Leonardo da Vinci Project, which has extensively been looking into the Italian polymath’s genetic record has traced 14 living descendants of him. Da Vinci, famed for Monalisa, The Last Supper, and numerous other mesmerizing artworks, did not marry or have his own children. However, he had at least 22 half brothers, whose records were analyzed to understand better the genius of the renaissance artist.
The research, led by art historians Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato, disclosed 35 living descendants of da Vinci in 2016, which included the Oscar-nominated film-maker Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019. While the 2016 announcement talked about only two male descendants, the latest development in the story found that he actually has 14 living male descendants.
The latest study, published in the Human Evolution journal, documents a continuous male line spanning 690 years, starting from Leonardo’s grandfather, Michele, who was born in 1331, through 21 generations and including five family branches, to the 14 living descendants today. Talking about the living relatives, Vezzosi said, “They are aged between one and 85, they don’t live right in Vinci but in neighboring municipalities as far as Versilia (on the Tuscan coast) and they have ordinary jobs like a clerk, a surveyor, an artisan.”
Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian genius of the High Renaissance. He was a painter, engineer, draughtsman, scientist, theorist, architect, and sculptor. He is regarded as one of the greatest painters in the history of art. Some of his famous paintings are The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, Vitruvian Man, Salvator Mundi, Virgin of the Rocks, among others.
The famous painter died aged 67 in Chateau du Clos Luce, France. He was buried in the chapel of Saint-Florentin, but this was destroyed during French Revolution. Bones were removed from the site and buried in the castle's smaller chapel, Saint-Hubert, but it is yet to confirm they are da Vinci's remains.