25 Interesting Facts about Leonardo da Vinci

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Want to know more about Leonardo Da Vinci? Here are 25 interesting facts about Leonardo Da Vinci that you probably didn’t know before!

He’s one of the greatest artists in history

Few people in the world have missed the paintings, inventions, and discoveries that Leonardo da Vinci made during his lifetime. Only a small percentage has made a similar impact on the world we’re living in today. 

Da Vinci made drawings of things that weren’t invented yet

This is perhaps one of the most fascinating facts about Leonardo da Vinci. During his lifetime, he made thousands of drawings, and many of these resemble and describe things that are nowadays a part of our everyday life. 

His drawings have paved the way for numerous inventions, such as the parachute, helicopter, hydraulic pump, and the armored car just to mention a few such modern inventions. 

Leonardo da vinci inventions

Photo: Kwirry/Shutterstock

He didn’t get any formal education

Experts today estimate that Leonardo da Vinci had an IQ of at least 220 by today’s measurements, and his understanding of the world, human body, and aerodynamics all showed that he was an incredibly smart person. 

But, he never got any formal education in Latin or mathematics and was homeschooled. He later became an apprentice at the age of 15 to Andrea del Verrocchio who was a Florentine painter. In his 30’s he started to self-study both Latin and Mathematics.

Leonardo was an illegitimate child

His mother was a peasant, and his father was a notary and landlord. Leonardo’s parents weren’t married so he was an illegitimate child. He grew up at his father’s estate. 

He painted the Last Supper

The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings of all time, and it depicts the last dinner on the Holy Thursday for Jesus and his disciples. It was created in the late 15th century and is housed in Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.

The Last Supper by Da Vinci facts

Da Vinci was ambidextrous

He could use his left and right hand equally well, and thus was ambidextrous. Leonardo could also write with one hand and paint with the other at the same time. 

Mona Lisa is one of his most famous works

It’s commonly believed that “Mona Lisa” depicts Lisa del Giocondo, which was the wife of a wealthy businessman from Florence who ordered a portrait by Da Vinci. 

Some rumors claim that he worked for 10 years just on her lips. The painting is displayed in the Louvre in Paris, France. 

Mona Lisa portrait

Leonardo was known for his musical skills too

If you thought that Leonardo was “only” a painter and inventor, you couldn’t be more wrong. His musicality was actually one of his finest qualities according to eyewitnesses who mentions him playing instruments and singing divinely. 

He even invented his own instrument which is a combination of a harpsichord, an organ, and a viola da gamba.

He was the first one to study the flight of birds

There are several drawings that resemble flying objects, such as hang gliders and helicopters, and he was very interested in aerodynamics.

He was trying to develop flying machines for humans, and he tried to understand how birds were able to fly without flapping their wings. In total, some 500 sketches of birds and flying devices have been found.

The Vitruvian Man is another example of his works

The Vitruvian man is yet another famous work by Leonardo da Vinci, and it describes the relationship between mankind and geometry. It’s based on the ancient texts by the Roman architect Vitruvius and his own findings. 

Vitruvian Man

He was an advocate for animal rights

Although Leonardo himself never mentioned anywhere that he didn’t eat meat, many believe he was vegetarian due to his standing when it comes to the rights of animals.

He rarely mentioned things about himself, but he spoke from time to time about animal cruelty, and even bought caged animals to set them free. Some have even gone as far as claiming him a vegan, but that is false, however, it might be possible that he followed an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet.

He was an expert in the human anatomy

During his lifetime, he created hundreds of drawings of his studies of the human body. He dissected numerous human bodies to learn more and figure out how it all worked together.

Today, we know a lot about the human body, and we also now know how accurate some of his drawings really are. 

Leonardo da vinci information

5 x Fun facts about Leonardo da Vinci

  • He wrote in his notebooks that male-female intercourse disgusted him
  • Bill gates bought Da Vinci’s notebook for $30.8 million
  • He was a funny guy and wrote thousands of jokes
  • Michelangelo and Leonardo were artistic rivals
  • His last words were “I have offended God and mankind. My work did not reach the quality it should have.”

5 x Leonardo da Vinci facts for kids

  • The famous painting Mona Lisa was painted by Da Vinci
  • He wrote backward and his writings can only be read through a mirror
  • His surname wasn’t really a traditional surname, it just implied that he was from Vinci
  • He lived during the Renaissance
  • Leonardo never finished the Mona Lisa painting
Leonardo da Vinci facts for kids

Photo: Kwirry/Shutterstock

General facts about Leonardo da Vinci

  • Full Name: Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci
  • Born: 14/15 April 1452 Vinci, Republic of Florence
  • Died: 2 May 1519
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Mother: Caterina di Meo Lippi
  • Father: Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci
  • Occupation: Artist
  • Most famous works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Virgin of the Rocks, The Vitruvian Man

facts about Leonardo da Vinci

Famous Leonardo Da Vinci Quotes

  • “He who thinks little, errs much.”
  • “Movement will cease before we are weary of being useful.”
  • “What is fair in men, passes away, but not so in art.”
  • “Drawing is based upon perspective, which is nothing else than a thorough knowledge of the function of the eye.”
  • “Good culture is born of a good disposition; and since the cause is more to be praised than the effect, I will rather praise a good disposition without culture, than good culture without the disposition.”
  • “I know that many will call this useless work.”

Famous Artworks by Leonardo Da Vinci

Many of the works of Leonardo da Vinci were never finished or got destroyed when he was still alive or after his death. But these are some of the most famous artworks by Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Mona Lisa
  • The Last Supper
  • The Vitruvian Man
  • The Virgin of the Rocks
  • Head of a Woman
  • Lady with an Ermine
  • Salvator Mundi
  • Ginevra de’ Benci
  • The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
  • Self Portrait

How many of these Leonardo da Vinci facts did you already know? Leave a comment below!

October 5th, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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