Leonardo da Vinci and France

Castle of Clos Lucé

Le Château du Clos Lucé, his home from 1516 to 1519

Château du Clos Lucé - Parc Leonardo da Vinci © château du Clos Lucé, 2019, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
The home of Leonardo da Vinci 1516 – 1519
A l’invitation du roi François Ier, Léonard de Vinci quitte l’Italie et s’installe au château du Clos Lucé à l’automne 1516. Âgé de 64 ans, il traverse les Alpes et apporte avec lui trois de ses chefs-d’oeuvre : La Joconde, la Sainte Anne et le Saint Jean Baptiste ainsi que ses carnets et manuscrits. 
The Façade © château du Clos Lucé, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

The coat of arms, on white tuffeau stone from the Loire valley, shows three fleurs de Lys - or Lilies - which was the symbol of the French monarchy.

Leonardo da Vinci's workshops © château du Clos Lucé, 2016, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
The invitation of François I, Leonardo da Vinci "the King's first painter, architect and engineer"
François I expressed a profound respect for da Vinci, who he called "my father". The great craftsman and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, who had also come from Italy, said: "King François, who was so taken with his great qualities, loved to listen to him talk and was to hardly ever be found apart from him..."
Saint Anne and the Virgin in Leonardo da Vinci's workshops - Chambéry, Musée des Beaux-Arts (on loan at the Château du Clos Lucé), Emma Cornélie Wyatt de Vivefay, 1855, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
Saint John the Baptist, Anonyme d'après Léonard de Vinci, XIXth century, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

Da Vinci attributed a great deal of importance to light in his works: "Look at light and admire its beauty. Close your eyes, and then look again: What you saw is no longer there, and what you will see later has not yet come to be."

© Château du Clos Lucé, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

LÉONARD DE VINCI, INGÉNIEUR ET ARCHITECTE

Au Clos Lucé, le Maître italien étudie les plans d’un château idéal, notamment ceux d’un escalier à double révolution qui aurait pour partie inspiré l’architecte du Château de Chambord, travaille à l'aménagement hydraulique du territoire, imagine une cité idéale à Romorantin. Ici, il est libre de poursuivre ses recherches sur l'anatomie, les déluges, la botanique.

Costumes designed from Leonardo da Vinci's drawing © château du Clos Lucé, 2017, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

In Amboise, François I entrusted Leonardo with organizing royal celebrations.
Notably, he created the mechanical lion for the Argentan celebration. When the king struck it, it released lilies which fell to the monarch's feet.

Renaissance Great Hall © château du Clos Lucé, 2019, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

In the council chambers. Leonardo da Vinci received his distinguished guests. Notably, he welcomed François I, the nobility of the kingdom, and ambassadors and artists who came to see him.

The study, Pepper Ghost virtual reality technology © château du Clos Lucé, 2016, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

On October 10, 1517, da Vinci received a visit from Cardinal d'Aragon at Clos Lucé. According to an account from Antonio Beatis, secretary to the cardinal, Leonardo presented him with a painting of "a Florentine lady painted from life at the request of the late Giuliano de' Medici."

The secret underground, Unknown, XVIth century - XXth century, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

Oral tradition tells that a tunnel connected the Château Royal d'Amboise and the Château du Clos Lucé. François I often used it to visit da Vinci because he admired the depth of his knowledge.

Leonardo da Vinci's bedroom, Unknown, 1516 - 2011, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
1519 : LA MORT DU MAÎTRE
« Une journée bien remplie donne un bon sommeil. Une vie bien remplie donne une mort tranquille » Léonard de Vinci

On April 23, 1519, Leonardo wrote his will, bequeathing his manuscripts, his sketchbooks and his sketches to his beloved disciple, Francesco Melzi.
He died in his bed at the Château du Clos Lucé on May 2, 1519, aged 67.

Leonardo da Vinci & François I, Picot, second part of the XIXth century - 2009, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

François I: "No man possessed such a knowledge of painting, sculpture or architecture as Leonardo, but the same goes for philosophy. He was a great philosopher."

Château du Clos Lucé - Parc Leonardo da Vinci © Léonard de Serres, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

Le Château du Clos Lucé a pour légitime vocation de transmettre l’héritage, la mémoire et la connaissance sur le génie italien, resté intemporel et universel. Situés en Val de Loire, Patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco, berceau de la Renaissance en France, la demeure, son parc culturel, musée de plein air et sa Halle d’exposition permettent à un large public de comprendre et découvrir l’ensemble des savoirs de Léonard de Vinci.

Château du Clos Lucé
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Château du Clos Lucé

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