Leonardo da Vinci
Important Terms, People, and Events
Leonardo born on April 15, in Vinci. Leonardo
was born to Ser Piero, a notary, and Caterina, a peasant girl;
his parents were never married.
Leonardo becomes an apprentice to Andrea del
Verrocchio, in Florence. This date is an estimate, the apprenticeship
could have begun a year or two later. But even 1467 would have
been a bit late according to the customs of the time: Leonardo
would have been fifteen, and most apprentices began at a younger
Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici become new rulers
of Florence. The two brothers took over when their father
died. 1469 also marks the birth of Machiavelli, who would be an
important advisor to Lorenzo and later write the work of political philosophy
entitled The Prince (1515).
Leonardo becomes a member of the Florence painters'
guild. Birth of Copernicus. Dante's The Divine Comedy is
published. Other famous painters to join the painters' guild
in 1472 were Botticelli and Perugino.
Leonardo draws a landscape on the Feast of Santa
Maria delle Neve. This is his earliest known drawing, though
he probably also had a hand in Verrochio's Baptism of Christ,
which probably reached completion in or around 1473.
Leonardo charged with sodomy on April 9; the
case is dismissed June 16.
Leonardo had at least some part in the painting
the Annunciation to the Virgin, completed around
The Pazzi family tries to assasinate Lorenzo
and Giuliano de Medici. Lorenzo survives; Giuliano does not.
This same year, Leonardo writes in his notebooks that he has begun
"two Virgin Marys." He also paints the Portrait of Ginevra
de Benci around this time.
Leonardo receives a commission to paint the Adoration
of the Magi. The painting was never completed,
yet was–and is–considered a masterpiece. This same year, most
of the other noteworthy painters in Florence were sent to Rome
to work on projects for the Pope.
Leonardo moves from Florence to Milan, entering
the patronage of Ludovico Sforza. By this time, Leonardo
is writing in his notebooks regularly.
Leonardo receives a commission to paint the Virgin
of the Rocks. Also, Raphael is born in 1483.
Plague in Milan; Titian born.
Leonardo studies anatomy.
Leonardo begins work in earnest on the bronze
horse for his patron Ludovico Sforza. Leonardo begins a book on
landscape and hydraulic works; it is never finished. Salai enters
his household at the age of 10.
Lorenzo de Medici dies; Columbus goes to the
A woman named Caterina, possibly Leonardo's
mother, possibly a servant, becomes a member of his household in
Savonarola takes power in Florence.
Leonardo begins his Last Supper in
the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Leonardo illustrates mathematician Fra Luca
Pacioli's De divina proportione.
Leonardo decorates the walls and ceiling of
the Sala delle Asse. He also made his first attempts at planning
a flying machine around this time. In 1498, Savonarola is
burned at the stake.
The French army conquers Milan; Leonardo leaves.
Leonardo and Pacioli go to Mantua, then Leonardo
continues on to Florence. In Mantua, he draws the Portrait
in Profile of Isabelle d'Este. In Florence, he paints
the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne.
Leonardo becomes Cesare Borgia's military engineer.
Leonardo travels around the Romagna, inspecting fortifications.
He meets Machiavelli.
Back in Florence, Leonardo begins the Battle
of Anghiari.Also, in 1503 Florence tries to divert
the Arno River away from Pisa in order to defeat Pisa in war.
Leonardo and Machiavelli may have cooperated on this project.
On July 9, Ser Piero dies.
Leonardo makes a second attempt to build a flying
machine and begins sketches for the Mona Lisa,
which he completes sometime later.In 1505, Leonardo gives
up on the Battle of Anghiari, which is deteriorating
as he works on it.
In May, Leonardo is summoned to Milan by Charles
d'Amboise, the French governor.
Leonardo is appointed Louis XII's painter and
engineer. He paints a second version of the Virgin
of the Rocks. He meets his beautiful young assistant,
Francesco Melzi. Also, he travels to Florence in a lawsuit against
his brothers of his inheritance from his uncle Francesco.
Michelangelo begins work on the Sistine Chapel
Leonardo moves to Rome. Living in the
Vatican, he studies the properties of mirrors. It is perhaps at
this time that he paints the Turin Self-portrait. It was in this
year that Leo X (Medici) became pope; the previous year the Medici
family returned to power in Florence.
Around this time, Leonardo paints the painting John
the Baptist. He also constructs a mechanical lion
for the coronation of the new king of France, Francis I.
Leonardo permanently leaves Italy for France,
where he will serve Francis I in his court in Amboise.
In May, Leonardo dies at Cloux.