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Leonardo Da Vinci

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Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452.Leonardo da Vinci was educated in his father's house receiving the usual elementary education of reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1467 he became an apprentice learning painting, sculpture and acquiring technical and mechanical skills. He was accepted into the painters' guild in Florence in 1472 but he continued to work as an apprentice until 1477. From that time he worked for himself in Florence as a painter. Already during this time he sketched pumps, military weapons and other machines.

Between 1482 and 1499 Leonardo worked for the of the Duke of Milan. He was described in a list of the Duke's staff as a painter and engineer of the duke. As well as completing six paintings during his time in the Duke's service he also advised on architecture, fortifications and military matters. He was also considered as a hydraulic and mechanical engineer.

During his long stay time in Milan, Leonardo became interested in geometry. He read Leon Battista Alberti's books on architecture and Piero della Francesca's On Perspective in Painting. Leonardo da Vinci illustrated Pacioli's Divina proportione and he continued to work with Pacioli and is reported to have neglected his painting because he became so engrossed in geometry.Leonardo studied Euclid and Pacioli's Suma and began his own geometry research. He sometimes gave mechanical solutions. He gave several methods of squaring the circle, again using mechanical methods. He wrote a book, around this time, on the elementary theory of mechanics which appeared in Milan around 1498. Leonardo certainly realised the possibility of constructing a telescope and in Codex Atlanticus written in 1490 he talks of making glasses to see the Moon enlarged.

In 1499 the French armies entered Milan and the Duke was defeated. Some months later Leonardo left Milan together with Pacioli. He travelled to Mantua, Venice and finally reached Florence. Although he was under constant pressure to paint, mathematical studies kept him away from his painting activity much of the time. He was for a time employed by Cesare Borgia as a senior military architect and general engineer. By 1503 he was in Florence advising on the project to divert the River Arno behind Pisa to help with the siege of the city which the Florentines were engaged in. He then produced plans for a canal to allow Florence access to the sea. The canal was never built nor

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