Irma A. Richter was an artist, translator, and Leonardo scholar. Thereza Wells is Head of Scientific Analysis at Universal Leonardo. Martin Kemp is University Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford (Trinity College) and the author of The Oxford History of Western Art and Leonardo.
Often called the Universal Man, this genius in science, engineering, aeronautics, technology was also one of the world's greatest painters, as well as a sculptor, an architect, and a town planner. Born in Vinci, Leonardo was apprenticed as a 14-year-old to the sculptor-painter Andrea Verrocchio in Florence. In 1482, he went to Milan as a military engineer, sculptor, and architect, and remained there for 17 years. While in Milan, he designed the crossing tower of the Milan cathedral and, among many other works, painted The Last Supper (1496--97), a mural in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. During these years in Milan, da Vinci also composed his Treatise on Painting (1489--1518) and filled his notebooks. In 1499, da Vinci returned to Florence. The Mona Lisa (1503--06) dates from that period. After a short and unsuccessful time in Rome (1513--16), he settled in France under the patronage of Francis I. He died in Amboise at the age of 67. A supposedly lost manuscript of da Vinci's was rediscovered at the National Library in Madrid in 1965 and published in 1974.
Martin Kemp is professor of the history of art at Oxford University.