Born Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci on April 15, 1452 the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina he perhaps didn't have the best start in life but that was all soon to change. Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France, at the home awarded him by King François I.
It has been suggested that his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa is, in fact a self portrait. A theory which has been given some credibility by modern scientific methods comparing it with his self portrait in red chalk as an old man painted around 1515. No doubt Leonardo would have greatly approved of the scientific interest his paintings have created and all the speculation and intrigue would have amused him also. Compare the two pictures and see what you think!