Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was a renaissance painter, sculptor, scientist and inventor. Leonardo is one of the great figures of human kind. He is extremely well known at all levels of society and in all parts of the world. He has been called a ‘universal genius’, an attribute which has only been granted to a chosen few in world history and is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived. Born to a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, in Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter Andrea del Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, and he spent his last years in France at the home awarded to him by Francis I of France. Leonardo was, and is, renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time.Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. One such work is the equestrian portrait of the French Governor of Milan, Leonardo’s friend and patron, Charles d’Amboise, entitled, Horse and rider.
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