which thinks of hanging gardens and innovative interior solutions, such
as stairs double,
quadruple and inside the houses "with
mill'll generate wind every time the state;
I will raise the water surgitiva and fresh, which will PEL half of the
tables divided [...]
and more water will run PEL garden, adacquando them pomeranci and cedars to
their needs [...]
farassi through the mill, many conduits of water for the house, and sources
in different lochia,
and any transit where, who you will, for all parties under the water to jump
But it also deals with the modern
conception of "a polished stable" to arrive at imagine an
ideal city, structured multi-level
road, where the lower level flowed wagons,
and in the upper one had comfortable for pedestrians.
In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single span bridge of 300
as part of a civil engineering project for Ottoman Sultan Bayazed II.
It was expected that a pylon of the bridge would be placed on one of the
inlet at the mouth
of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, but
it was never built. The turkish government in
the early years of the twenty-first
century has decided to build
a bridge that follows the project Leonardo.
personality of Leonardo
Portrait of Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, anonymous,
ca 1495, Vaduz, Aloisi Foundation reported that a contemporary of Leonardo's
from anonymous complaint in 1476 (which also ended in acquittal), the lack
of relationships with women,
notes the ambiguity of Vasari and the relationship with his pupils
much younger than him and comely.
The note of Leonardo himself, "it's my first ricordazione of my childhood it
seemed to me,
when I was in the cradle,
that a kite to come to me and opened my mouth with its tail,
and many times I percotessi with this tail inside the lips, "derived the
in his book A childhood memory of Leonardo da Vinci, in 1910,
as the fantasy
of a sex act oral
while the kite would androginicamente the mother;
by infantile sexual curiosity of the artist derives his artistic curiosity
never satisfied and complete.
If homosexuality of Leonardo remains probable although not certain, with all
on how this may have influenced his art or not , its irreligion and
skepticism are indisputable,
related to the observations of Vasari, for whom "many were his caprices,
that, philosophizing of natural things,
expected to understand the properties of herbs, continuing et observing the
motion of the sky,
the course of the moon and the trends of the sun.
To which made it a
spiritual concept yes heretic,
which is not approached in any religion, for estimating the adventure much
more to be Christian philosopher. "
Aretino, according to its habit of inventing facts that would make uplifting
the lives of biografati
for which he felt respect and sympathy, writes that "seeing himself near
death, disputing of things Catholic
back in the good way, was reduced to the Christian faith with many tears.
confessed and contrite,
well if you could not stand up, turned devoutly seize the Blessed
forth from 'the bed, "
then dying in the arms of King Francis I.
Angel, detail of the Baptism of Christ, ca 1473Molte his notes show contempt
for the men of the Church:
the priests who say Mass: "Many fien those who, exercising their art,
vestiran you richly,
and this seem to be done according to the custom of 'aprons'  on the
"Much will that leave them exercises and the hardships and poverty of life
and stuff, and they
will live in wealth
buildings and triumphant, showing this to be the means to be a friend of God
on selling the Paradise: "Infinite multitude sell public and peacefully
things of great price,
without license of the owner of those, and that they were never them, nor in
and this will not provide the human justice "or even" The invisible coins
[The promises of eternal life] faran triumph of those many spenders ";
or the convents, "Those who are dead [the saints], after a thousand years,
fien those expenses that will live for many
or ironically rites: "Those who go with white with vestimente arrogant
with metal and fire [the censer with incense] who did not make them any
"[and the devotion of the images:
"They will talk about them men alli men who do not feel; orange eyes open
and do not see;
speak to those and not fie answered them; chiederan who plows through his
ears, and hear not;
faran light to those who are one-eyed. "
Vasari relates of his generosity, his greatness of soul and pride:
"Going to the bench for the provision that every month from Pier Soderini
used to take,
the cashier turned to some bags of money, and he turned them to turn,
answering: "I do not have money to painter" 'the pleasantness of his
conversation and his love
for the animals, "often going places where you could buy birds, gouging out
his hand to the cage,
and pagatogli who sold them the price they had asked, let them fly in the
restoring the lost freedom. "
And his compassion and tenderness towards animals is linked to the news,
that Leonardo was a vegetarian.
But from his writings reflected the image of a man much less sociable than
Vasari wants to impose:
"If you're alone, you will be all yours, and if you will be accompanied by a
you will be through you,
and less so the greater will be the indiscretion of his practice.
will fall more in similar incident 'and elsewhere writes that "savage is
what you save,"
and in many parts of his manuscripts is distrust and pessimism of
His research and his work was in fact carried out preferably in solitude,
as noted by the vivid description of the master at work at the Last Supper
by Matteo Bandello
in his novel LVIII.
It was not usually follow strict rules or habits fixed,
preferring to satisfy the creativity and inspiration
of the moment. His
almost fanatical search for perfection,
with endless tweaks and changes
(as was the Mona Lisa) stem from his belief
unlike music, is here to stay and
not to run out in the individual
"The painting does not die immediately after its creation as does the music,
but long will witness
your ignorance [...] but if you study [...]
let you work that will give you more honor than the
Given the breadth of his interests maximum and unrepeatable event of the
Leonardo, not tied to any city, state or prince,
is the first example of the cosmopolitanism of Italian intellectuals,
unique in Europe, the expression of a rift between culture and people
destined to extend to the present day.
library of Leonardo
Leonardo's library was bequeathed to the faithful that Francesco Melzi,
following the death of his teacher, moved from Amboise to his family villa
in Vaprio d'Adda,
carrying books, manuscripts and instruments shop belonged to Leonardo.
Of this collection spoke to the Anonymous Gaddiano (1537-1542),
Vasari (1568) and John Paul Lomazzo (1590),
who remember how jealously guarded. Vasari also remembered as a painter in
possess some writings of Leonardo "written with the left-handed upside
From the analysis of codes Vincian, it was possible to obtain at least a
part of the texts
possessed by Leonardo for his studies.
In 1504 it declared in one of his writings to have over a hundred books
more than fifty collections of his writings: twenty-five "small" sixteen "biggest"
two "major", you are in "parchment" and one with "coverta suede green."
The library Leonardo was to include:
Leon Battista Alberti, De pictura
Alberto Magno, Commentum in libros phisicorum, Mineralium libri V
Alberto di Sassonia, De proportione velocitatum in motibus
Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia
Jacopo Alighieri, Dottrinale
Al Kindi, Libellum sex quantitatum
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, libro d'architettura
Aristotele, De phisica, De metheoris
Avicenna, Il canone della medicina
Ugo Benzi, Tractato utilissimo circa la conservatione de la sanitate
Guido Bonati, Liber astronomicus
Poggio Bracciolini, Facezie
Cecco d'Ascoli, Acerba
Cleomede, De mundo
Piero de' Crescenzi, Libro dell'agricoltura
Goro Dati, Spera
Paolo dell'Abaco, Recholuzze del maestro Pagolo astrolacho
Diogene Laerzio, Vite dei filosofi
Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono, libro d'architettura
Elio Donato, Ars minor
Euclide, De ponderibus, De levi et ponderoso fragmentum, De prospectiva
Marsilio Ficino, Theologia platonica
Francesco Filelfo, Epistulae
Jacopo Filippo Foresti, Il supplemento delle cronache
Angelo Fosinfronte, De motu locali
Federico Frezzi, Quadriregio del decorso della vita umana
Galeno, Terapeuticorum libri XIV
Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattato di architettura militare e civile
Giuniano Giustino, Epitome delle Storie filippiche di Pompeo Trogo
Guglielmo di Heytesbury, De velocitatis augmentatione
Isidoro di Siviglia, Etymologiae
Cristoforo Landino, Formulario di epistole volgari
Lorenzo Guglielmo di Saona, Rethorica nova
Tito Livio, Deca I, III, IV
John Mandeville, Il cavalier Zuanne de Mandavilla
Mondino de' Luzzi, Anathomia
Giovanni di Mandinilla, Tractato delle più maravigliose cosse e più notabili
Luca Pacioli, De divina proportione
Giovanni Peckham, De prospectiva
Biagio Pelacani, Quaestiones de coelo et mundo, De ponderibus
Francesco Petrarca, Canzoniere
Piero della Francesca, De prospectiva pingendi
Platina, Dell'onesta voluttà
Plinio il Vecchio, Naturalis historia
Luca Pulci, Driadeo
Luigi Pulci, Morgante
Riccardo di Swineshead, De motibus naturalibus
Ermete Trismegisto, De alchimia
Giorgio Valla, De expetendis et fugiendis rebus
Roberto Valturio, De re militari
Witelo, De prospectiva
Lost original by Leonardo
It is not difficult to imagine
the rapid dispersion of the large amount of books,
sheets and notes once owned by Leonardo.
The heirs of Francesco Melzi in fact sold all the assets left to him by his
giving rise to the dispersion of Leonardo.
In the characteristic mirror writing, turning from right to left, that they
can be read easily
only by placing the sheets in front of a mirror, the manuscripts of
Leonardo, data inherited by Francesco Melzi,
They reached after the death of these to the sculptor Pompeo Leoni that,
the trader more easily,
divided them into different groups, changing its original appearance.
Collected largely in the seventeenth century by Count Galeazzo Milanese
were donated to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan from which they were
in 1796 in Paris,
from where he returned to Milan after the fall of Napoleon,
the only Codex
Atlanticus, while others,
to an error of the Distributor Austrian,
remained at the Institut de France.
Other codes had long since ended up in England.
Today there are more than 8,000 sheets of notes (over 16,000 pages)
with many tens of thousands of drawings left by Leonardo, but it is believed
a small part
of what he has written and illustrated. Some think that he wrote 60,000,
perhaps 100,000 pages, now lost.
But maybe something is still there, buried in some ancient archive in 1966,
were found two new
codes in Madrid. It is written pages about "casting", so much so that
experts Leonardo said:
"seem to hear him talk like a tape recorder.
Leonardo's prose is considered among the best of the Italian Renaissance;
devoid of any rhetorical fireworks and sounds, it's all responsive to things
the spoken language, it has color,
robustness, conciseness, in order to give energy and fluency expression.
For Francesco Flora, inventor Leonardo proved also in writing,
so as to appear more modern
than its predecessors so that his contemporaries:
"We will not say more on Boccaccio father of Italian prose [...] as a whole
the prose of
Boccaccio tends to the syntax lyric
[...] Was the prose of the Convivio Dante and of some
treatises, but the great prose, the first prose largest in Italy,
is to be found in the writings of Leonardo: the highest prose of the early
although in completely alien to the humanistic model and freely exemplified
His most important work is the Treatise on Painting, posthumous collection
edited by an anonymous student.
features of Leonardo
Three-dimensional representation of the self-magnification scale of
10:1 -Viareggio 2012Le features of Leonardo is known for an alleged portrait
dating back to around 1515 and preserved in the Royal Library of Turin. The
work, from which
they derive other portraits ideals,
is now part of the collective.
On the features of Leonardo's age young or mature are some identifying
in his works or of other artists,
as the young man standing at the far right of the
Adoration of the Magi,
in Verrocchio's David, or the figure of Plato in the School of Athens by
There are also a variety of sources which, while not describe his physical
in a precise manner, speak of his ways
and celebrate its beauty. For example, the Gaddiano Anonymous wrote:
"[Nature] not only the beauty of the body,
that granted him very well,
he turned to endow it, but many rare virtues
anchora it turned teacher. [...]
It was a beautiful person, proportioned, et gratiata beautiful appearance.
beggar wore a pink short to the knee,
which then s'usavano the vestiri long haveva until
mezo in a beautiful chest
capellaia et ringed et well composed. "
Vasari took the aspect docile and loving of his character:
"He with the splendor of its air, which was beautiful, sad mood calmed each,
and the words turned to each indurata yes no intention et al. He believed
with all his
forces violent fury.
[...] With the donations collected and was tending his every friend, poor
but that he had talent and virtue.
[...] For the great gift that was really Fiorenza in the birth of Leonardo,
and loss rather than infinite in his death. "
The critical success of the
The critical success of the painter was immediate and has never suffered
Already for the Vasari "wanted so much the nature favor, that wherever you
turned the thought,
the brain and the mind,
showed so much divinity in things and in his readiness to perfection,
vagueness and grace no one else was ever the same. " For the Lomazzo
"Leonardo in giving the light shows that habbi always feared not to give too
reserve it for a better spot and he has tried to intense dark, ritrovar them
to the extreme.
Waves with such art has achieved in the faces and bodies,
that has really done wonders,
all you can do nature.
In this part has been superior to all, so that in a word, we may say that
'the light of
Leonardo is divine. "
Not by chance, the historic Arezzo ascribed the start of the "Modern Way"
placing it at the beginning of the third part of the screw.
For Goethe, "Leonardo reveals great primarily as a painter.
Regularly and perfectly formed, it appeared, against the common humanity,
a perfect example of it.
As the clarity and insight of the eye refers more properly to the intellect,
such clarity and intelligence were of the artist. Did not indulge last
impetus of its original and unparalleled talent, slowing momentum every
just wanted every part was considered and rimeditato. "
For the painter Delacroix, Leonardo "arrives without error, without weakness,
without exaggeration, almost a leap, then naturalism judicious and wise,
away also servile imitation and a perfect vacuum and chimerical.
Strange thing! The most methodical of men, who among the masters of his time
methods of execution, which taught them with such precision that the works
of his best students are always
confused with his, this man, whose manner is so typical, not rhetoric.
Always attentive to nature,
consulting it relentlessly, never imitates himself,
the most learned of the
masters is also the most naive,
and none of his followers,
Michelangelo and Raphael, as he deserves such
Hippolyte Taine wrote that "there is perhaps the world an example of genius
unable to be satisfied, greedy of infinity and of course refined, leaning
beyond his own century and the following ones. His figures express a feeling
overflow of ideas and feelings unexpressed. Next to them, the characters of
that athletes are not heroic;
virgins of Raphael are nothing but placid girls, whose soul is not asleep he
Her, feel and think with each stroke of the face and countenance;
it takes some time to establish a dialogue with them, not that the sentiment
they express is too poorly defined;
on the contrary, it comes from the whole aspect, but it is too thin,
too complicated, too far out and beyond the town, impenetrable and
The stillness and the silence they leave guess two or three overlapping
and others, concealed behind the farthest; dimly glimpsed this world
intimate and secret
as a delicate unknown vegetation below the depth of the water is transparent.
For Wölfflin, "is the first artist to systematically studied the proportions
in the bodies of men
and animals and has become aware of the mechanical ratios, in going,
in lifting and carrying objects;
but also the one who discovered the most distant facial characteristics,
meditating on the expression of a coordinated movements of the soul.
The painter is for him the clear eye of the world, dominating all things
The Virgin of Leonardo roccePer Octave Siren "was Florence to the core,
although most sagacious,
more intelligent than its predecessors. Later became interested in the
problems of painting
she was studying scientific ones, which results in the presence in his art,
and traits unknown to his contemporaries. The transition from fine detail,
the gradations of light and shade, the fullness of sfumato, summarizes a
general trend in Renaissance painting;
but what about Leonardo did not put into effect until two or three
he became mature in the space of twenty or thirty years. "
Emilio Cecchi "he originated a painting unsurpassed intensity,
where the rough chiaroscuro
and luminosity of Masaccio is ingeniously
deduced in a number of plastic expression,
if once again we must recall the memory of Greece,
you can not compare that to the
mysterious and sublime grace of the
sculpture of Praxiteles »
André Chastel, having made their insecurity and ambiguity of human life,
"the meaning of an ambiguous position between the man and the exquisite
between what is certain and what is illusory,
Leonardo was more pronounced in the years:
there is in his painting a
parallel development of chiaroscuro.
The principle of it was primarily the interest of contrast that enhances the
opposite terms [...]
he is so pleased with the sweet lights to slide imperceptibly into the
thus overcoming the conflict between design and molded [...] By declaring
that, as Giotto and Masaccio,
should only be children of nature, he means to say that all the problems
painting, in all grades,
must be rethought entirely. The gradient resolves the difficulties
drawing and get
the unity of the forms within the space enveloping atmosphere. "
For Argan Finally, in Leonardo "everything is immanence. The experience of
must be direct,
not affected by any a priori certainty: not the authority of dogma and
not the logic of philosophical systems, not the perfection of the ancients.
But the reality is immense,
we can take it only in special phenomena [...] and the
phenomenon is when,
manifests the totality of reality. " If the art of Michelangelo dominates
the moral sentiment,
for which by nature must redeem our spiritual existence
with which we are
linked to God,
Leonardo predominates in the feeling of nature,
"that for which we feel the
pulsating rhythm of our lives
in unison with that of the cosmos. "
List of works
There is no certainty on the extent of all the paintings of Leonardo.
About fifteen of them the assignment is nearly universal, while others have
(especially the early works of Leonardo in the period in which he
worked "to shop" by Verrocchio).
Other, until now attributed to other artists, recently scholars argue for
the attribution to the master.
Dreyfus Madonna (Madonna of the Pomegranate)
, 1469-1470, oil on panel, 15.7 x12, 8 cm, Washington,
National Gallery of Art (attributed to Lorenzo di Credi work or
Tobias and the Angel, about 1470-1475, tempera on wood, 84x66 cm, National
(By Andrea del Verrocchio, with some parts attributed to Leonardo)
Annunciation, about 1472-1475, tempera and oil on wood, 98x217 cm, Uffizi,
Landscape with River, 1473, drawing on paper, 19x28, 5 cm, Florence,
of Drawings and Prints
Madonna of the Carnation, about 1473, oil on wood, 62x47, 5 cm,
Monaco Munich, Alte Pinakothek
(Assignment recently, but "historically" given by Verrocchio)
Study of hands, 1474, silver tip and white heightening on prepared paper in
shades of pink,
21.4 x15 cm,
Windsor, Royal Library
Portrait of Ginevra de 'Benci, 1474, oil and tempera on panel, 38.8 x36, 7
Washington, National Gallery of Art
Profile of Captain ancient, 1475, silverpoint on prepared paper, 28.5 x20, 7
London, British Museum
Baptism of Christ, 1475-1478, oil and tempera on wood, 177x151 cm, Uffizi,
(Collaboration with Verrocchio and others)
Annunciation, about 1475-1478, tempera on wood, 16x60 cm, Louvre, Paris
(Allocation contention with Lorenzo di Credi)
Body of Bernardo Baroncelli, hanged, 1478, drawing, Bayonne, Musee Bonnat
Madonna Benois, 1478-1482, oil on panel transferred to canvas, 48x31 cm,
St. Jerome, 1480, oil on canvas, 103x75 cm, Vatican City, Vatican Pinacoteca
University of defense equipment, 1480, drawing, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Studies of hydraulic tools, 1480, drawing, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Study of flowers, 1480-1481, design, Venice, Accademia Gallery
Sketch for the Madonna del Gatto, 1480-1481, design, London, British Museum
Prospective study for the Adoration of the Magi, about 1481, drawing,
Florence, Cabinet of Drawings and Prints
Study for the Adoration of the Magi, about 1481, drawing, Paris, Cabinet des
Adoration of the Magi, 1481-1482, oil on canvas, 246x243 cm, Uffizi,
Equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, 1482-1493, unfinished
that there was a huge model of the terracotta horse, already in Milan, Old
Presumed study for the angel of the Virgin of the Rocks, 1483-1485, drawing,
Studies for the Virgin of the Rocks, 1483, drawing, Venice, Accademia
Virgin of the Rocks, 1483-1486, oil on panel transferred to canvas, 199x122
Portrait of a Musician, about 1485, oil on panel, 44.7 x32 cm, Milan,
Study for the monument to Francesco Sforza, about 1485, drawing, Windsor
Aerial screw, about 1487, drawing, Paris,
Bibliothèque de l'Institut de
Project to cover for cruising the Cathedral of Milan, 1487-1488, design,
Studio for war machine (Carri scythes), 1487-1490, drawing,
Lady with an Ermine, about 1488-1490, oil on panel, 54.8 x40, 3 cm,
Idea for the figure of St. Peter at the Last Supper, about 1488-1490,
Albertina Graphic Arts Collection
Study for the Last Supper, about 1488-1490, design, Venice,
Study for the Last Supper, about 1488-1490, Paris, Cabinet des Dessins
Section of skull, 1489, drawing, Windsor Castle,
Vitruvian Man, 1490, pencil and ink on paper, 34x24 cm, Venice,
Study of the front legs of a horse, 1490, drawing, Turin,
Geometric figures and botanical drawing, 1490, drawing, Paris,
de l'Institut de France
Essays light through a small opening angle, 1490-1491, drawing, Paris,
Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France
Belle Ferronnière, about 1490-1495, oil on canvas, 63x45 cm,
Project for the reinforcement of fusion of the head of the horse, about
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional
Emblem of Sforza, 1492-1494, drawing, Paris,
Bibliothèque de l'Institut de
Virgin of the Rocks, 1494-1508, oil on canvas, 189.5 x 120 cm,
Head of Christ, 1494, chalk and pastel on paper, 40x32 cm, Milan,
Hair ribbons objects to mask, 1494, design, London,
Victoria and Albert
Studio head virile, 1494 or 1499, drawing, Turin,
Project for a device, about 1494-1496, design,
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional
Last Supper, 1494-1498, oil on wall, 460x880 cm, Milan, refectory of Santa
Maria delle Grazie
Portrait of a Sforza, about 1495, chalk and ink on parchment, 33x23 cm,
, Private collection
Sketch of three figures in profile, about 1495, drawing, Florence,
of Drawings and Prints
Old and young dealt with, about 1495, drawing, Milan,
Portraits of the Dukes of Milan with her children, 1497, tempera and oil on
90 cm of each base,
Milan, refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie
Sketch of lady's handbag, 1497, drawing, Milan,
With fruit and vegetable plots monochromes of roots and rocks, about 1498,
tempera on plaster
(Whipping in the modern age), Milan,
Castello Sforzesco, Sala delle Asse
Period wandering Study for the Portrait of Isabella d'Este, around 1499,
Cabinet of Drawings and Prints
Portrait of Isabella d'Este, 1500, 63x46 cm, red chalk and pastel on paper,
Madonna dei Fusi, about 1501, oil on panel transferred to canvas and glued
50.2 x36, 4 cm,
New York, private collection
Madonna dei Fusi, about 1501, oil on panel, 48.3 x36, 9 cm, Edinburgh,
deposit of the Duke of Buccleuch at the
National Gallery of Scotland
Study for the Virgin and St. Anne, about 1501, design, Venice,
Study for the Virgin and St. Anne, about 1501, drawing, Paris,
Carton of St. Anne, about 1501-1505, black chalk, white lead and smudge
paper, 141.5 x 104, 6,
London, National Gallery
Bastion star indicating the embrasures facing a circular shaft, 1502-1503,
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Polygonal fortress, about 1502-1503, design, Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Mona Lisa, 1503-1514, oil on canvas, 77X53 cm,
Study of proportions for the Battle of Anghiari: infantry and cavalry,
Venice, Accademia Gallery
Study of the head of a warrior for the Battle of Anghiari, 1504, drawing,
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts
Battle of Anghiari, 1505, mural painting, Florence, Palazzo Vecchio,
dei Cinquecento, lost
Head of Leda, about 1505-1510, red chalk on prepared paper red, 20x15, 7 cm,
Leda and the Swan, about 1505-1510 (lost it several copies of it were made
by other artists)
Cranberry, 1506, drawing, Windsor Castle, Royal Library
Study for the monument to Marshal Trivulzio, 1507, drawing, Windsor Castle,
Disheveled, 1508, amber and green with white lead on wood, 24.7 x 21 cm,
Observer looking through a model vitreous of the human eye, 1508-1509,
Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France
St. John the Baptist, 1508-1513, oil on canvas, 69x57 cm,
Saint Anne, the Virgin and Child with lamb, 1510-1513, oil on canvas,
Bacchus, 1510-1515, oil on panel transferred to canvas, 177x115 cm,
Caustic reflection, 1510-1515, design, London,
Channel to navigate between the lake of Lecco and the Lambro, 1513, drawing,
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Study of geometry, 1513, drawing, Milan,
Studies Civitavecchia, about 1514, drawing, Milan,
Study of three dancing figures, around 1515, drawing, Venice, Accademia
Self-portrait, 1515 or so, sanguine on paper, 33.5 x21, 3 cm,
Other designs of uncertain date drawing of Madonna, Paris,
Head of a child, Paris,
Cabinet des Dessins
Young man, Paris, Cabinet des Dessins
Head of a Woman, Florence, Cabinet of Drawings and Prints
Study of the Madonna and Child, Florence, Cabinet of Drawings and Prints
Head of Madonna, Windsor Castle,
Caricature, Venice, Accademia Gallery
Head of an old, Venice, Accademia Gallery
Copies of lost originals by Leonardo Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Madonna
tempera on wood, 42x33 cm, St. Petersburg, Hermitage
Francesco Melzi?, Leda and the Swan, about 1505-1508, oil and resin on wood,
130x77, 5 cm, Florence, Uffizi Gallery
Cesare da Sesto, Leda and the Swan, about 1515-1520, tempera on panel, 112 ×
Galleria Borghese, Rome
Pieter Paul Rubens, Battle of Anghiari, design, Paris, Louvre
Leonardo has always been a character
shrouded in mystery,
both because of his unique personality, to the incredible versatility of his
that arouse curiosity today.
Not lacking in his character some sides 'dark', that can lead to uncertainty
as the methods by which he could
to carry out investigations anatomical or his approach to the material and
immanent, almost agnostic,
so forerunner of time.
To this must be added the cryptic writing from right to left and the habit,
to invent code phrases, anagrams and puzzles.
These and other factors have created a huge reservoir from which to draw to
reread his human,
as well as artistic and intellectual, according to new interpretations,
sometimes real misrepresentation or exploitation that have little to do with
the true meaning
of his complex personality.
The most striking case is emblematic and certainly in the novel
The Da Vinci
Code by Dan Brown,
with its resounding success in publishing and media
around the world.
In it, including puzzles, murder and a dense web of history, esotericism,
art and theology,
tells of a shocking secret to Christianity handed down over the centuries by
a sort of
the Priory of Sion, but kept hidden by the ecclesiastical hierarchy and,
in recent times, by Opus Dei.
The secret concerns the human nature of Christ, his marriage to Mary
(Symbolized by the Holy Grail itself) and the existence of their offspring.
Between historical events actually occurred and other pure fantasy, it is
the office of Grand Master of the Priory, hiding in some of his works,
through innuendo and coded messages,
a number of references to his active participation and secret.
Among the various works chosen by Dan Brown are the Mona Lisa and the Last
the first conceals a self-portrait of the artist dressed as women, the
second would be a representation
the "secret", with John, who would be identified as Mary Magdalene.
Despite the endless controversy generated by the book, the questionable
reconstructions and documentary
and the naive errors iconographic curiosity and almost
generated on almost everything
regarding Leonardo had after all the merit of bringing into the spotlight
the genius of Vinci,
with exhibitions, conferences, surveys and documentaries passed on all the
Leonardo and the Shroud of Turin
According to some scholars
Leonardo would be the author of the Holy Shroud.
Victory for Haziel, was drawn using a red-hot iron on an old canvas,
with a self-portrait
for the face.
The technique, according to the Haziel, reminiscent of Leonardo's sfumato.
The Haziel also published in 1998 a book about it, The Passion According to
Even an American artist Lillian Schwartz says that the Shroud is a
self-portrait of Leonardo.
Schwartz used the computer-generated images to support the similarity of the
self-portrait of Leonardo.
The Schwartz is the painter who claimed to be in the eighties even the Mona
self-portrait of Leonardo.
However, according to John Jackson, director of a research center on the
Holy Shroud in the
the hypothesis of false Leonardo unfounded: he argues that there is a
dating from the mid-fourteenth century and preserved in the
Museum of Cluny,
so the first news about the Shroud of about 100 years precede the birth of