Leonardo da Vinci, born April 15, 1452, is often called the archetype of the Renaissance Man; this genius in science, engineering, aeronautics, technology was also one of the world's greatest painters, as well as a sculptor, an architect, and a town planner. Born in Vinci, Leonardo was apprenticed as a 14-year-old to the sculptor-painter Andrea Verrocchio in Florence. In 1482, he went to Milan as a military engineer, sculptor, and architect, and remained there for 17 years. While in Milan, he designed the crossing tower of the Milan cathedral and, among many other works, painted The Last Supper (1496--97), a mural in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. During these years in Milan, da Vinci also composed his Treatise on Painting (1489--1518) and filled his notebooks. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon. In 1499, da Vinci returned to Florence. The Mona Lisa (1503--06) dates from that period. After a short and unsuccessful time in Rome (1513--16), he settled in France under the patronage of Francis I. He died in Amboise at the age of 67 on May 2, 1519, and was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in Château d'Amboise, in France. A supposedly lost manuscript of da Vinci's was rediscovered at the National Library in Madrid in 1965 and published in 1974.
A Treatise on Painting: With a Life of Leonardo and an Account of His Works by John William Brown