« As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death »
Leonardo da Vinci
Meet one of the greatest minds of all times
From his home Tuscany to his death at the Clos Lucé on May the 2 nd 1519, Leonardo da Vinci has tried to unveil the secrets of nature and physics, which are the basis of his work.
Five hundred years later, Leonardo da Vinci is still present in our daily life through his heritage. He keeps fascinating us and inspires novelists, filmmakers and even the videogame industry. This man, dreaming of making men fly and imagining the future, this painter, inventor, engineer, scientific, humanist and philosopher,remains immortal.
The Château du Clos Lucé, bearing the mark left by the Master, has a mission of giving an overview of the work of Leonardo to the general public. From the beginning to the end of the visit, experience this funny feeling, that the genius was just there, just a moment ago.
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Seven key moments in the life of a genius
Birth of Leonardo da Vinci in Tuscany. He is the illegitimate child of a notary and a peasant.
At only 15, his father makes him join Andrea del Verrocchio’s polytechnic studio in Florence.
There, he meets Sandro Botticelli. He paints The Baptism of Christ (1475), preserved at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Leonardo da Vinci leaves Verrocchio’s studio.
He paints The Adoration of the Magi (1481), preserved at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Leonardo heads to Milan to be in the service of duke Ludovic Sforza, known as the Moor. He improves his skills as an architect and starts imagining a great number of war machines.
He paints Virgin of the Rocks (1483) preserved at the Louvres.
And The Last Supper (1494-97) preserved in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent in Milan.
Leonardo da Vinci starts painting Mona Lisa (1503-06) and invents the sfumato technique, the misty effect revealing a mysterious glare on the painted faces. He paints The Virgin and Child with St.Anne (1510) preserved at the Louvres and St.John the Baptist (1515).
Leonardo bids farewell to Italy and heads for the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise after being invited by the king of France.
Leonardo da Vinci passes away in his bedroom at the Clos Lucé. King Francis I mourns in tears the man he used to call « Father ».
« The painter has to become universal »
Leonardo Da Vinci
Admire the realism of his work
To paint as real as possible, that is the Master’s motivation.
To obtain this, he studies human and animal anatomy by dissection. At that time, corpses can’t be preserved in cold rooms so they decay rapidly. Leonardo da Vinci has then very little time to study and learn everything there is to know about the human body; he reproduces even the slightest detail in his drawings and sketches. Besides using the traditional theories of proportions, as shown with his emblematic Vitruvian Man, Da Vinci thinks about his models from a functional point of view, and from the inside. This way he can perfectly grasp the movements, the strength and, as he perceives it, the soul of the creatures he studies.
Leonardo da Vinci the sculptor
Leonardo is passionate about sculpture; each piece is a true technical challenge. His most beautiful sculpture would have been an eight meters tall bronze horse, in honour of Francesco Sforza, founder of the dynasty. Even thought Leonardo da Vinci did solve the many issues of its conception, the project will never be completed since Ludovic Sforza decided to use all the available bronze to the manufacturing of canons to defend Milan from the approaching of Louis XII’s troops.
« All our knowledge comes from our sensitivity »
Leonardo da Vinci
Look for the genius’ mark on your daily life
In the basement of the castle, four rooms allow us to fully understand the knowledge of the engineer Leonardo da Vinci. 3D animations and up to forty models, made by IBM using the same material as in that time, illustrate the diversity of Leonardo’s intuition: the automobile, the aerial screw, the assault chariot…
The collection of sketches from the codex and the exhibited models share his intense desire for unveiling the mechanics of life.
Witness Leonardo’s passion for flying in the museum hall
The 12 meters wide flying machine exhibited in the museum hall is the
proof of Leonardo da Vinci’s fascination for flying. As a young man, Leonardo
compares everything to the human body and tries to prove the existence of the
body’s mechanics, as shown in many of his flying machines plans. For instance,
Leonardo’s articulated glider was designed after a long observation of the
flight of bats and birds.
Meet Leonardo, military engineer
Leonardo may be best known for being a humanist, for his art, his science and philosophical thoughts, but he also was a military engineer who came up with fearsome inventions.
While working for Ludovic Sforza, the duke of Milan, his creativity for war machines knew no bounds: catapult, crossbow, steam canon, assault chariot, fortress, machine gun and even the wheel-lock musket who replaced the tedious use of fuses.
« The desire to know is natural to good men »
Leonardo da Vinci
Walk in the shoes of the greatest genius of all time
What if you went on the same journey as Leonardo da Vinci? From his hometown in Italy to Le Clos Lucé in Amboise. Five hundred years later, walk on the footprints of the greatest thinker of all time.
With the Da Vinci Tour, follow Leonardo’s path across five different European cities
All the way through this « cultural, historical and touristic road », from Vinci to Amboise and finally to Le Clos Lucé, meet Leonardo da Vinci in the cities and places where he used to live, and gain a better understanding of his daily life, his work and his environment. Discover, with great emotion, the wonderful nature and the beautiful landscapes that inspired Leonardo’s creations, those of Tuscany, Lombardi and the Val de Loire, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Be amazed by his masterpieces, especially The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi, at the famous Uffizi museum in Florence, and The Last Supper, at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
Mythical cities, splendid museums, majestic castles
and previously unseen exhibitions will open their doors to you. In Italy and
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