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During his brief stay in Venice, Leonardo da Vinci was a paid military engineer for the Venetian army, and claimed to be working on a painting of the famous Isabella d’Este, of whom he had made a cartoon while visiting Mantua. Despite promising her repeatedly that he was hard at work, no painting ever materialized.
Although many history books claim Leonardo only visited Venice once, it seems that he used his workshop there as sort of a secret retreat, returning to it repeatedly during his life.