Leonardo da Vinci was the illegitimate child of Ser Piero da Vinci and Caterina. The two had actually a short affair and also separated soon after his birth. After ~ the separation, Leonardo stayed with his father, that lived through his parents on an legacy in Vinci.

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Leonardo da Vinci had actually 17 half-siblings. 5 through his mother. And twelve an ext through his father.


Leonardo da Vinci was never married. There space no well-known love affairs with women. That is often asserted that Leonardo was homosexual. However, there is no concrete proof for this.


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nearly nothing is known about Leonardo"s mommy Caterina. The just certainty is the her surname was Caterina, due to the fact that Leonardo is pointed out in his grand Antonio"s tax return of 1457 as the illegitimate child of Ser Piero and Caterina. There are two theories around her identity.

Theory I: The peasant girl Caterina

In the tax returns native that period it shows up that over there was only one Caterina in the Vinci area. This Caterina (*1427) married in 1457 one Antonio Buti di Piero del Vaccha, called Achattabriga. The Buti family farmed in Campo Zeppi, about 1h walk native the Vinci estate. This marriage created five children: Piera (*1455), Maria (*1458), Lisabetta (*1459), Francesco (*1461) and also Sandra (*1463). Accordingly, Leonardo would certainly have 4 younger half-sisters and one younger half-brother top top his mother"s side. Due to the regional proximity, it is conceivable that the young Leonardo frequently visited his mother.

Theory II: The servant Caterina

Another concept is that Caterina was an eastern slave. Ser Piero was well acquainted with Ser Vanni, a wealthy banker in Florence. In his home there was a servant girl Chaterina. Slaves were unusual in Florence of that time, however nevertheless they exist here and also there. When Ser Vanni passed away unexpectedly in 1451, a year prior to Leonardo to be born, the bequeathed the servant Chaterina come his wife, Agnola. Ser Piero to be appointed executor that the will and therefore frequently stayed at the Vanni house, may even have live there temporarily. Therefore, some suggest he may have actually impregnated this Chaterina and brought the kid Leonardo come the farm yard in Vinci. Leonardo would have actually consequently also Arab roots. This concept is but highly controversial and has only few supporters.

In this context, it is amazing that Leonardo later applied for a position at the court the the footrest sultan, which to represent of the Arab descent theory see as an attempt to return to his roots. However, it can have been just Leonardo"s attempt to realize a monumental structure project, specific to construct a bridge over the Bosporus.

Theory III: Synthesis

One regularly reads that the peasant girl and also the servant are one and the very same person. Thus, Caterina was an asian slave that was impregnated by Ser Piero, then released into freedom and married to Antonio Buti. This is contradicted through the truth that prior to 1451, the year once there was a servant Chaterina in Florence, there was currently a Caterina in the Vinci area. So over there must have been two various Caterinas.

Leonardo"s connection with his mother

In any kind of case, it can be proclaimed that Leonardo was elevated by his head family, that is, there is no his mother in the house. She likewise does not show up in later documents. Just on 16.07.1493 thus at the period of 41 year Leonardo renders a short note "Caterina came 16.7.1493". At the time he stays in Milan. However, she died shortly after on 26.6.1494 native the adjust fever, as is recognized from an entry of a church near Leonardo"s residence. Also, at the very same time Leonardo provides in a note a comprehensive account that the funeral expenses of a Caterina. It appears reasonable to assume that this Caterina is his mother and that that took she in to treatment for her, more than likely after her husband died.

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Leonardo"s paternal family members was a family of notaries. Just Leonardo"s grandfather Antonio (*1372) made an exception here, when he determined to farm an estate in Vinci, just exterior Florence. Through his wife Lucia (*1393), that was about twenty years younger, he had actually two boy Ser Piero (*1427) and Francesco (*1435). Return born out of wedlock, Leonardo"s grandparents welcomed him native the start and likewise hosted Leonardo"s baptism. They baptized him top top the first Sunday after ~ Easter in 1452. Leonardo spent at least the first twelve year of his life ~ above his grandparents" farm before moving come Florence through his father. The grand lived come be approximately 90 year old and also probably passed away in the 1460s. Lucia, the grandmother lived to it is in at least 76 years old. When precisely they died we carry out not know.