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The 15 Most Important People in European History

The List:
1 Adolf Hitler
2 Isaac Newton
3 Albert Einstein
4 Queen Elizabeth I
5 Charles Darwin
6 King Henry VIII
7 Leonardo Da Vinci
8 Mahatma Gandhi
9 Otto Von Bismarck
10 Galileo Galilei
11 Winston Churchill
12 Michelangelo
13 William Shakespeare
14 Francis Bacon
15 Pablo Picasso
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No. 7 Leonardo Da Vinci

Born April 15th, 1452 an illegitimate son of a Florence, Italy notary, Piero da Vinci, and a young woman named Caterina in a small town of Vinci, Leonardo had artistic talent at a young age, he was apprenticed to Andrea Verrocchio in 1469, a leading Renaissance master of that time. Leonardo stayed and studied at the progressive Florence workshop where he acquired a variety of skills in the arts. He became a member of the painters' guild in 1472 and by 1478 he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. By 1482 Leonardo left Florence for Milan and worked for Duke Lodovico Sforza for the next 18 years. He was the court artist, and worked on many projects that saw him branch out into civil and military engineering, anatomy, mathematics, physics, and biology. In 1499, when Leonardo's patron along with the town of Florence fell under French rule during a time France was expanding its presence into Italy, Da Vinci left to seek work elsewhere.

Over the course of the next several years traveling between Florence and central Italy Leonardo worked as a map maker and civil engineer for Cesare Borgia a prince of Spain who was granted the title duke by the French king Louis X11. Finally settled back in Florence around 1503. Leonardo completed several of his famous works during this period of time, which included his most famous the "Mona Lisa", and others. He also continued his studies of anatomy and biology, even going as far as dissecting human cadavers to study and take sketches of the different body parts and functions.

In 1506, he was invited by the French government to come to Milan and work there. Which he did, only returning one more time to visit Florence during the seven years he stayed in Milan. Always fascinated with the structural way in which things worked, he started to devote more time to making and keeping his notes than to his art, and sculpturing. In 1516 Leonardo left Italy and became architectural advisor to King Francis I of France. Leonardo died May 2, 1519 at age 67.

Da Vinci has a direct impact on people's everyday lives. His name is known to basically every person in the world. He is regarded as one of the best artists of all time along with being talented in regards to architecture, sculpture, engineering, geology, hydraulics and the military arts. Also, in his spare time he drew parachutes and flying machines that resembled inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries. His ideas were obviously way ahead of his time.

The second reason for his inclusion is the large-scale impact on countries. Though Da Vinci did not have as large-scale of an impact as previous individuals, his artwork has been studied by artists and admired by viewers ever since they were painted. He brought attention to Italy in the early years of the Renaissance. The final reason for inclusion is the impact on long-term movements. Da Vinci wrote notebook entries in mirror (backward) script, a trick that kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death. He was a "Renaissance Man" because of his many talents during Renaissance time period and there would be many great artists to follow in his footsteps.

Birth: April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy
Nickname: Not Applicable
Education: Apprentice in the studio of Verrocchio (1469)
Occupation: Artist, Scientist.
Religious Affiliation: Catholic
Marriage: Never married.
Children: None.
Political Affiliation: None.
Writings: Many volumes of personal notebooks
Treatise upon the Flight of Birds in Aeronautical Annual, 1895.
Died: May 2, 1519 in Cloux, France.
Buried: Chapel of St. Hubert inside the area of the king castle in Amboise.

Links for Leonardo Da Vinci
CGFA: Leonardo DaVinci - http://sunsite.dk/cgfa/vinci/
Learning About Leonardo - http://www.thinkquest.org/library/lib/site_sum_outside.html?tname=13681&url=13681/data/davin2.shtml/
Vinci - Leonardo's Home Town - http://www.leonet.it/comuni/vinci/
Britannica: Leonardo da Vinci - http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=114893&tocid=0