Topic(s): ,

Birth of Leonardo da Vinci

Birth of Leonardo da Vinci

Cambodia #1217 was issued for da Vinci’s 540th birthday.

Renaissance Man Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Republic of Florence, Italy.

Da Vinci’s full birth name was “Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci,” meaning “Leonardo, (son) of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci.”   He had little formal education but learned Latin, geometry, and mathematics as a child.

Cambodia #804 pictures one of da Vinci’s flying inventions.

When he was 14, da Vinci began an apprenticeship with artist Andrea di Cione, also known as Verrocchio. Working as a studio boy for seven years, he learned a lot about drafting, chemistry, metalworking, plaster casting, leather working, carpentry, painting, sculpting, and modeling. During this time, da Vinci likely helped paint some of Verrocchio’s works.

Italy #345-48 includes two da Vinci stamps.

By the time he was 20 in 1472, da Vinci was a master in the Guild of Saint Luke, an organization of artists and doctors. He also had his own workshop but continued to work with Verrocchio. In 1478, he received a commission to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of St. Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio. He received a second commission in 1481 for The Adoration of the Magi. Neither was finished as da Vinci went to Milan in 1482 to deliver a silver lyre he’d made as a peace offering to the Duke of Milan.

Italy #400-09 – The purple stamp in this set pictures da Vinci.

Da Vinci remained in Milan until 1499. During that time, he painted Virgin of the Rocks and his famed The Last Supper. Da Vinci also spent much of his time in Milan working on projects for the duke, including floats and pageants for special occasions, designing a dome for the Milan Cathedral, and a monument to Francesco Sforza.

Liberia #489-94 includes a stamp picturing The Last Supper.

When the French invaded Milan in 1499, da Vinci fled for Venice, where he worked as a military architect and engineer, providing plans on how to defend the city from a naval attack. The following year, he returned to Florence and created The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist, which was so popular, people came from great distances to see it.

Monaco #J39-56 includes a blue 10F stamp picturing one of da Vinci’s inventions.

Da Vinci continued to work as a military architect and engineer, producing maps for Cesare Borgia that helped him develop military plans and positions. Over the next few years, he spent time in Florence and Milan before going to Rome. After the French captured Milan, the king of France hired him to build a mechanical lion that walked forward and opened to reveal lilies. After that, da Vinci spent the rest of his life in Amboise, France, in the king’s service. Da Vinci died on May 2, 1519.

United Nations #UN228 pictures the Vitruvian Man.

During his lifetime, da Vinci was famous for his art. But throughout his life, he filled dozens of notebooks with designs and ideas for inventions as well as theories on aeronautics and anatomy. Some of his ideas included the bicycle, helicopter, and an airplane based on the flying habits of a bat. Da Vinci was also interested in architecture, science, music, literature, mathematics, astronomy, botany, and cartography. For all of his interests and talents, he’s often referred to as a “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance man.” Today’s da Vinci’s birthday is celebrated annually as World Art Day because he was a symbol of “world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood, and multiculturalism.”

Click here to visit a neat website that explores da Vinci’s varied interests and click here to view his complete works.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
[Total: 38 Average: 4.8]

Share this article

2 responses to "Birth of Leonardo da Vinci"

2 thoughts on “Birth of Leonardo da Vinci”

  1. To second Mr Bob Choinski: an absolute GENIUS! His drawings on the anatomy of the human body, is still in used today in medical schools. He would watch a burial. That night when there was no one around, he would return to the cemetery and since he knew the location of the tomb, he would exhume the body. Take it to his home-lab, where he would dissect it.
    Eventually the body would be returned for reburial. It is said that since death was recent, some of the bodies were still warm to the touch.
    As many know one of his greatest works, was the Mona Lisa. My wife and I were fortunate to see the painting, when we were in Paris, and visited The Louvre. It is kept behind glass that is quite possibly ‘everything proof ‘, and the crowd to see and take pictures/videos was ENORMOUS! He and other
    Renaissance Men, are buried in a church in Florence. I was also in that city,
    but was unfortunately unable to visit his and others’ tomb, although I was outside, and walked around the outside of the church.


Leave a Comment

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!