Artist - Vinci (Firenze) 15/04/1452 - Amboise 02/05/1519
On April 15th, 1452, a man destined to change the world was born in a small village called Vinci, near Florence: Leonardo Da Vinci.
His genius was evident from a very young age as he taught himself to write, read, study, draw and design, driven only by his insatiable curiosity for the world around him. Maestro Da Vinci was trained by Andrea del Verrocchio and lived in Florence until his thirties. Here, he fully embodied the universalist spirit of his time, applying his talent to the most disparate fields of art and knowledge. Incredibly he was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, anatomist, writer, musician and inventor and, still today, he is considered one of the greatest geniuses of humankind.
The Tuscan prodigy’s approach to the city of Milan - where he spent the longest period of his life, almost 20 years - was almost idealistic. The painter Giorgio Vasari narrates that the eclectic Leonardo moved to Milan in 1482 under the patronage of Ludovico il Moro. He originally arrived in the city to participate in a competition for musicians and he beat all the other competitors by playing a silver lyre in the shape of a horse skull that was built, of course, by himself.
His artistic production in Milan was extensive and varied during his lengthy sojourn. Here he painted two of his most enigmatic works ‘The Last Supper’ mural in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and the ‘Lady with an Ermine’ painting. He also created the two important works that are still preserved in the city: the Codex Atlanticus and the Codex Trivulzianus. Also of great importance are the town planning studies carried out during the plague period in Milan (1484-1485).
2019 marked the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonard’s genius which was celebrated with abundant initiatives, exhibitions and tributes. Leonardo died in France on May 2nd, 1519. His demise was premature but he had entrusted all his collections of notes and drawings to his friend and pupil, Francesco Melzi, and it is thanks to him that still today we can study and admire the Genius’ writings and projects that would otherwise have been lost.
The inauguration of Leonardo's Horse monument took place at the S. Siro Hippodrome on 10th September 1999. The sculpture, over 7 metres high, was created by the Japanese sculptor Nina Amaku and was cast in a foundary near New York. Based on the sketches, it reproduces the large horse conceived and made in clay by Leonardo in Milan, as commissioned by Francesco Sforza.
An accurate annotation by the notary Ser Antonio da Vinci, Leonardo's grandfather, on the birth of his grandson dates back to 1452: “A nephew of mine was born, son of Ser Pietro my son, on Saturday April 15th, at 3 am. He took the name Lionardo".
As with all iconic figures many colourful anecdotes have flourished around the figure of Leonardo and undocumented and unverifiable news has been handed down: it is said, for example, that he sang wonderfully but was also endowed with exceptional physical strength, to the point of being able to bend a horseshoe with his hands, the same hands with which he painted and played with such grace and elegance.