Leonardo da Vinci

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By Hilary White

Use the works of the great Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci as the inspiration for a wide range of exciting activities.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated by the world around him. From art to anatomy, engineering to vegetarianism, his brilliant and curious mind jumped from one interest to another. He was born in 1452, in a small Tuscan village called Vinci. He spent much of his childhood in the company of his uncle Francesco, who instilled in him a love of nature and was willing to answer his endless questions. At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice to the great Florentine sculptor Verrocchio.

Fifteenth century Florence was an exciting time to be a young artist. Wealthy patrons were willing to spend lots of money to commission great works and Florence became a gathering place for innovative and influential painters, sculptors and architects. A strict but kindly master, Verrocchio knew that he had a talented young apprentice in Leonardo da Vinci – but could he have predicted that Leonardo would become one of the greatest artists of all time? And did he realise that his youthful protégé had many other interests aside from painting?

Good at everything, strong and handsome, Leonardo was the epitome of ‘Renaissance Man’. In spite of a long and eventful life, he never lost his youthful energy and curiosity, and his many interests and surviving work can still inspire the children of today. Try the following activities with your class and give them a glimpse into the fascinating world of Leonardo da Vinci.


  1. Leonardo’s notebook
  2. Painting on the walls
  3. Machines and inventions
  4. The anatomy of a portrait
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