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Finding Leonardo Da Vinci’s Descendants

Leonardo Da Vinci - Self Portrait

One of the greatest art masters in history is Leonardo Da Vinci. Considered the first true Renaissance man, he was a painter, astronomer, and inventor. He mentored many other great artists and most of his work would influence students for generations. The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are some of the most famous paintings in the world. The artist was a very private man, so very little is known about his life. Despite this, we know he was not known to have had any romantic relationships and fathered no children. So, scientists searched for his relatives connected to his father and half-brother.

Mona Lisa - Leonardo Da Vinci - Finding Descendants

Search for a Family Tree

Scientists have been able to study the remains of Leonardo and finally using DNA analysis have determined there are only 14 people in the world distantly related to him. This study began in 2016 by an art historian and leading Leonardo expert, Alessandro Vezzosi, and historian Agnese Sabato. The new paper published in Human Evolution describes their search through 21 generations and 4 branches of his extended family tree. They reviewed documents and records starting from before his birth, up to current times to follow the line of ancestry. Since he had no children, they focused on the branches that came from possible siblings and cousins. They have not released the details of his current living relatives to protect their privacy.

Female Head - Leonardo Da Vinci - Finding Descendants

To Discover Genius

The Leonardo Da Vinci DNA project hopes that modern DNA analysis can give new insight into historical figures. They hope the study of his DNA helps uncover possible hereditary illnesses and sensory perception adaptations. Their stated goal is to “better understand his extraordinary talents and visual acuity through genetic associations.” They aim to find the possible genetic roots of genius. Ausubel told ARTnews “In particular I’m interested in his visual acuity, most humans can see 40 to 50 frames a second, but if you look at [Leonardo’s] drawing of flying dragonflies and moving water it appears he had an exceptional temporal resolution, perhaps seeing at 70 to 80 frames a second.”

Vitruvian Man - Leonardo Da Vinci - Finding Descendants

If you love the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci as much as we do, feel free to browse the Da Vinci Gallery. There you will find his most iconic work, the Mona Lisa. There are also many of his religious pieces, such as The Last Supper and Salvador Mundi. We also offer oil-painted versions of many of his sketches, including the Vitruvian Man and the Female Head. You can hang your piece of history with one of these great works of art.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.