Born: 15 April 1452
Died: 2 May 1519
Da Vinci was one of the great creative minds of the Italian Renaissance, hugely influential as an artist and sculptor but also immensely talented as an engineer, scientist and inventor.
He was an apprentice to the sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence and in 1478 became an independent master. In about 1483, he moved to Milan to work as an engineer, sculptor, painter and architect. From 1495 to 1497 he produced a mural of 'The Last Supper' – one of his most famous works.
Da Vinci resided in Milan until the French invaded the city in 1499. He may have visited Venice before returning to Florence. During his time in Florence, he painted several portraits, but the only one that survives is the famous 'Mona Lisa' (1503-1506).
Leonardo Da Vinci is a Great Utopian; the thousands of surviving pages of his notebooks reveal a profound prescience for the progress of human society. Besides his artwork, he wrote and drew on subjects including geology, anatomy, flight, gravity and optics. He envisaged the bicycle, airplane, helicopter and parachute some 500 years ahead of their time. Yet his true genius was not as a scientist or an artist, but as a combination of the two: an 'artist-engineer'. His paintings were scientific, based on a deep understanding of the workings of the human body and the physics of light and shade.