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Database: Leonardo da Vinci

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Date of Birth: 1452.
Profession: Painter, Inventor, Designer, Architect, Scientist, Engineer.

The illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant woman, Leonardo da Vinci was raised in Tuscany. Like many destined to be superstars, he had no surname, Vinci being the town in which he was born.

At age 14, he was apprenticed to a Florentine painter, Verrocchio, who taught him chemistry, drafting, painting, sculpting and modelling. When he was 20, Leonardo established his own workshop, and then travelled across Italy, eventually painting his masterpieces "The Last Supper" in 1498 and "The Mona Lisa" in 1503-1507.

During his travels, Leonardo studied the world with unquenchable curiosity, recording his observations in mirror writing within his notebooks. He created designs for a helicopter, tank, solar power and a calculator, among others. He was also an engineer, designing garrisons, cannons and movable barricades.

Despite this epic list of accomplishments, Leonardo was hounded by his patrons for his chronic procrastination. Pieces frequently took years longer than he anticipated and many were never finished at all.

Leonardo also had a tumultuous sex life. Accused of sodomy in 1476, he was most likely homosexual. Salai, his assistant, was accused of stealing and spending too much money on clothes, but was also probably Leonardo's lover. Leonardo painted several pictures of Salai, including his famous "St. John the Baptist", and left "The Mona Lisa" to him when he died in 1519.

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