Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal.
Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the "Universal Genius" or "Renaissance Man", an individual of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent in recorded history, and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, while the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci notes that while there is much speculation regarding his life and personality, his view of the world was logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unorthodox for his time.

By 1472, at the age of twenty, Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of Saint Luke, the guild of artists and doctors of medicine,[nb 5] but even after his father set him up in his own workshop, his attachment to Verrocchio was such that he continued to collaborate with him. Leonardo's earliest known dated work is a drawing in pen and ink of the Arno valley, drawn on 5 August 1473.
Born :15 April 1452 (Vinci, Republic of Florence (present-day Italy))
Died:2 May 1519 (aged 67)Amboise, Kingdom of France
Known for:Polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer

Born out of wedlock 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, their fame approached only by "Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam". Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings have survived.Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.
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, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.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, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. A number of Leonardo's most practical inventions are nowadays displayed as working models at the Museum of Vinci. He made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.Today, Leonardo is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived.
->Life<-
Childhood, 1452–1466
Leonardo was born on 15 April 1452 (Old Style) "at the third hour of the night" in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci, in the lower valley of the Arno river in the territory of the Medici-ruled Republic of Florence.He was the out-of-wedlock son of the wealthy Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine legal notary, and Caterina, a peasant.Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense – "da Vinci" simply meaning "of Vinci"; his full birth name was "Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, (son) of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci".The inclusion of the title "ser" indicated that Leonardo's father was a gentleman.
Little is known about Leonardo's early life. He spent his first five years in the hamlet of Anchiano in the home of his mother, and from 1457 lived in the household of his father, grandparents and uncle, Francesco, in the small town of Vinci. His father had married a sixteen-year-old girl named Albiera Amadori, who loved Leonardo but died young[14] in 1465 without children. When Leonardo was sixteen (1468), his father married again to twenty-year-old Francesca Lanfredini, who also died without children. Piero's legitimate heirs were born from his third wife Margherita di Guglielmo (who gave birth to six children:Antonio, Giulian, Maddalena, Lorenzo, Violante and Domenico) and his fourth and final wife, Lucrezia Cortigiani (who bore him another six children:Margherita, Benedetto, Pandolfo, Guglielmo, Bartolomeo and Giovanni).
In all Leonardo had twelve half-siblings, who were much younger than him (the last was born when Leonardo was forty years old) and with whom he had very few contacts, but they caused him difficulty after his father's death in the dispute over the inheritance.
Leonardo received an informal education in Latin, geometry and mathematics. In later life, Leonardo recorded only two childhood incidents. One, which he regarded as an omen, was when a kite dropped from the sky and hovered over his cradle, its tail feathers brushing his face. The second occurred while he was exploring in the mountains: he discovered a cave and was both terrified that some great monster might lurk there and driven by curiosity to find out what was inside.
Leonardo's early life has been the subject of historical conjecture. Vasari, the 16th-century biographer of Renaissance painters, tells of how a local peasant made himself a round shield and requested that Ser Piero have it painted for him. Leonardo responded with a painting of a monster spitting fire that was so terrifying that Ser Piero sold it to a Florentine art dealer, who sold it to the Duke of Milan. Meanwhile, having made a profit, Ser Piero bought a shield decorated with a heart pierced by an arrow, which he gave to the peasant.
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Among the works created by Leonardo in the 16th century is the small portrait known as the Mona Lisa or "la Gioconda", the laughing one. In the present era it is arguably the most famous painting in the world. Its fame rests, in particular, on the elusive smile on the woman's face, its mysterious quality perhaps due to the subtly shadowed corners of the mouth and eyes such that the exact nature of the smile cannot be determined. The shadowy quality for which the work is renowned came to be called "sfumato", or Leonardo's smoke. Vasari, who is generally thought to have known the painting only by repute, said that "the smile was so pleasing that it seemed divine rather than human; and those who saw it were amazed to find that it was as alive as the original".
Other characteristics of the painting are the unadorned dress, in which the eyes and hands have no competition from other details, the dramatic landscape background in which the world seems to be in a state of flux, the subdued colouring, and the extremely smooth nature of the painterly technique, employing oils laid on much like tempera and blended on the surface so that the brushstrokes are indistinguishable. Vasari expressed the opinion that the manner of painting would make even "the most confident master ... despair and lose heart."The perfect state of preservation and the fact that there is no sign of repair or overpainting is rare in a panel painting of this date.

In the painting Virgin and Child with St. Anne the composition again picks up the theme of figures in a landscape, which Wasserman describes as"breathtakingly beautiful"and harkens back to the St Jerome picture with the figure set at an oblique angle. What makes this painting unusual is that there are two obliquely set figures superimposed. Mary is seated on the knee of her mother, St Anne. She leans forward to restrain the Christ Child as he plays roughly with a lamb, the sign of his own impending sacrifice.This painting, which was copied many times, influenced Michelangelo, Raphael, and Andrea del Sarto,and through them Pontormo and Correggio. The trends in composition were adopted in particular by the Venetian painters Tintoretto and Veronese.