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Leonardo’s legacy

Leonardo died at Amboise in France on 2 May 1519, aged 67. Though he had planned so much during his lifetime – in sculpture, architecture, engineering, and the sciences – he had completed little beyond 20 or so paintings. He knew that his true life’s work was to be found in his private papers, and he took care to preserve his legacy, leaving thousands of drawings and dozens of notebooks to his pupil Francesco Melzi.

Many of these drawings and notes have survived to the present day, and they have been published and studied from the nineteenth century onwards. We now have a greater understanding of Leonardo’s work and thought than at any time since his death – an insight into one of the most fertile minds in history.