What Do You Really Know About Leonardo da Vinci?

Meet the polymath

By Google Arts & Culture

LIFE Photo Collection

Inventor, musician, scientist, artist, mathematician, engineer, writer... there's more to Leonardo da Vinci than just the Mona Lisa.

Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 15.02.19

While he's most known for his art today, da Vinci actually only has relatively few paintings attributed to him.

The Last Supper (c.1515-20) by Attributed to Giampietrino and Giovanni Antonio BoltraffioRoyal Academy of Arts

Although they include some of the most famous, most studied paintings in all of art history. Including The Last Supper...

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... and Lady with an Ermine.

R: Rearing horse and heads of horses, lion and man. V: Notes and diagrams on astronomy and geometry and horse's head (c.1503-4) by Leonardo da VinciRoyal Collection Trust, UK

What's less well-known is that he created thousands of pages of sketches...

Perpetual overbalanced wheel (1480) by Leonardo da VinciMuseo Galileo - Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza


Recto: The fetus in the womb. Verso: Notes on reproduction, with sketches of a fetus in utero, etc. (c.1511) by Leonardo da VinciRoyal Collection Trust, UK


Leonardo da Vinci, Codice sul volo degli uccelli, f.8 rMuseo Leonardiano di Vinci

...and notes during his lifetime.

Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus f 846 vMuseo Galileo - Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza

Despite living over 500 years ago, da Vinci made drawings and plans for lots of modern technology including diving equipment, calculators, helicopters, and hang-gliders.

Superficial anatomy of the shoulder and neck (recto) (c.1510) by Leonardo da VinciRoyal Collection Trust, UK

For da Vinci, there was no divide between art and science – he would even dissect corpses to get a better understanding of anatomy for his paintings.

LIFE Photo Collection

Keep exploring the 1,800+ images and 80+ stories to get to know the Renaissance genius and his visionary creations.

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