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Cendrine Marrouat Photography: Château du Clos Lucé, France

Originally known as Château de Cloux, Clos Lucé was a built as a small fortress by Hugues d'Amboise in the 15th century. It is located in the vicinity of Château d'Amboise; both buildings are connected by an underground passageway.

In 1490, Close Lucé became the summer residence of the kings of France. Charles VIII acquired it for his wife, Anne de Bretagne. Francis I and his sister Marguerite de Navarre also used it until they "gifted" it to Leonardo da Vinci, whom the former had named “Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King." The Italian polymath arrived there with three of his paintings -- the Mona Lisa, Sainte Anne, and Saint Jean Baptiste. He stayed at Clos Lucé until his death, on May 2nd, 1519.

Today, the place is a museum dedicated to the prodigy. You will find 40 models of the machines he designed, as well as a copy of the Mona Lisa. Ambroise Dubois painted it in 1654. 

Leonardo has always fascinated me, and not just because of his incredible talents as a painter. He was interested in and mastered many other topics, such as architecture, science, mathematics, engineering, anatomy, geology, and cartography. One of his most fascinating drawings is the Vitruvian Man, which depicts the ideal human proportions with geometry according to ancient Roman architect Vitruvius.

According to Wikipedia, da Vinci "conceptualised flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. Some of his smaller inventions, however, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. He made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science."

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