Leonardo da Vinci belongs to all, even to the French

There is no historical character wearing the precursor’s clothes better than Leonardo da Vinci, whose death occurred 500 years ago. And this is remembered by initiatives of every sort, not only in Italy and France, but also in the rest of the world. Media and scholars, common people and dignitaries, laymen and religious, all are curious to discover something new and different about the Tuscan genius, who helped shuttle Europe from humanism to Renaissance more than any other. Above all, in favor, image and likeness of his own thesis.

For the French, Leonardo is one of them, a real national glory even if the artist fled Milan in 1499, just to avoid a close encounter with Louis XII’s French army, prosthesis in the conquest of the city. He returned there only in 1508 at the French governor’s service, and lived in France, summoned by the new king, Francis I, only for the last two years of his life, from May 1517 to his death in Amboise, May 2, 2019. The French are convinced that the glorious scientific ride, of which they were protagonists in the 18th century, has in Leonardo da Vinci its inspiration: “a beacon that lightens with its rays, projected towards the future, the first steps of our modern art and science”, wrote the agrarian hydrologist Antoine Ronna at the end of the 19th century. All in all, the Mona Lisa is cosa loro, legitimately acquired too and not raided like other masterpieces.

For the people of Milan, Leonardo was above all a Lombardy’s genius, since he worked for a good part of his life in that neighborhood, almost for quarter of a century overall. In Veneto, Emilia, Lazio and Emilia Romagna, Leonardo is one of them, because even there, he left important signs. Even the Liguria region claims the invention of the iron wire during a stay on a trip to Genoa in Lodovico the Moor’s company. And, for Tuscany, to require his property is obvious and necessary. A few major characters are, like Leonardo, heritage of the world then known, and transmitted to the rest of humanity as a collective inheritance, if the Davinci’s miter lock is called like that even where they had, perhaps, invented that lock several centuries before.

Indeed, Leonardo was a precursor for every architect, painter, sculptor, stage designer, anatomist, botanist, musician, geologist, paleontologist, physicist, plus hydraulic, structural, mechanical, aerospace, and military engineer. To this eternal actuality contributes the brilliant idea to not leaving to posterity any treaty, but only a myriad of notes, almost encrypted; to be deciphered, interpreted, commented, popularized. In his notes, every scientist, artist, or inventor locates easily the starting point from which they can find inspiration in their discoveries. They do it by formulating the sentences and sketches that suit best their thinking and their objectives, so that for the entrepreneur, Leonardo becomes the archetype of the free enterprise. And, if the fashion of our times glorifies the great chefs, more or less starred, 500 years after his death, Leonardo adapts himself well even to anticipate the restaurants of our days, especially if self-sufficient, even though pre-Columbian.

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