Did Leonardo die in the arms of his close friend the King of France?
Detractors say that the King was nowhere near Amboise when Leonardo died.
What is known is that on the day Leonardo died, François had just had a Royal Proclamation drawn up but left the room in a hurry without signing it.
It’s not too fanciful to think that the King did hold Leonardo in his arms but that The Master had already died.
It is entirely possible that when François, who was devoted to Leonardo, was told that his beloved soul mate was fading fast, he delayed going to Clos Lucé because he did not want to watch him die.
He did exactly that when he was told his mother, who he adored, was dying. He waited until she was dead before he went to her. Sometimes the truth is so painful, we put it off.
Artist and writer, Giorgio Vasari, a contemporary of Leonardo, said that Melzi, Leonardo's secretary, who was with Leonardo when he died, told him Leonardo died in the King’s arms.
In 1818, three hundred years after Leonardo’s death, the French ambassador to Rome met the French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
Ingres painted historical events especially those of the Renaissance.
The Ambassador commissioned him to paint Death of Leonardo da Vinci.
A copy hangs in Leonardo’s old bedroom at Close Lucé.
Even without the painting, the story will never go away that Leonardo died in the King’s arms. It could have happened. Whether it did we will never know.
Read more about Leonardo da Vinci and his connection with the Loire Valley in Leonardo da Vinci: The Amboise Connection (available from Amazon).
The book was written to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in 1519 at Clos Lucé, Amboise, France where he spent the last three years of his life.
Post by Pamela
Pamela, a Graduate and Tutor in the History of Art, trained as a magazine journalist at the London College of Printing and has been a freelance writer for over twenty years. She has a passion for history and has published several books on various subjects. Click hear to see all of Pamela’s books.