By Leonardo Da Vinci
Royal Library, Windsor (United Kingdom)
Da Vinci's anatomical drawings, due to his extreme curiosity, became one of his most profound works to date. In 1508 he sketched these "Studies of a left leg showing bones and tendons" (pen and ink; dimensions 21,5 x 11 centimeters).
Inventor, painter, sculptor, scientist, architect, musician, mathematician and philosopher, Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Anchiano, near Vinci in the province of Firenze (Italy). He was the illegitimate son of a notary, Ser Piero, and a woman named Caterina. After spending part of his childhood in his father's home in Vinci, in 1460 he moved to Firenze and nine years later he began his apprenticeship in Verrocchio's artisan workshop learning painting, sculpture and acquiring technical and mechanical skills. Between 1482 and 1499 Leonardo was in the service of Ludovico il Moro, the Duke of Milano. After abandoning Milano (the duchy had fallen under the control of the French armies of Louis XII), he started wandering from court to court. He traveled to Mantova, Venezia and finally reached Firenze in 1500. He then entered the service of Cesare Borgia as a senior military architect and general engineer, but by 1504 he was back in Firenze where he began the painting he is probably best known for, the "Mona Lisa" also known as "La Gioconda". In 1506 Leonardo returned for a second period in Milano. Again his scientific work took precedence over his painting and he was involved in hydraulic engineering, mechanics, mathematics, optics and anatomy. Following the return of the Sforzas as rulers of Milan once more, in 1513 Leonardo moved to Rome on the invitation of the newly-elected pope, Giuliano de' Medici, but after three years of unhappiness, he accepted an invitation from the King of France, François I, to enter his service at the Castle of Cloux, near Amboise. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519.