Leonardo Da Vinci - One of the most talented people of all time

Artwork and Words by Lola, age 10

Leonardo Da Vinci

Born: 15 April 1452

Died: 2 May 1519 (aged 67)

Known for: amazing artist, writer, engineer and inventor!

The Museum of Very Interesting People features Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci - Artist, Writer, Inventor, Engineer.

Personal History

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Tuscany, Italy during the Renaissance period. Da Vinci means ‘Of Vinci’ so it’s not his actual last name. His parents weren’t married, and both married other people, so Leonardo ended up with 17 half brothers and sisters! Leonardo grew up in the home of his grandparents, surrounded by luscious gardens and nature. Leonardo had a basic education, but his uncle, Francesco, taught him everything about plants, animals and weather.

In the Workshop of Andrea Del Verrocchio

When Leonardo was about 14 or 15, he started working for the artist, Andrea Del Verrocchio. Leonardo worked for Andrea for about ten years. By 17, he was the apprentice of Verrocchio himself. In 1477, Leonardo left to start working for himself.

Professional Life

In 1478 Leonardo received a commission to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of St. Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Leonardo then moved to Milan and worked there from 1482-1499. It was during this period that Leonardo painted the Virgin of The Rocks and The Last Supper.

Leonardo also made a big bronze horse for Ludovico Sforza, but Ludovico gave the bronze to his brother-in-law to defend Milan from Charles VIII during the Second Italian War. During the war, Leonardo fled for Venice, and there he was employed as a military architect and engineer.

Leonardo worked in many other places before returning to Milan. He worked in Cesena, for the son of Pope Alexander VI. Before moving to Florence (again) where he started working on the Mona Lisa and the Battle Of Anghiari. Eventually, Leonardo moved back to Milan for a period of five years.

In 1513 Leonardo moved to Rome and began working for the Pope. Leonardo worked when Michelangelo and Raphael were working in the Vatican and they were rivals!

In 1516 Leonardo is hired by King Francis I as a member of his court. Leonardo and the King became great friends and Leonardo moved to France where he lived until he died in 1519 in Cloux, France.

Leonardo’s Inventions

Leonardo Da Vinci created a lot of useful inventions, many of them are things we use today or were the first idea of something we use today. Some of the coolest inventions are:

  • walk on water shoes- Leonardo actually invented shoes that could carry a human on water!

  • a mechanical lion that carried the national flowers of France inside it’s tummy!

  • flying Iiventions- Leonardo Da Vinci invented several flying devices made of wood and canvas including a parachute, a helicopter and an ornithopter, which is an invention with flapping wings powered by the human riding it!

  • war tank- Leonardo invented an early invention of a war tank meant for deflecting arrows, cannons, spears and artillery balls.

  • hydrometer- Leonardo wondered if different liquids weighed different amounts even if they were the same measurement. So, he came up with an idea for an invention called the hydrometer. A hydrometer measures the densities of different liquids, based on a principal explained by Archimedes, who was an Ancient Greek scientist.

I really like the way Leonardo da Vinci invented things that had never been thought of before! He wrote many of his notebooks in mirror writing so it would be hard for other people to steal his ideas, which I think is pretty cool! If I met Leonardo da Vinci today, I would love to see what he thinks about modern day flying machines!