Based on present knowledge and thorough historical and critical research, the autograph works of Leonardo extant in Tuscany are limited in number and are almost all conserved in the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence. They are connected to the early part of his life, but in them he already exhibits a striking maturity and mastery of his art, as for example in the landscape drawing dated “5 agosto 1473” and in his revolutionary painting of the Adoration of the Magi, begun when the artist was 30 years of age and never completed.
During Leonardo’s first Florentine period he was an apprentice of Andrea del Verrocchio, whose studio produced a steady stream of paintings, although it is not always possible to identify with certainty the hand of the young Leonardo in them. Unfortunately, most of his early drawings (and certainly all of those produced before 1473), as well as any possible works of sculpture or the applied arts, have been lost.
Furthermore, the fate of works mentioned in contemporary sources, such as the preparatory drawing for the Saint Anne in the Church of the Santissima Annunziata and the cartoon for his famous Battle of Anghiari, is not known. Finally, greatly to be regretted is the absence of any autograph manuscripts by Leonardo in Florence: the grand duke Cosimo II de’ Medici have been dissuaded from acquiring them by his counselors, who judged these folios to be “very trivial things” and quite unworthy of “such a great Prince”. Thus it came about that almost all of Leonardo’s manuscripts ended up in Spain. Some of them were later acquired by the 2nd earl of Arundel, others returned to Italy (including the Codex Atlanticus and the manuscripts now conserved in Paris), and two were rediscovered in the Biblioteca Nacional de España in the second half of the twentieth century.
A copy of Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s Trattato di architettura civile e militare (Ash. 361, circa 1484) with five marginal notes in Leonardo’s hand datable to around 1504 is conserved in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana.