Born in Vinci, Florence in 1452, Leonardo was truly a Renaissance man. His passion for art and science extended to painting, sculpting, architecture, anatomy, and more—it would be difficult to list subjects he wasn’t interested in! Out of his many works, both finished and unfinished, the most famous include his enigmatic portrait the Mona Lisa, and his notebooks of over 13,000 pages where he envisioned modern inventions both marvelous and mundane that included both flying machines and mechanical calculators.
Leonardo was educated by the painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio. He would spend most of his life moving between the academically stimulating environment of Milan and the more libertine Florence, often while part of a noble court.
So great was his fame that his admirers and imitators had their own name—the Leonardeschi—and the French king Francis, I invited him to spend his last years in the country. More than 500 years later, Leonardo’s life and work still fascinates both the public and historians alike.