New research reveals that Leonardo da Vinci, the painter of the Mona Lisa and icon of the Renaissance, was only half Italian because his mother was a slave from the Caucasus.
Da Vinci’s mother has long been believed to be a Tuscan peasant, but University of Naples professor Carlo Vecchi, who specializes in the ancient master, believes the truth is more complex.
“Leonardo’s mother was a Circassian slave woman… taken from her home in the Caucasus Mountains and sold and resold several times in Constantinople and then Venice before arriving in Florence,” he told AFP at the launch of a new book.
In the Italian city, she met a young notary, Piero (Peter) da Vinci, “and their son was called Leonardo.”
The findings of Vicki, who spent decades studying da Vinci and curating his work, are based on the archives of the city of Florence.
New research reveals that Leonardo da Vinci was only half Italian and his mother was a slave from the Caucasus
They formed the basis of a new novel – “The Smile of Caterina, Leonardo’s Mother” – while shedding new light on the artist himself.
Any new discovery about da Vinci is hotly contested by the small world of experts who studied him, but Vecchi, who is recognized as a leading researcher in the field, insists the evidence exists.
Among the documents he finds, one written by da Vinci’s father himself, is a legal document to free Katrina, to “restore her freedom and restore her human dignity.”
The document is dated 1452 – the year of da Vinci’s birth – and was presented at a press conference at the headquarters of the publishing house Giunti in Florence on Tuesday.
Vici said it was written by “the man who loved Caterina when she was still a slave, who gave her this child named Leonardo and who was also the one who helped free her”.
His assertion presents a dramatic change of perspective towards da Vinci, whose mother, Caterina di Meo Lippi, is believed to have been a young peasant from Tuscany, not a slave.
Historians already knew that due to the nature of his birth in a village outside Florence, da Vinci was prevented from following in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a profession.
Vecce’s assertion presents a dramatic change of perspective for da Vinci, whose mother, Caterina di Meo Lippi, is believed to have been a young Tuscan peasant woman. Above: The expert with his new book
Carlo Vecchi, an expert on Leonardo’s work, used his findings to write a novel called “The Smile of Caterina, Leonardo’s Mother” (pictured)
Instead, he began his career as an apprentice in the studio of the Florentine painter Verrocchio.
At the age of eighteen, he became a member of the prestigious guild of painters, wearing pink tunics and sporting a long beard.
Vecce believed that the difficult life of his “immigrant” mother had an influence on her son’s brilliant work.
“Catherina left Leonardo a great legacy, to be sure, the spirit of freedom, which inspires all his intellectual scientific works,” he said.
‘He didn’t let anything stop him,’ said Vichy.
The notion that this example of a “Renaissance man” is the product of such a union may be considered by some to be too good to be true.
But Dr. Martin Landros, himself a leading da Vinci researcher, said Professor Vicki’s work was “very important and interesting”.
He told MailOnline it gives scientists “a lot of information” about Katrina and adds to discussions about who she might be.
“Professor Vicki found something that not only shows that, but shows where she was originally from, but was sold into slavery in northern Italy and then trafficked to work in the Vinci family home,” he said.
“It was not known what its actual history was and this document tells us something about that.”
Paolo Galluzzi, da Vinci historian and member of the prestigious Linci scientific academy in Rome, added his approval, saying that the research is “by far the most convincing.”
Speaking to AFP, he highlighted the quality of the documents discovered by his colleague, adding that “there should remain a minimum level of suspicion, because we cannot do a DNA test.”
Galluzzi said he wasn’t surprised, either.
He said that the period in which da Vinci was born represents “the beginning of modernity and the exchanges between peoples, cultures and civilizations that gave birth to the modern world.”
In addition to the fact that he was illegitimate, da Vinci was also left-handed, at a time when it was considered a curse from the devil.
It is also believed that da Vinci was homosexual, at a time when homosexuals living in Florence could be buried alive head first.
When he was just 24 years old, the polymath and three of his friends were accused of homosexual activity. Fortunately, the case was dismissed.
It was his exploits with the paintbrush that made him a figure of legend.
Leonardo da Vinci is the painter of the “Mona Lisa” (pictured) and a symbol of the Renaissance
In addition to the Mona Lisa, his other works included the famous Last Supper – a depiction of Jesus Christ’s last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion
Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, a drawing of a nude man in two superimposed poses, is one of the most iconic images of Western civilization.
In addition to the Mona Lisa, his other works included the famous painting The Last Supper – it depicts the last meal of Christ with his disciples before his crucifixion.
Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, a depiction of a nude man in two superimposed poses, is considered one of the most iconic images of Western civilization.
But during his lifetime, da Vinci was probably best known for his achievements in the fields of civil engineering, music, architecture, sculpture, and military machinery.
He is best known for designing versions of airplanes and helicopters, centuries before the first powered flight.
And his dissections of human cadavers, at a time when the practice was taboo, shed new light on muscles and the nervous system.
Among his anatomical discoveries was the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain.
Upon his death, he left his notes to the young novice Francesco Melzi. Then Melzi’s son inherited the notes and left them in the attic cupboard.
They remained anonymous and unpublished until 200 years after da Vinci’s death.
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