Leonardo da Vinci was born on the fifteenth of April, 1452, near the town of Vinci, not far from Florence. He was the son of a Florentine notary, Piero da Vinci, and a young woman named Caterina. Leonardo spent most of his life in Florence and Milan.
In 1469 he was apprenticed to Andrea Verrocchio, a leading Renaissance master. Leonardo acquired a variety of skills while he remained at the workshop until 1476. He left Florence for Milan in about 1482 to work for Duke Lodovico Sforza. He stayed in Milan for nearly eighteen years. During his time there he applied his knowledge of mechanics to his obligations as a civil and military engineer. He also took up study in anatomy, biology, mathematics, and physics. During that time he completed his single most important painting, The Last Supper.
Leonardo returned to Florence in 1500. Three years later, Leonardo began several important artistic projects, including the Battle of Anghiari mural for the council chamber of the Town Hall, the portrait of Mona Lisa, and the lost Leda and the Swan. At the same time his interests in anatomy led him to perform dissections, and he organized a study of the flight of birds.
Leonardo left Italy forever, in 1516 to become architectural advisor to King Francis I of France, who admired him greatly. Leonardo died at the age of 67 on May 2, 1519, at Cloux, near Amboise, France.
Leonardo da Vinci was a true Renaissance man. He was a scholar, scientist, artist, and inventor. Some of his work includes, The Adoration of the Magi, Madonna of the Rocks, The Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa. Some of Leonardo's sketches resemble future inventions, such as a sketch of a windmill design and a helicopter with two revolving propellers. He was a man ahead of his time.