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Military engineer and architect in Cesena

1502

In Cesena in 1502, Leonardo entered the service of Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, acting as a military architect and engineer and traveling throughout Italy with his patron. Leonardo created a map of Cesare Borgia's stronghold, a town plan of Imola in order to win his patronage. Maps were extremely rare at the time and it would have seemed like a new concept. Upon seeing it, Cesare hired Leonardo as his chief military engineer and architect. Later in the year, Leonardo produced another map for his patron, one of Chiana Valley, Tuscany, so as to give his patron a better overlay of the land and greater strategic position. He created this map in conjunction with his other project of constructing a dam from the sea to Florence, in order to allow a supply of water to sustain the canal during all seasons.

In 1478, by age 26, Leonardo left Verrocchio's studio and was no longer a resident at his father's house. One writer, called the Anonimo Gaddiano, claims that in 1480 Leonardo was living with the Medici and working in the Garden of the Piazza San Marco in Florence, a Neo-Platonic academy of artists, poets and philosophers that the Medici had established. In January 1478, he received an independent commission to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of St. Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio; in March 1481, he received a second independent commission for The Adoration of the Magi for the monks of San Donato a Scopeto. Neither commission was completed, the second being interrupted when Leonardo went to Milan.

Leonardo's very accurate map of Imola, created for Cesare Borgia
The Adoration of the Magi (1481), Uffizi

Leonardo returned to Florence, where he rejoined the Guild of Saint Luke on 18 October 1503. He spent two years designing and painting a mural of The Battle of Anghiari for the Signoria, with Michelangelo designing its companion piece, The Battle of Cascina. In Florence in 1504, he was part of a committee formed to relocate, against the artist's will, Michelangelo's statue of David.

n 1506 Leonardo returned to Milan. Many of his most prominent pupils or followers in painting either knew or worked with him in Milan, including Bernardino Luini, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio and Marco d'Oggiono. At this time he may have commenced a project for an equestrian figure of Charles II d'Amboise, the acting French governor of Milan. A wax model survives and, if genuine, is the only extant example of Leonardo's sculpture.

Leonardo did not stay in Milan for long because his father had died in 1504, and in 1507 he was back in Florence trying to sort out problems with his brothers over his father's estate. By 1508 Leonardo was back in Milan, living in his own house in Porta Orientale in the parish of Santa Babila.

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Published in 10/09/2018

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Personal life:


15/04/14521476 (Aprox)Early Years in FlorenceEarly Years in Florence
1466Verrocchio's workshopVerrocchio's workshop
1478First ComissionsFirst Comissions
09/15131516Late Years
1490Assistants and pupilsAssistants and pupils
31/12/1567 • 22:53:32Fame and reputationFame and reputation
15/04/1452BirthBirth
02/05/1519DeathDeath
14821499First Milanese periodFirst Milanese period
01/15001508 (Aprox)Second Florentine PeriodSecond Florentine Period