Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci was a very important man, considered a genius of his time. He fully embodied the renaissance with new inspirational ideas and attributes. Clearly a polymath; a man of many talents, he was a painter, inventor, engineer, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Leonardo reached new heights of scientific and artistic achievement. He was among the most important painters of the Italian renaissance and the father of the high renaissance style.
Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy, just outside of Florence. His father Piero da Vinci was a notary; he took full custody of Leonardo while his mother Caternia, a peasant girl, married someone else and moved to a neighboring town supplying Leonardo with 17 half siblings. Some experts claim that due to his illegitimacy Leonardo was unworthy of a proper education, and that this is the reason that he did not follow in his father's footsteps to become a notary, or why he did not study to become a doctor. Meanwhile, other Da Vinci sources claim that the young Leonardo was treated as a legitimate child, and was offered the same education as other children of that day. (http://www.davincilife.com/biography1.html) At the age of 15 his father apprenticed him to Andrea del Verrochio in Florence. Leonardo’s genius seems to have seeped into a number of pieces produced by Verrocchio's workshop, for example, Leonardo painted an angel in Verrochio’s “Baptism of Christ”. Verrochio claimed that it was so much better than himself that he resolved to never paint again. He spent his time with Verrochio until 1477, even after being accepted into the painter’s guild in Florence in 1472. On July 9, 1504, he received notice of the death of his father, Ser Piero. Though because of his meddling half brothers and sisters, Leonardo was denied of any of the inheritance. From 1513 to 1516, he worked in Rome, maintaining a workshop and undertaking a variety of projects for Pope Leo X . He continued his studies of human anatomy and physiology, but the Pope forbade him from dissecting cadavers. Following the death of his patron Giuliano de' Medici in March of 1516, Leonardo moved to France. His last and perhaps most generous patron, Francis I provided Leonardo with a job, including a stipend and manor house near the royal chateau at Amboise. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519 in Cloux, France. Legend has it that King Francis was at his side when he died, cradling Leonardo's head in his arms. (http://legacy.mos.org/leonardo/bio.html)