Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Leonardo da Vinci was the archetypal example of the Renaissance ideal: the uomo universale. As a Renaissance man he engaged in almost every art and science from painting to composition and from philosophy to chemistry. Leonardo was born in the Tuscan mountain town of Vinci as the illegitimate son of a farm girl and a Florentine notary. He started as an apprentice to Verrocchio and rose to become an independent painter with his own studio. From 1482 – 1499, he worked for the Duke of Milan. Due to the French siege of Milan, he was forced to return to the region of his birth where he worked for Cesare Borgia as a military architect and engineer. For ten years, from 1506 onwards he worked in Milan and Rome. During the last three years of his life he was employed by the French King Francois I.