Maximilian Sforza after Swiss mercenaries drove out the French.
There he met Francesco Melzi, who would become a close friend and
companion until Leonardo's death, and later his heir.
he lived in
where painters like
Michelangelo were active at the time; he did not have much contact
with these artists, however.
Francis I of France retook Milan, and Leonardo was commissioned to
make a centrepiece (of a mechanical lion) for the peace talks in
Bologna between the French king and
Pope Leo X, where he must have first met the king. In
he entered Francis' service, being given the use of the manor house
Royal Chateau at Amboise, and receiving a generous pension. The king
became a close friend.
He died in Cloux,
France in 1519. According to his wish, 60 beggars followed his
casket. He was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the castle of
Leonardo appears to never have had intimate relations with women. In
he was anonymously accused of
homos--ual contact with a 17-year-old model, Jacopo Saltarelli, a
notorious prostitute. He was, together with three other young men,
charged with homos--ual conduct and acquitted because of lack of
evidence. For a time Leonardo and the others were under the watchful eye
of Florence's "Officers of the Night" - a kind of Renaissance vice
Leonardo da Vinci:
The Last Supper (1498)
|Leonardo da Vinci:
Mona Lisa (1503-6)
Leonardo is well known for his masterful paintings, such as
Last Supper (Ultima Cena or Cenacolo, in Milan),
painted in 1498, and
Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda, now at the
Louvre in Paris), painted in 1503-1506. Only seventeen of his
paintings, and none of his statues, survive.
Leonardo often planned grand paintings with many drawings and
sketches, only to leave the projects unfinished in the end.
1481 he was commissioned to paint the altarpiece "The Adoration of
the Magi". After grand plans and many drawings, the painting was left
unfinished and Leonardo left for
There he spent many years making plans and models for a monumental 7
metre (24 feet) high horse statue in bronze ("Gran Cavallo"), to be
erected in Milan. Because of war with France, the project was never
finished. Based on private initiative, a similar statue was completed
according to some of his plans in
New York, given to Milan and erected there.
Back in Florence, he was commissioned for a large public mural
Battle of Anghiari; his rival
Michelangelo was to paint the opposite wall. After producing a
fantastic variety of studies preparing for the work, he left town, the
mural unfinished because of technical difficulties.
Maybe even more impressive than his artistic work are his studies in
science and engineering, recorded in notebooks comprising some 13,000
pages of notes and drawings which combine art and science. He was
left-handed and used
mirror writing throughout his life.
His approach to science was an observatory one: he tried to
understand a phenomenon by describing and depicting it in utmost detail
and did not emphasize experiments or theoretical explanations.
Throughout his life, he planned a grand encyclopedia based on detailed
drawings of everything. Since he lacked formal education in
mathematics, Leonardo the scientist was mostly ignored by
He was always fascinated by the topic of flight, producing detailed
studies of the flight of
and plans for several flying machines, including a
helicopter powered by four men (which would not have worked since it
would have rotated) and a light hang-glider which could have flown. On
he unsuccessfully tested a flying machine he had constructed.
He participated in autopsies and produced many extremely detailed
anatomical drawings, planning a comprehensive work of human and
|Vitruvian man: Leonardo da Vinci
draws the human body
1502 Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single span 720-foot
(240 m) bridge as part of a civil engineering project for Sultan
Beyazid II of
Constantinople. The bridge was intended to span an inlet at the
mouth of the
Bosphorus known as the
Golden Horn. It was never built, but Da Vinci's vision was
when a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in
His notebook also contain several inventions in the military field:
machine guns, an armored
powered by humans or horses,
cluster bombs, etc. even though he later held war to be the worst of
human activities. Other inventions include a
submarine, a cog-wheeled device that has been interpreted as the
calculator, and a
car powered by a spring mechanism. In his years in the Vatican, he
planned an industrial use of
solar power, by employing concave mirrors to heat water.
astronomy, Leonardo believed that the
Moon revolve around the
Earth and that the Moon reflect the sun light because its being
covered by water.
Leonardo did not publish or otherwise distribute the contents of his
notebooks. They remained obscure until the
19th century, and were not directly of value to the development of
science and technology until that time. On this basis,
L. Sprague de Camp, in his book, The Ancient Engineers,
considered Leonardo not the first modern engineer, but "the last of the
ancient ones", pointing out that after Leonardo's time the practice of
disseminating and publishing scientific discoveries began in earnest.
1994, one of da Vinci's notebooks was purchased by American
Bill Gates for US$25 million. A lot of his drawings are now owned by
the British Royal family.