"There has never been an artist who was more fittingly, and without qualification, described as a genius." .
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy. He was the illegitimate child of father Ser Piero and mother Caterina. He lived with his father after birth, while his mother moved away and remarried. This was a great start for the young da Vinci because he was exposed to many scholarly texts owned by his father and friends. In addition to this, his father was very concerned with the boy's future. It was for this reason that da Vinci was apprenticed at age 15 to Andrea del Verrochio in Florence, where he displayed his tremendous natural talent for painting. He created his first drawing in 1473, called "La valle dell"Arno." His skills were so great that Verrochio supposedly quit painting when he saw the kind of work da Vinci could produce. This is part of the reason for da Vinci getting his own studio in 1482. It was at this time that da Vinci was starting his solo career.
da Vinci worked for the Duke of Milan from 1482-1499. It was during this time that he started "The Adoration of the Magi", a work to be left unfinished. He also created perhaps his greatest religious work, "The Last Supper", in 1495, a marvel hardly matched in the area of Realistic painting. However, despite the importance of his painting during this time, his greatest accomplishments were in the fields of science and technology. In 1492, a year greatly known for exploring new horizons, da Vinci designed a flying machine. Although it was never put to use, the design showed da Vinci's versatility and genius. To add to his list of feats, da Vinci was already a knowledgeable man in the subjects of nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture (designing everything from churches to fortresses). His studies from this period contain designs for advanced weapons, including a tank and other war vehicles, various combat devices, and submarines.