Da Vinci, Leonardo, Mother of

For centuries it was believed that the legendary figure Leonardo da Vinci, among the best-known artists to come out of the Italian Renaissance, was the son of a Florentine notary and an Italian peasant. Alternative theories have gained credibility in recent decades, suggesting that Leonardo's mother, Caterina, was in fact a slave of Arab descent, and that this heritage influenced Da Vinci.

Da Vinci, who was raised by his mother only until the age of 4, at which time he was sent to live with his father and his father's wife, had numerous half siblings from his father's marriages and his mother's marriage to a man said to have been handpicked by Leonardo's father after the birth of Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci embodied the notion of the ...

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