If the Monalisa and The Last Supper are the only two things you associate with Leonardo DaVinci, think again. For the famous painter was a genius par excellence and although he only received elementary education of his time, his ceaseless imagination and mind power made him an integral part of human history. It is very well known that he was born on April 15, 1452, in the Republic of Florence (Italy) and died May 2, 1519, in Cloux (now Clos-Lucé, France) and his biography has been written and discussed many times the world over. These lesser-known but very interesting Leonardo Da Vinci facts will leave you spellbound and astonished at the same time.
So Let’s Start With Some Amazing Leonardo Da Vinci Facts
- His parents were not married at the time of his birth and he was brought up at his father’s estate in Florence.
- At 15 he apprenticed with an artist named Andrea Del Verrocchio in Florence who trained Leonardo in painting, sculpture and technical-mechanical arts.
- At the same time, he trained under the artist next door as an engraver and goldsmith too.
- He received only an elementary education and later picked up working knowledge of Latin on his own. He started studying advance geometry and arithmetic only at the age of 30.
- The most famous Renaissance artist is only known for about 20 paintings including the famous ones and many of them are incomplete and some have only survived in copies.
- He spent notable 17 years in Milan as a painter where he mostly worked at the altar creating wall and ceiling paintings. What is really noteworthy yet little known is the fact that Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the royal family of Milan to sculpt a colossal equestrian statue in bronze. In 1493 a clay model was displayed at a prominent royal wedding, but there being the danger of an imminent war, all the metal required was used to make cannons instead. The war laid the clay model to waste thus wasting 12 years of hard work by DaVinci.
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- He produced plays for the theatre and included brilliant special effects to mesmerize the audience.
- He liked to be known as an architect and an engineer. He drew designs of buildings, bridges and even whole cities. As a military engineer, he researched and perfected sketches of weapons, thanks and submarines.
- He had a lot of personal quirks and could be described as gender fluid as his long beard was always well kept and he wore satins and velvets in soft pastel shades. He likes lavender perfumes and was openly gay in an era when sodomy was criminalized. He was vegetarian. He was left-handed which may be why he wrote right to left.
- The first modern patent law was developed in the Republic of Venice in 1474 when Da Vinci was 22.his preference for noting his observations and ideas in various notebooks was the reason why he never obtained any patents even though he was first to design a flying machine and a crude version of the modern-day tank.
- His eccentricity and out of the box thinking was the reason behind hundreds of his quotes which survived through his notebooks. Just to mention a few –
- Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation… even so, does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
- While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.
- I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
- Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.
- Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.
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Most of his friends and contemporaries considered him a man far ahead of his times. His quest for knowledge was insatiable. These are only some of the lesser-known Leonardo Da Vinci facts and more books can be written about various aspects of his personal and professional lives separately.