Leonardo da Vinci
Date of Birth: 1452
Despite the recent awareness and admiration of Leonardo as a scientist and inventor, for the better part of four hundred years his enormous fame rested on his achievements as a painter and on a handful of works, either authenticated or attributed to him that have been regarded as among the supreme masterpieces. Born in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci, in Florence, little is known about Leonardo's early life but he is thought to have received an informal education in Latin, geometry and mathematics. At the age of fourteen, Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea di Cione and qualified as a master in the Guild of St Luke, the guild of artists and doctors of medicine at the age of 20. His early work include paintings of the workshop and he was later commissioned to paint various works including The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Virgin of the Rocks for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, and a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo - arguably the most famous painting in the world - the Mona Lisa.