This year (2019) France and Italy celebrate the life of Leonardo da Vinci on the 500 year anniversary of his death

(2nd May 1519)

Here is a little bit of history about this world famous genius!

Italian Renaissance Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian of the Renaissance period, 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 he is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter, and tank, he was a perfect example of the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Leonardo's genius

Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as a prime example of the "Universal Genius" or "Renaissance Man", an individual of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination", and he is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived. The scope and depth of his interests were arguably without precedent in recorded history, and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, while the man himself mysterious and remote". While there is much speculation regarding his life and personality, his view of the world was logical rather than mysterious, although the empirical methods he employed were considered unorthodox for his time.

Birth of Leonardo

Leonardo was born out of wedlock to notary Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman named Caterina, in Vinci in the region of Florence. He was educated in the studio of 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 small chateau in the Loire valley, awarded to him by Francis I of France.

Leonardo the artist

Leonardo is renowned primarily as a painter. The Mona Lisa (housed in the Louvre in Paris) is the most famous of his works and the most parodied portrait, and The Last Supper (a fresco in a Milan church) is the most reproduced religious painting of all time. His drawing of the Vitruvian Man (stored in Venice) is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. His painting Salvator Mundi sold for $450.3 million at a Christie's auction in New York on 15 November 2017, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. It is believed to be in Abu Dhabi now.

Perhaps 15 of his paintings have survived. Nevertheless, these few works compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary Michelangelo, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting.

Leonardo in France

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. 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, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. A number of his most practical inventions are displayed as working models at the Museum of Vinci. Also, a large number of his inventions are on display in the chateau in the Loire valley, awarded to him by King Francis I.

Slow Tours... in the footsteps of Leonardo...

Our guests love the chateau in the Loire Valley ( Loire Valley Small Group Tour) where many of his inventions and drawings are on display in the basement. The chateau is still furnished as it was when Leonardo lived there, and the beautiful grounds offer a pleasant walk over lawns and tree-lined paths to the lake, where peacocks are still kept, as they were 500 years ago.

At the start of the Italian Lakes Small Group Tour we also suggest a guided visit to see the amazing fresco painting of Leonardo's 'The Last Supper'

(With grateful thanks to Wikipedia for the history of this great man)

Slow Tours offers a number of other Small Group Tours in France

never stop being curious

contact us
Contact Us