Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci
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Marking 500 years since his death, this special edition explores the career of history’s most famous polymath. Inside you will: • Follow Leonardo’s journey across Renaissance Europe • Meet the patrons and fellow artists who shaped his life • Discover the real story behind the Mona Lisa • Explore his remarkable studies on anatomy • Learn about Leonardo’s fantastical flying machines • Uncover the secrets of his notebooks

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
9,96 €(IVA inc.)

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1 min.

Five centuries after his death, Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy lives on in creations such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper – two of the most recognisable works of art in existence. As well as being a talented painter, however, Leonardo was also a skilled scientist and engineer with an incredible range of interests. For this collector’s edition of BBC History Magazine, we have worked with some of the world’s leading Leonardo experts to bring you the story of the man’s life and career, beginning with his apprenticeship in Florence in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, right through to his final years in France as a respected figure in the court of King Francis I. Throughout this collector’s edition, you’ll be able to enjoy a varied selection of Leonardo’s paintings…

6 min.

1452 A modest birth Leonardo is born at about 10.30pm on Saturday 15 April 1452. Despite being illegitimate, his paternal grandfather carefully records the event in a family notebook. Leonardo’s mother, Caterina, a poor peasant, is only 15 years old. His father, Ser Piero da Vinci (simply meaning ‘Ser Piero from Vinci’), is a notary – a lawyer who draws up contracts – an important profession at a time when most people are illiterate. Not long after Leonardo’s birth, Caterina marries a farmer; Ser Piero’s family probably provide her with a dowry, allowing her to gain a degree of respectability. 1472 The young artist turns pro Leonardo is registered as a member of Florence’s painters’ confraternity, the professional association artists had to join in order to work in the city. Now 20 years old, he has…

15 min.
leonardo’s rise to success turning points in a long career

LEONARDO… THE APPRENTICE Leonardo moves to Florence – and an artist’s workshop Around 1464, the young Leonardo went to Florence to live with his father. Although he did not have the full advantages of those born in wedlock, his illegitimacy was not a serious hindrance. While the church stridently condemned sex outside marriage, the realities of life, love and lust meant that many children were the result of such unions. Leonardo was welcomed into his father’s home, and Ser Piero provided for him just as he did for his legitimate off-spring. The boy would have received a basic education, being taught to read, write and do sums. At 12 years old, Leonardo reached the age when boys of his status started to learn a profession, but due to his illegitimacy he could not…

14 min.
europe reborn

Leonardo was born into a time and place of intense and exciting artistic endeavour, when some of the greatest artworks of the western world – in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature – were created. It’s a period of European history that we know as the Renaissance, spanning the period from 1300 to 1600. From the French word for ‘rebirth’, it points to the idea of a revival of ancient art and culture somehow lost in an intervening so-called Dark Age. Nowadays historians point more often to continuities, and prefer to think of the Renaissance as an intellectual and artistic movement (primarily an elite one) rather than a time-span. In the 16th century, however, the idea of the Renaissance was summed up by Italian painter and writer Giorgio Vasari (1511–74), considered the…

2 min.
a window onto the world

While the Renaissance of the 14th to 16th centuries was primarily a European phenomenon, it had important links to the wider world. Italy’s location in the Mediterranean placed it at the crossroads of trade between northern Europe, Africa and the Silk Roads leading east to China, and from 1492 there was increasing interest in commodities from the ‘New World’ too. The city states of Venice and Genoa facilitated this trade via colonies and trading posts in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. Venice, for example, controlled the islands of Cyprus and Crete, and had a colony in the port city of Acre in what is now Israel, near the modern border with Lebanon. There were many other outposts dotted around the Peloponnese, and all manner of goods passed through them, including…

11 min.
leonardo’s italy

When Leonardo was born in 1452 in the small town of Vinci, west of Florence, it was into a world that was about to see dramatic change. Leonardo’s lifetime saw the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, the first European contact with the New World, and the fall of the Mamluk empire in Egypt. Leonardo’s Italy, politically, at least, looked very different to the one we know today. This was not a single country, but a peninsula divided into five large states and many more small ones. Leonardo’s home was in the city state of Florence, one of Italy’s larger powers; the others were Venice, Milan, the kingdom of Naples and the conglomerate of Papal states in the middle of the country. Smaller states such as Ferrara, Mantua…