da Vinci

1452 - 1519

 Renaissance Art Map
     Leonardo da Vinci - biography
     Leonardo da Vinci
     1452-1481 Leonardo in the Florence of the Medici    
     1482-1499 At the court of Ludovico il Moro    
     1500-1508 The return to Florence    
     1508-1513 The Milan of Charles d'Amboise    
     1513-1519 The last years: Rome and France    



Leonardo da Vinci
c. 1512




At the court of Ludovico il Moro




The letter


Leonardo, who was received in Milan as cultural ambassador of the Signory of Florence, sent Duke Ludovico a letter of introduction that listed his abilities and his extraordinary range of interests. The dukedom was going through a period of expansion and appeared to offer him opportunities he could not realize in Florence. Skilled in the crafts of peace and war, he enumerated ten points that qualified him as an engineer of war machinery and a technical adviser: a builder of "very light and strong" bridges, "cannon, mortars, and light ordnance, of very beautiful and useful shapes, quite different from those in common use", "armored cars, safe and unassailable". He only casually mentioned his artistic talents "in the construction of buildings both public and private", painting and "sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay". The letter concluded by offering to build the equestrian monument to the head of the "illustrious house of Sforza", Francesco.


Leonardo da Vinci,
Lute Made from a Horse's Skull, Manuscript B, Institut de France, Paris.


 Leonardo da Vinci, Rain of Cannonballs, Codice Atlantico, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.


 Leonardo da Vinci, Study of Hydraulic Instruments, c.1482, Codice Atlantico, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.
The Codice Atlantico, the most comprehensive collection known of Leonardo's manuscripts - 550 of them assembled into a single volume in the late 16th century
- covers forty years' work on mechanics, mathematics, astronomy, physical geography, botany, chemistry, and anatomy.


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