12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a painter, sculptor, architect, writer, anatomist, geologist, astronomer, botanist, inventor, engineer, and scientist, the epitome of a Renaissance man.

Widely considered one of the greatest artists of all time, his most famous works include ‘the Mona Lisa’, ‘the Last Supper’ and ‘the Vitruvian Man’.

Although he was known for his technological ingenuity, Leonardo’s scientific genius largely went undiscovered and unappreciated during his time. As Sigmund Freud wrote:

He was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness, while the others were all still asleep.

Unknown Fact About Leonardo Da Vinci

Here are surprising facts that you (probably) didn’t know about.

12. Leonardo Da Vinci Is Called The Renaissance Man

Leonardo da Vinci has broad interests and intellectual achievements, both in science and in the arts, earning the title of Man of the Renaissance.

Leonardo is one of the most famous inventors and scientists in history. His curiosity and his natural sense of the laws of nature-inspired his intelligence.

11. Da Vinci Made Drawings Of Things That Weren’t Invented Yet

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
Photo: Kwirry/Shutterstock

This is perhaps one of the most fascinating facts about Leonardo da Vinci. During his life, he made thousands of drawings, and many of them look alike and describe things that are now part of our daily life.

His drawings paved the way for countless inventions, such as parachutes, helicopters, hydraulic pumps, and the armored car, just to name a few of these modern inventions.

10. His Name Was Not Really “Leonardo Da Vinci”

Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense. His birth name – Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci – means “Leonardo, (son) of ser Piero da Vinci”.

To his contemporaries, he was known as Leonardo or “Il Florentino”, since he lived near Florence.

9. Leonardo Da Vinci Had 12 Siblings, 9 Brothers, And 3 Sisters

The names of the brothers are Benedetto Ser Piero, Giuliomo Ser Piero, Domenico Ser Piero, Guglielmo Ser Piero, Bartolomeo da Vinci, Giovanni Ser Piero, Antonio Ser Piero, Lorenzo Ser Piero and Pandolfo Ser Piero.

And the names of the sisters are Magdalena di Ser Piero da Vinci, Violante di Ser Piero da Vinci and Margherita di Ser Piero da Vinci.

8. He Painted The Last Supper

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
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The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings of all time and represents the last dinner on the Holy Thursday for Jesus and his disciples. It was created in the late 15th century and is located in Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan, Italy.

7. His First Commissions Were Never Completed

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
Credit: Uffizi Gallery

In 1478, Leonardo received his first independent commission: to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of San Bernardo, at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

In 1481, he was commissioned to paint ‘The Adoration of the Magi’ for the San Donato monastery in Florence.

However, he was forced to leave both commissions when he moved to Milan to work for the Sforza family. Under the patronage of the Sforzas, Leonardo painted ‘The Last Supper’ in the refectory of the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

6. Mona Lisa Is 83% Happy, 9% Disgusted, 6% Scared, And 2% Angry

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
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Facial recognition software determines that Leonardo’s painting, Mona Lisa, is 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% scared, and 2% angry.

Nicu Sebe from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands tested emotion recognition software on Mona Lisa’s famous smile.

The algorithm, developed with researchers from the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, examines the main facial aspects of the Mona Lisa, such as the curvature of the lips and wrinkles around the eyes, and marks each face in six basic emotions.

5. Mona Lisa Is One Of His Most Famous Works

In general, “Mona Lisa” is believed to represent Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy businessman from Florence who ordered a portrait by Da Vinci.

Some rumors claim that he worked for 10 years only on his lips. The painting is exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, France.

4. His Biggest Project Was Destroyed

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
Credit: Web Gallery of Art

Leonardo’s most important commissioned work was for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, called the Gran Cavallo or “Leonardo’s Horse” in 1482.

The statue proposed by the Duke’s father, Francesco Sforza, on horseback was over 25 feet tall and was intended to be the largest equestrian statue in the world.

3. Mona Lisa Holds A Guinness World Record

Guinness World Records lists Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as the most valuable insurance painting of all time. As of December 14, 1962, the Mona Lisa is worth one hundred million dollars.

In 2018, considering inflation, the 1962 value would be around eight hundred and thirty million dollars.

2. Vitruvian Man Is Another Example Of His Works

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
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Vitruvian Man is another famous work by Leonardo da Vinci and describes the relationship between humanity and geometry. It is based on the ancient texts of the Roman architect Vitruvius and on his own discoveries.

1. He Spent His Final Years In France

12 Mind-Blowing Facts About Leonardo da Vinci That Might Surprise You
Credit: Public domain

When Francis I of France offered him the title of “King’s First Painter, Engineer, and Architect” in 1515, Leonardo left Italy forever.

It gave him the opportunity to work in his spare time while living in a country manor house, Clos Lucé, near the king’s residence in Amboise, in the Loire Valley.

Leonardo died in 1519 at the age of 67 and was buried in a nearby palace church.

The church was almost destroyed during the French Revolution, making it impossible to accurately identify his grave.

General Facts About Leonardo Da Vinci

  • Full Name: Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci
  • Born: 14/15 April 1452 Vinci, Republic of Florence
  • Died: 2 May 1519
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Mother: Caterina di Meo Lippi
  • Father: Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci
  • Occupation: Artist
  • Most famous works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Virgin of the Rocks, The Vitruvian Man

Preview Image Credit: Wikimedia

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