Leonardo da Vinci's last days

Testament de Léonard de VinciChâteau Royal d'Amboise

Leonardo's will

Leonardo da Vinci's will was drawn up by Maître Boureau, royal attorney of Amboise on April 23, 1519.

The original document disappeared from the study archives, although historians today do not know how or why. It is the later-discovered Italian translation, addressed to da Vinci's half-brother, that served as a basis for the re-transcription in French presented here.

Recto: A man tricked by Gypsies. Verso: An inscription describing evil men (c.1493) by Leonardo da VinciRoyal Collection Trust, UK

By way of a windfall law (a provision that allowed the sovereign to inherit the belongings of a foreigner on their death), Leonardo da Vinci left most of his possessions to his faithful disciple Francesco Melzi. Among them were instruments, books, and many drawings, all taken back to Italy.

Tableau "La mort de Léonard de Vinci dans les bras de François Ier", par François-Guillaume Ménageot.Château Royal d'Amboise

The Death of Leonardo da Vinci

The painting from 1781 by the painter François-Guillaume Ménageot, is housed in the royal quarters of the chateau. This unique, monumental work (110 in X 140 in) was housed for a time at Versailles and in the Louvre and depicts a fictional scene as Francis I was not present at the death of da Vinci on May 2, 1519. In fact, he was in Saint-Germain-en-Laye at the birth of his second son.

The painter had wanted to highlight how close the two men were, basing the image on the writings of Giorgio Vasari, da Vinci's first biographer. The painting illustrates the myth that has developed around the death of da Vinci and his connection to the king.

Ancienne Collégiale Saint FlorentinChâteau Royal d'Amboise

Saint Florentin, the place of the original burial

3D reconstruction of the Collegiate Chapel of Saint-Florentin, the original burial place of Leonardo da Vinci. The building was razed between 1806 and 1810. The view seen here is part of taken from the 'HistoPad,' a tablet-based experience enhancer for visitors to the chateau.

Buste de Léonard de VinciChâteau Royal d'Amboise

Bust of Leonardo by the sculptor Henri de Vauréal, this Carrara marble bust was placed in the chateau gardens in 1869 to mark the original grave of da Vinci, as he had been transferred to the small Chapel of Saint-Hubert.

La chapelle Saint Hubert, sur les remparts du château royal d'AmboiseChâteau Royal d'Amboise

The current tomb of da Vinci is in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert. His remains were moved there in 1874. The tombstone was remade in 1930 by the Italian artist La Monaca and the medallion by sculptor Jean Cardot was added in the 2000s.

Tombe de Léonard de VinciChâteau Royal d'Amboise

The tomb of da Vinci is in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, in the gardens of the Chateau Royal d’Amboise and is open to the public every day.

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