Leonardo da Vinci

Artist / Scientist

Born: 15 April 1452
Died: 2 May 1519 (Natural causes)
Birthplace: Vinci, Italy
Best known as:

Painter of the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci is best remembered as the painter of the Mona Lisa (1503-1506) and The Last Supper (1495). But he's almost equally famous for his astonishing multiplicity of talents: he dabbled in architecture, sculpture, engineering, geology, hydraulics and the military arts, all with success, and in his spare time doodled parachutes and flying machines that resembled inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries. He made detailed drawings of human anatomy which are still highly regarded today. Leonardo also was quirky enough to write notebook entries in mirror (backwards) script, a trick which kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death.

Extra credit:

Leonardo da Vinci means "Leonardo from the town of Vinci," and thus he is generally referred to in short as "Leonardo" rather than as "da Vinci"... He received a fresh burst of public interest in 2003 with the publication of The Da Vinci Code, the bestselling thriller by author Dan Brown.

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