By Castle of Clos Lucé
Château du Clos Lucé
The home of Leonardo da Vinci 1516 – 1519
At the invitation of King Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy and settled at the Château du Clos Lucé in the fall of 1516. At the age of 64, he crossed the Alps and brought with him three of his masterpieces: The Mona Lisa, the Saint Anne and the Saint John the Baptist as well as his notebooks and manuscripts.
The Façade © château du Clos LucéCastle 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.
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..."
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."
LEONARDo DA VINCI, ENGINEER AND ARCHITECT At Le Clos Lucé, the Italian Master studied the plans for an ideal castle, in particular those for a double-revolution staircase that would have partly inspired the architect of the Château de Chambord, worked on the hydraulic development of the territory, and imagined an ideal city in Romorantin. Here he was free to pursue his research on anatomy, floods and botany.
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)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.
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."
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.
1519: THE DEATH OF THE MASTER
"A full day gives a good sleep. A full life gives a quiet death" Leonardo da 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.
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."
The Château du Clos Lucé has the legitimate vocation of transmitting the heritage, the memory and the knowledge of the Italian genius, which has remained timeless and universal. Located in the Loire Valley, Unesco World Heritage Site, cradle of the Renaissance in France, the residence, its cultural park, open-air museum and its exhibition hall allow a large public to understand and discover the whole of Leonardo da Vinci's knowledge.
Château du Clos Lucé