Leonardo da Vinci
The 'Universal Genius'
We could grieve that Florence’s ‘universal genius’ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) spent so much time on his scientific interests and building fortifications, and that his meagre artistic output was largely unfinished or lost.
Leonardo trained with Andrea del Verrocchio and finished his master's Baptism of Christ in the Uffizi. All that is left in Florence is the Annunciation and the unfinished but fascinating ghost of an Adoration of the Magi, also in the Uffizi, sketches of the Battle of Anghiari from the never finished 'Battle of the Frescoes' in the Palazzo Vecchio, perhaps some drawings of birds, discovered in 2007 in the Convent of the Santissima Annunziata, and models of his gadgets in the Museo Leonardo da Vinci.
As the pinnacle of the Renaissance marriage of science and art, Leonardo requires endless volumes of interpretation. As for his personal life, Giorgio Vasari records him buying up caged birds in the market-place just to set them free.