Today on April 15th 1452, Leonardo da Vinci, the Father of the Italian Renaissance, is born in Tuscany.
Leonardo da Vinci, commonly referred to as a Renaissance man, was born and raised in the Tuscan hilltop town of Vinci. Leonardo was born out of wedlock and therefore had no surname in the modern sense. Da Vinci simply means “of Vinci” referring to the city of his birth. Little detail was ever recorded of his childhood and has since become the subject of great debate. Da Vinci was homeschooled by his mother and never received a formal education in Greek or Latin. However, that didn’t stop him from developing one of the greatest minds in history. Modern scholars have dubbed Leonardo as a “universal genius” with achievements spanning many disciplines.
Da Vinci is largely remembered for being one of the greatest painters of all time with the Mona Lisa being his most famous work. His painting of The Last Supper has also become the most widely reproduced religious artwork in the world. In 2017, his painting of Jesus Christ called Salvator Mundi sold for a staggering $450 million at auction in New York. The Italian polymath also had a passion for architecture, sculpting, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, astronomy, history and cartography. His drawing of the Vitruvian Man depicts the exact proportions of the human body and has become a modern-day cultural icon. Through a lifetime of unquenchable curiosity and imagination he gave birth to several modern-day inventions such as the bicycle, helicopter, parachute and tank.
The true genius of da Vinci was his fusion of art and science. He was known for meticulously dissecting human bodies to better inform his sculptures and paintings. After his death in 1519, he left behind thousands of journal pages filled with personal musings, doodles, grocery lists and sexual jokes. In fact, Bill Gates purchased one of his 72-page journals for $30.8 million. In these books, he carefully chronicled his various sources of inspiration, his lasting desire for fame and his many deeply felt heartaches.