Leonardo da Vinci died on 2 May 1519 in Amboise, France. The world-renowned polymath excelled as a painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer, and scientist, though he was often more interested in the design and exploratory phases of his work than bringing them to completion.

The Virgin and Child with St Anne, c. 1510, oil on wood, Musée du Louvre, Paris.  

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), c. 1503-5, oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris

He has left behind almost 2,500 drawings in notebooks and on loose sheets. Though he was of the same generation as Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94), and Filippino Lippi (1457-1504), rather than Michelangelo (1475-1564) or Raphael (1483-1520), Leonardo is widely recognised as the father of the High Renaissance.

St John the Baptist, 1513-16, oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris

St John in the Wilderness (Bacchus), 1510-15, oil on panel transferred to canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Equestrian monument (for Francis I), 1517-18, black chalk on paper, Royal Library, Windsor

While Leonardo famously left a number of major commissions incomplete, those that he did finish are today some of the most recognizable images of the Italian Renaissance, including the Mona Lisa, which was among the paintings he took with him to France and are now among the Louvre’s most prized paintings. Leonardo left Italy for France at some point after August 1516 to become first painter and engineer to King Francis I. Though in poor health, Leonardo continued to invent, imagine, and design through his drawings and notes but left larger-scale work to assistants. He spent his last years at the Château de Cloux (later called Clos-Lucé), near the King’s summer palace at Amboise on the Loire River.
Copies after Leonardo’s Leda, 1510-15, oil on panel, Galleria Borghese, Rome (Leonardo and Salaì) and 1505-10, oil on panel, Wilton House, Salisbury (Cesare da Sesto)

Leonardo can be considered, quite rightly, to have been the universal genius par excellence, and with all the disquieting overtones inherent in that term. Man is as uncomfortable today, faced with a genius, as he was in the 16th century. Five centuries have passed, yet we still view Leonardo with awe

Twiggie, 2016 


Reference: Martin Kemp. “Leonardo da Vinci.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T050401&gt;