Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chateau du Clos Lucé - France

"Leonardo da Vinci's Chateau - France" 5x7 watercolor

This little chateau in Amboise, France, is famous because it's where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life. The king of France, Francois I, was enthralled by the artist's creativity, skill and genius.  They became close friends and confidants; the king referred to him as "Pappa".  In 1516, when Leonardo was 62, Francois I offered him the position of "King's First Painter, Engineer and Architect", this beautiful house (close to the king's castle), and a generous pension. Leonardo accepted and moved from Rome.

Leonardo arrived with three of his paintings, the "Mona Lisa", "Sainte Anne", and "Saint Jean Baptiste".  He lived here the last three years of his life, painting and inventing.  In the evenings, he would frequently have intellectual discussions with the king, who would arrive through a secret tunnel from his castle.

This chateau is a treat to visit. The rooms are authentically furnished and you can easily imagine Leonardo da Vinci working on his inventions, and on his last painting "The Virgin of the Rocks"  The grounds are beautiful and are filled with large models of some of his most famous designs, including a machine gun, a spiral helicopter, and a tank.


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