In 1466, at the age of fourteen, Leonardo was apprenticed to one of the most successful artists of his day, Verrocchio. Verrocchio's workshop was at the intellectual centre of Florence. Verrocchio exposed a young Leonardo to a wide variety of technical skills such as chemistry, leather working, drafting, drawing, carpentry, painting and modeling.

By 1472, at the age of twenty, Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of St Luke; however, even after Leonardo's father set him up with his own workshop the young artist continued to collaborate with Verrocchio.


Leonardo da Vinci was the first truly "Renaissance Man," e.g. he was well-read, a brilliant conversationalist who could speak intelligently about any topic, and he was an accomplished artist, engineer and writer.

Da Vinci went from prince to prince on the strength of his reputation. He wowed his hosts with his brilliant talk and the originality of his ideas.

Professional Life (1476-1513 AD)
Leonardo had his own workshop in Florence between 1476 and 1481. In 1482 Leonardo helped secure peace between Lorenzo de' Medici and Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. When Ludovico was overthrown by a French invading force in 1499, Leonardo fled Milan for Venice. In Venice the renowned artist was employed as a military architect and engineer, devising methods to defend the city from naval attack.


Leonardo returned to Florence in 1500. In 1502 he entered the service of Cesare Borgia as an engineer. He rejoined the Guild of St Luke on 18 October 1503, spending two years designing and painting a great mural of "The Battle of Anghiari" and a painting entitled "St. John the Baptist" for wealthy patrons. In Florence in 1504, he was part of a committee formed to relocate, against the artist's will, Michelangelo's statue of "David."

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