Places where Leonardo lived and worked

Places where Leonardo lived and worked

In 1469 Leonardo was not listed among the «mouths» in the family of his father, in the Commune of Vinci. For this reason, it was commonly believed that Leonardo had moved to Florence in that year. In reality, it is probable that his training in art began even earlier, and that he had lived in Florence much before this date. The last certain information shows that Leonardo lived in Palazzo Martelli in 1508. The last of his projects for Florence dates instead from 1515, when he worked on the Medicean quarter.

  • In the mid-fifteenth century, the Verrocchio family had owned a house near Santa Croce. Here Andrea del Verrocchio lived: in the close vicinity was his shop, in which Leonardo too worked, his presence being documented at least in 1476. At a later time, he rented a shop near the Cathedral.

  • The Anonymous Gaddiano writes that Leonardo «stayed as a young man with the Magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici, who provided for him and had him work for him in the garden on Piazza di San Marco in Florence». The "Garden of Lorenzo" was situated at the corner of Piazza San Marco between today's Via Cavour and Via Arazzieri. Vasari recalls the presence in the garden of artists close to Leonardo, such as Rustici, Lorenzo di Credi, as well as Baccio da Montelupo and Andrea Sansovino. When Charles VIII entered Florence in 1494, determining the flight of the Medici, the Garden was sacked by the enraged populace.

  • Returning to Florence in 1500, Leonardo settled in the convent of the Santissima Annunziata, having been commissioned for executing the paintings for the high altar of the church: Vasari informs us that in those rooms he worked on the cartoon of the Saint Anne, very much admired; the location of the latter, which is not the one now in the National Gallery of London, is still unknown.

  • In the fall of 1503 Leonardo was given the keys to the Pope's Room in Santa Maria Novella, where he was to make the preparatory cartoon for the Battle of Anghiari. The cartoon was then brought to Palazzo Vecchio, where it was used for transferring the composition onto the wall. The greatest artists of the early Renaissance had worked in Santa Maria Novella, which certainly represented a fundamental lesson for Leonardo.

  • In 1478 Leonardo had been commissioned to paint an altarpiece representing The Vision of St. Bernard for the chapel of San Bernardo in Palazzo della Signoria, but he did not finish the work. It was Filippino Lippi who finished the painting, that became through a succession of iconographic transformations, a Virgin enthroned with four saints and two angels (now in the Uffizi). In 1503 Leonardo was commissioned to paint, for the Great Council Hall in Palazzo della Signoria, a grandiose wall painting representing the Battle of Anghiari. Plans called for another great painting on the opposite wall, a Battle of Cascina for which Michelangelo was chosen.

  • Leonardo's relations with the "Spedale" of Santa Maria Nuova are documented at various moments during his entire lifetime. Here he conducted anatomical studies, he deposited cases of printed books, manuscripts and albums of drawings, and here he had also his bank. Before leaving for Milan in 1506, he left 150 florins that were to serve as guarantee to the Florentine Signoria that he would return to the city within three months. Leonardo did not return to Florence in time, and the Signoria confiscated the money. A tradition, which has turned out to be more legend than documented history, tells of two great stone basins situated in the undercroft of the Hospital and used for the cadavers studied by Leonardo.

  • On March 22, 1508, at the end of what is considered Leonardo's second stay in Florence, he lived in via degli Spadai (today's via Martelli), «in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli», together with the sculptor Giovan Francesco Rustici, whom he assisted in sculpting three bronze statues to adorn the outside of the Baptistery (the Preaching of St . John). In this Palace, later encapsulated in the Scolopi boarding school, Leonardo began to compile a part of the Codex Arundel.