12.09.

1494: The Last Employer of Leonardo da Vinci

1494: The Last Employer of Leonardo da Vinci

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 12 September 1494
  • The French King Francis I ruled 32 years, and was the last employer of Leonardo da Vinci. There is a legend that Leonardo died in his arms.

The French King Francis I, who was a sponsor of the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci, was born on this day in 1494.

Francis I was probably the most famous French Renaissance ruler. The Renaissance castles in the Loire Valley and near Paris, which were built or upgraded when he lived, also became famous.

It is interesting to note that Francis I was born at the Château de Cognac in the town of Cognac (the south of France). The French alcoholic drink cognac was named after that town. When Francis I was born, he wasn’t supposed to inherit the French royal throne. Namely, he was member of the Capet dynasty, but his father “only” held the title of Count. However, all his male cousins died (who were possible successors), and he became the new French king at the age of 20.

Francis I ruled 32 years. He was the last employer of Leonardo da Vinci. Allegedly, the famous painting Mona Lisa was kept at Château de Fontainebleau near Paris. There is a legend that Leonardo da Vinci died in arms of King Francis I, who was his patron. Allegedly, Francis I breathed in the last breath of this genius.

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