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Leonardo da Vinci’s Secret Life: 7 Astonishing Discoveries REVEALED

Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life has been puzzling many for hundreds of years…until NOW!

You may think you’ve heard all there is about the celebrated Renaissance man who painted the “Mona Lisa” and awed the rest of the world with graphics of flying machines.

But the truth is that Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life wasn’t just about being a painter but also a musician, scientist, engineer, and mathematician.

Many of his scientific views and theories were later discovered to have a basis in fact, and his paintings have made an unforgettable mark on history. So what do we know about the life of this remarkable thinker? Where did his thirst for knowledge come from?

As one can imagine, his love of learning and his creative mind led him in many different directions. Chances are, some of our little-known facts about Leonardo da Vinci’s life might surprise you.

Let’s look at 7 astonishing discoveries about Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life to understand his incredible mind better.

Leonardo da Vinci's secret life
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Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life had a militant side

After leaving his patrons in Florence to start a new life in Milan, Leonardo needed to drum up some fresh business. His strategy was to cultivate a friendship with Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.

Sforza commissioned da Vinci to create what would have been the biggest accomplishment of his artistic career, which was a giant bronze statue of a horse. Unfortunately, that project was deserted when France invaded Italy at the end of the 15th century.

But that colossal warhorse wasn’t all that da Vinci had planned for MIlan ‘s Duke. Upon aligning himself with the House of Sforza, he set forth his plans to build multiple “war devices.”

His sketchbooks include plans for smoke machines, cannons, portable bridges, and even armored vehicles. To be fair, there’s no evidence that any of these war machines were ever created, including his flying machine.

Leonardo is credited with developing many inventions that would take decades, even centuries first to appear

The wide variety of things Leonardo da Vinci’s mind imagined boggles the mind. Most were drawn or described in his notes and only fully realized centuries later. Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life of visionary concepts includes the following:

  • An underwater diving suit, similar to scuba gear
  • Adding machine
  • Armored tank
  • Robot
  • Machine gun
  • Flying machine
  • Construction crane
  • Keyboard

Bonus fact about Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life: He wasn’t particularly friendly with rival artist Michelangelo. In fact, Michelangelo liked to taunt the revered and respected Leonardo in public locations.

Leonardo, 23 years older than Michelangelo, probably didn’t think much of the younger artist’s capabilities. But he kept his opinions of him more or less private.

He was persecuted

When Leonardo was a young lad at 24 years old, he was arrested along with several other male companions. The charges were: sodomy. They would eventually be dropped when no witnesses testified against the artist and his pals.

But Leonardo’s journals indicate that Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life included allegations rather devastating to a man who liked to keep his personal life private.

He may have also been frightened for his life. In 15th-century Florence, sodomy was a crime that was punishable by death. As soon as his case was dismissed, the artist left Florence and moved to Milan.

Did you know? Leonardo may have been born on April 15th, 1452, in Vinci, the Republic of Florence, Italy. But he died May 2nd, 1519, in Amboise, France.

Leonardo da Vinci's secret life
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Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian

Another detail of Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life is that he loved animals and refused to wear clothing made from them. He didn’t want to hurt any living being.

Leonardo’s secret life was revealed when his notes were discovered, and he stated:

“If you are, as you have described yourself, the king of the animals, it would be better for you to call yourself king of the beasts since you are the greatest of them all! Why do you not help them so that they may presently be able to give you their young to gratify your palate, for the sake of which you have tried to make yourself a tomb for all the animals?”

He, in fact, loved animals so much that art historian Giorgio Vasari says that Leonardo would purchase birds for sale when he was a young artist for the sole purpose of setting them free.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s secret life: Love

In 1469, due to his talent and his father’s contacts, da Vinci joined the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, the most well-known and respected in Florence.

Soon, he would become his master’s favorite apprentice, so some people speculated their relationship may have been more than a simple mentor-mentee association. Back then, homosexuality was illegal in Italy.

Even if we don’t have any hard proof of this aspect of Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life, he sure left some hints lying around, like many anatomically detailed male members’ drawings. And two names frequently recur in the discussion.

The first is Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as il Salai, and the second is Francesco Melzi. Both were his students, but they were also his alleged lovers. Giacomo Caprotti became Leonardo da Vinci’s apprentice in 1490 when he was 10 years old.

He came from a humble family in Milan and was a hell-raiser inclined to play tricks on his mentor and even steal money from him sometimes.

Salai, on the other hand, was beautiful and young and became the subject of many of da Vinci’s sketches and inspiration for some of his works, including Saint John the Baptist, which you can see today at the Louvre.

Leonardo spoiled him with gifts and kept him by his side even when it became clear the artistic career wasn’t for him. Salai ended up being more of a pragmatic type and assisted his master in keeping order in his professional and financial affairs.

The Biggest Lie about Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life: Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code

We’re all familiar with Dan Brown’s “historical” adventures of Professor Robert Langdon. But love him or hate him, the American novelist hit the jackpot when he created Langdon’s tale, primarily when The Da Vinci Code was published back in 2003.

If you haven’t read it, grab it HERE. The novel revolves around the idea that Christ didn’t die on the cross but continued living and married Mary Magdalene. Among their descendants are Medieval European rulers: the Merovingians.

According to Brown, only a few throughout history have known this, and they’ve all been members of the Priory of Sion. Facts about Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life include that he had been a great master of this organization.

Because of this, Brown continues, his paintings are chock-full of symbols identifying the secret his group protected. Brown expertly introduced his novel with a side note explaining he had based it on historical documents.

Well, Spoiler Alert: That was a big fat lie! And historians quickly refuted Dan Brown’s theory. Eventually, the author admitted to his wrongdoing.

Leonardo da Vinci's secret life
Photo by CobraCZ at Shutterstock

Bill Gates Has His Notebook

With such a massive appetite for knowledge, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life included him being a prolific writer. Many of his notebooks are in prominent institutions like the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Library.

But one, in particular, is in the hands of a more modern intellectual. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer, also known as the Codex Leicester, was bought by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in 1994 for the lump sum of $30.8 million!

We know that the 72-page notebook was written sometime between 1506 and 1510. And it contains many scientific musings on everything from the luminosity of the Moon and how the movement of water works to the reasons why the sky is blue and how fossils were created.

Were you surprised by the facts of Leonardo da Vinci’s secret life? Be sure to let us know in the comment section. And if you liked this post, Mindbending Facts has got you covered with 20 Astonishing Area 51 Facts Many Don’t Know About

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