Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 in Vince, Italy. Leonardo’s mastery in art, science and engineering have earned him a place among the most prolific geniuses of history. He was one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, a period when the arts and sciences flourished.

Born in 1452 as an illegitimate son of Ser piero da Vinci, da Vinci was sent to Florence in his teens to apprentice as a painter under Andrea del Verrocchio. He quickly developed his own artistic style which was unique and contrary to tradition, even going so far as to devise his own special formula of paint. His style was characterized by diffuse shadows and subtle hues and marked the beginning of the High Renaissance period. Like many great original efforts, da Vinci’s artistic style was largely unpopular for the next quarter century.

Later Da Vinci became the court artist for the duke of Milan. During this period he painted the Virgin of the Rocks and the Last Supper. It was during the period between 1503 and 1506, while working primarily in Florence, that he had his greatest following and painted such classics as the Mona Lisa. Throughout his life he also served various other roles, including civil engineer and architect (designing mechanical structures such as bridges and aqueducts), and military planner and weapons designer (designing rudimentary tanks, catapults, machine guns, and even navel weapons).