The three years in France (1516-1519)
The first certain date on Leonardo's presence in France is May 21, 1517 (Codex Atlanticus, f. 284 r).
At the death of his protector Leonardo had found himself alone, no longer considered for important artistic commissions. Accordingly, he promptly accepted the hospitality offered him by Kind Francis I of France, going to live in the Castle of Cloux, near Amboise.
At the French king's court, Leonardo returned to organising pageants, festivals and jousts, a sphere in which he had worked during his first stay in Milan.
During those years he took up again the project for rearranging his scattered notes, probably in view of publication, and probably planned to write a book on painting as well.
In his will, compiled on April 23, 1519, Leonardo left his manuscripts, drawing and painter's implements to his faithful disciple Francesco Melzi, who at his master's death assumed responsibility for definitively compiling the Book on Painting.
The tradition reported by Vasari, which served as inspiration for a number of paintings, states that on May 2 of that same year Leonardo died, breathing his last in the arms of the King of France.
Texts by Valentina Cupiraggi
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 05/mar/2008