15 April 1452: Birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, and architect (d. 1519) (Source)

Leonardo da Vinci in circa 1515–1517 – painting by Francesco Melzo (Source)

Leonardo da Vinci[b] (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, sculptor, architect, draughtsman, theorist, engineer and scientist.[3] While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology. Leonardo’s genius epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal,[4] and his collective works compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivaled only by that of his younger contemporary, and fellow Florentine, Michelangelo.[3][4]

Born out of wedlock to a successful notary and a lower-class woman in Vinci, he was educated by the renowned Italian painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio. He began his career in Florence, and then spent much time in the service of Ludovico Sforza in Milan. Later, he worked in Florence and Milan again, as well as briefly in Rome, all while attracting a large following of imitators and students. Upon the invitation of Francis I, he spent his last three years in France, where he died in 1519. Since his death, there has not been a time where his achievements, diverse interests, personal life, and empirical thinking have failed to incite interest and admiration,[3][4] making him a frequent namesake and subject in culture.

Leonardo is among the greatest painters in the history of art. Despite having many lost works and less than 25 attributed major works—including numerous unfinished works—he created some of the most influential paintings in Western art.[3] His magnum opus, the Mona Lisa, is his best known work and often regarded as the world’s most famous painting. The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time and his Vitruvian Man drawing is also regarded as a cultural icon. In 2017, Salvator Mundi, attributed in whole or part to Leonardo,[5] was sold at auction for US$450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

Revered for his technological ingenuity, he conceptualized flying machines, a type of armored fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine,[6] 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. Some of his smaller inventions, however, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. He is also sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter, and tank.[7][8] He made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics, tribology, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had little to no direct influence on subsequent science.[9] (Source)

 

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