Leonardo da Vinci, Italian artist

Leonardo da Vinci, Italian artist

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). 1856 illustration of the Italian Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci is most famous for his works of art, such as the Last Supper (1498) and the Mona Lisa (1504). Despite having little formal education, he kept extensive notebooks filled with his scientific theories, inventions and architectural designs. His notes show that he carefully investigated principles of mechanical and civil engineering. His schemes included grinding and polishing machinery, and flying machines. Most of his projects were never published nor constructed. After Leonardo's death his notes lay unnoticed in a library until 1796.

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