Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 at Clos Lucé, Amboise, France. This is where he and his painting of the Mona Lisa spent his last three years.
Leonardo’s life began with his illegitimacy in Florence, fame and success in Milan, public humiliation in Rome and ended as the close friend of the most powerful king in Europe. When François I met Leonardo in Italy in 1515, he invited him to live near him in Amboise. Here, Leonardo found a security incomparable with his previously precarious existence. He entered old age basking in the gentle climate of the Loire Valley with no more financial insecurity, no more wars on his doorstep, no more jealous rivals. No longer forced to take commissions, Leonardo spent his days editing notebooks filled with his scientific studies and treatises on painting and anatomy. He had with him his paintings of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, St. John the Baptist and the Mona Lisa. Leonardo was a tourist attraction. He still is. Fans can see where he lived, where he died and where he is buried. In Close Lucé, they can even see working models of some of his visions.
The book contains many interesting, little known facts. For example. Did you know that Leonardo designed and made elaborate wigs for his models as seen in his (lost) painting of Leda and The Swan? That he dissected thirty corpses? Or that to dissect an eye ball he first immersed it in egg white then boiled it? A fascinating read.
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