Leonardo da Vinci Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for his beautiful paintings, like the Mona Lisa. But he did so much more than just works of art. Learn about all the things that made Leonardo such a special person.

Renaissance Man

The Renaissance, (ren-a-sonce), was a time in European history that started in about 1450. It was a time when people were interested in learning more about science and art. Leonardo da Vinci was one of these people. He was born in April, 1452 in Italy, which was the center of this great new learning. Leonardo's father, Ser Piero, was a wealthy man, but his mother, Caterina, was a poor peasant. Leonardo loved to draw from an early age, and at the age of 14, his father sent him to work with a famous artist, Andrea del Verrocchio, to learn more and improve his talent.

Famous Art

And boy did Leonardo improve. Some people said that Leonardo was such a great artist that his teacher gave up painting because he was embarrassed that his student was better than he was.

One of Leonardo's most famous paintings is The Mona Lisa. Many people think that the woman in the painting is a mystery lady, but historians think she's really just a woman named Lisa del Giocondo. Her husband ordered the painting of his wife to celebrate the birth of their new child. The family never received the painting. Leonardo wanted the painting to be perfect, and he was never finished with the piece.

Leonardo only has 15 paintings still surviving. Often he thought his painting wasn't good enough, and he either did not finish the art or he destroyed it. He was also an artist that was famous for not finishing his work on time.

The Mona Lisa

A Great Inventor

Leonardo had a brilliant and creative mind, and he had notebooks full of incredible ideas and inventions. He was left-handed and often wrote his ideas down in writing that could only be read by using a mirror. Leonardo drew pictures and plans of helicopters, airplanes, parachutes and hang gliders about 400 years before people had learned how to use machines to fly!

Leonardo's notebooks are very famous even now. The Leicester Codex, which is full of inventions, is now owned by Bill Gates who is famous for being one of the men who helped make computers as useful as they are today. One of the most unusual things that Leonardo invented was a mechanical lion that could walk!


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