Death of da Vinci
The 2nd of May 1519 AD
Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci died with King Francis I of France holding his head. It may be a myth, but Francis was a great admirer and close friend of the polymath, and had given him a comfortable home in his old age and a considerable pension.
Leonardo died in that home, Close Lucé near the Chateau d’Amboise. He was only 67, but his self-portrait done a few years previously already showed a very old and worn face. And perhaps no wonder, given the energy he had expended in his fruitful life. Architect, engineer, the painter of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, designer of fortifications and philosopher of art; he was the true Renaissance man.
Britain is lucky in its Leonardo collections: the British Library has the codex Arundel, a collection of treatises and drawings on geometry and other subjects; Windsor Castle has many Leonardo drawings; and the National Gallery has various paintings including a version of The Virgin of the Rocks.
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