Leonardo Da Vinci, the great Renaissance artist, inventor & anatomist — has 14 living male relatives, a latest analysis of his genealogy reveals. The new genealogy could 1 day help researchers determine if bones interred in French chapel belong to the Italian genius.
Historians Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato have spent quite a decade tracing the genealogy of the famed “Mona Lisa“ painter. Their map stretches across 690 years, 21 generations & 5 family branches, and can be vital in helping anthropologists sequence the DNA of Leonardo by sequencing the DNA of his descendants, the researchers say.
Beyond establishing the identity of his possible remains, sequencing the artist’s DNA could also give scientists a far better understanding of “his extraordinary talents — notably, his visual-acuity , through genetic associations,” claim representatives from the Da Vinci DNA Project, an initiative that aims to use the genetic information to make 3D images of Leonardo through a process called DNA phenotyping.
Da Vinci was a painter, architect, inventor, anatomist, engineer & scientist. Primarily self-educated, he filled dozens of secret notebooks with fanciful inventions and anatomical observations. To accompany famous sketches like the “Virtruvian Man”, Leonardo would write messages coded into his own shorthand, mirrored back to front to-hide his studies from prying eyes. along side detailed drawings of human anatomy, taken from observations of dissected cadavers, his notebooks contain designs for bicycles, helicopters, tanks & airplanes.
In a new study, Vezzosi & Sabato used historical documents from archives alongside direct accounts from surviving descendants to trace 5 branches of the Leonardo genealogy . consistent with the historians, Leonardo was a part of the 6th gen of da Vincis.
Researching Leonardo family history is difficult because just one of his parents are often properly traced. Born out of wedlock within the Tuscan town of Anchiano, Leonardo was the son of Florentine lawyer Ser Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman named Caterina. Research by Martin Kemp, an historian at Oxford University , suggests that Caterina was a 15-year-old orphan at the time of da Vinci’s birth. At age 5, the young Leonardo was taken to his family estate within the town of Vinci (from which his family took their surname ) to live life together with his grandparents.
When Da Vinci died on 2 May, 1519, at age 67, he had no known children, and his remains were lost, meaning there was no reliable DNA to research . As a result, parts of his ancestry became shrouded in mystery.
Leonardo’s original burial was recorded at the chapel of Saint-Florentin at the Chateau d’Amboise, a manor in France’s Loire Valley. The chapel was left to ruin after the French Revolution and later demolished. Contemporaneous accounts allege that a full skeleton was exhumed from the location and moved to the nearby Saint-Hubert chapel, but whether or not they’re actually Leonardo’s bones remains a mystery.
The new genealogy , which starts in 1331 with family patriarch Michele, revealed 14 living relatives with a good variety of occupations, including office workers, a pastry chef, a blacksmith, an upholsterer, a porcelain seller and an artist.
The researchers will determine whether the human remains from the Loire Valley chapel belong to Leonardo by comparing the Y chromosome in those bones to the Y chromosome belonging to da Vinci’s male relatives. The Y chromosome is passed from father to son and remains virtually unchanged for as long as 25 generations, consistent with the researchers.
In addition, finding fragments of da Vinci genetic-code could help art historians verify the authenticity of artworks, notes & journal entries supposedly created by the Italian Renaissance man by comparing his discovered DNA with DNA traces found on the pieces.
The researchers published in the journal Human Evolution.