Leonardo da Vinci The Madonna of the Yarnwinder About 1501 Reproduced courtesy of the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust


Born 1452
Died 1519
Nationality Italian
Birth place Vinci
Death place Amboise

Leonardo's numerous skills defy easy categorisation; truly 'universal' in his interests, he was an extraordinarily gifted painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, inventor, writer, musician and natural scientist. His notebooks and drawings reflect his insatiable curiosity about the natural world. He travelled from Florence, having trained in Andrea del Verrocchio's workshop, to Milan, and later moved to France, where he was painter and engineer to King Francis I. Leonardo's perfectionism and experimental methods resulted in few completed projects. His Mona Lisa (Louvre, Paris) and Last Supper (Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan) are among the most famous paintings ever produced.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


A period in European culture from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.