Leonardo da Vinci was born in Anchiano - near Florence - on April 15, 1452, the illegitimate son of the notary ser Pier, of Vinci, and of Caterina, a woman of humble origins.
At the age of seventeen he moved to Florence with his father, becoming an apprentice in the workshop of the famous painter Andrea del Verrocchio and shortly after he enrolled in the Company of Painters. His anatomical inclination brought him closer to the work of the Pollaiolo brothers, who carried out the practice of dissecting bodies in order to better understand their anatomy.
Between 1482 and 1483 he moved to Milan, to the court of Ludovico il Moro where he carried out numerous duties: he set up party apparatuses, became an engineer and urban planner, built war devices and carried out an intense artistic and pictorial activity, while continuing his studies. in the fields of physics and natural sciences. During these years, he created various artistic works such as: the Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre Museum, Paris), the Last Supper (refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan) and the Lady with an Ermine (Czartoryski Museum, Krakow ). On 16 March 1500 Ludovico il Moro was defeated and Leonardo was forced to leave the Lombard capital moving towards Venice, with an intermediate stop in Mantua at the court of Isabella d'Este.
The Serenissima called Da Vinci to the lagoon city as a military engineer at a time when Venice was threatened by the Turks. The Venetians sent it to the banks of the Isonzo to study a system of fortifications capable of stopping the Ottoman advance. Leonardo, after various studies and drawings, conceived of creating a system of mobile dams to regulate the river levels, a sort of anticipation of the current MOSE, to be installed on the confluence point between the Isonzo and the Vipava, capable of causing floods on the enemy garrisons on the mainland. In the city of the Doges he left some of his innovative studies on caricatures and grotesque faces, the influence of which is clearly evident in some works by Giorgione and Albrecht Dürer, and the drawing of the Vitruvian Man - today preserved in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice - depicting the ideal proportions of the human body according to the anthropometric canons of the Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio of the 1st century BC
Leaving Venice, he was commissioned by the king of France Louis XII and by the duke Cesare Borgia known as Valentino, taking him to travel to Urbino, Rimini, Cesena, Pesaro, Cesenatico and other cities in the Marche and Romagna where he studied ports. , problems of plumbing, fortifications.
Back in Florence, Leonardo, at the request of Piero Soderini, began to study the flight of birds and the laws of hydrology, of the motion of water and invented some of the most interesting machines for flight. In these years he painted the Battle of Anghiari canvas for Palazzo Vecchio but, dissatisfied, he abandoned the work which was later lost. It is also assumed that he also painted the Mona Lisa during his stay in Florence, one of the most popular paintings in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
In 1505 he returned again to Milan in the service of the French lieutenant Carlo d'Amboise, for whom he designed a palace and a chapel (Santa Maria alla Fontana); he started his studies for the construction of the equestrian monument in Trivulzio and strengthened his training on river navigation, botany and anatomical research together with Marcantonio della Torre.
The return of the Sforza family in 1512 forced him to leave Milan again and he was hosted in Vaprio by his trusted friend Francesco Melzi. The following year, Giuliano de 'Medici hired him in Rome where, however, he was excluded from the great works of the time - St. Peter's and the decoration of the Vatican - and was hindered in his anatomical research.
During the Roman experience, as Medici wrote me creorno and dextrussian in his notes, he continued to cultivate relations with France and in 1517 he took refuge in the castle of Cloux near Amboise hosted by Francis I, who assured him of residence and a pension. annua as premier peintre, architecte et mechanicien du roi.
He lived in Amboise until the end of his days: he died on May 2, 1519.