At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

15 April 2019

15 April

Leonardo da Vinci – painter and inventor


Artist regarded as most talented individual ever to have lived

Leonardo da Vinci, painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect and engineer, was born on this day in 1452 near Vinci in Tuscany. Leonardo’s genius epitomises the Renaissance ideal of possessing all round accomplishments and his wall painting of the Last Supper and his portrait of the Mona Lisa are among the most popular and influential artworks of all time. His surviving notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific enquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time. Leonardo was apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence when he was 15, in whose workshop he was trained in painting and sculpting. There are many superb pen and pencil drawings still in existence from this period, including sketches of military weapons and apparatus.  Read more…

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Filippo Brunelleschi – architect


Genius who designed the largest brick dome ever constructed

One of the founding fathers of the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi, died on this day in 1446 in Florence. He is remembered for developing a technique for linear perspective in art and for building the dome of Florence Cathedral. His achievements also included sculpture, mathematics, engineering and ship design. Brunelleschi was born in 1377 in Florence. According to his biographer, Antonio Manetti, and the historian Giorgio Vasari, Filippo was enrolled in the silk merchants guild, which also included goldsmiths and metal workers, and he became a master goldsmith in 1398.  Brunelleschi’s first architectural commission was the Ospedale degli Innocenti (Foundling Hospital) in Florence. In 1418, he won competition to design the dome of the new cathedral in Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore. The dome, still the largest brick-built dome in the world, would take up most of the rest of Brunelleschi’s life and its success has been attributed to his technical and mathematical genius. Read more…

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Jacopo Riccati – mathematician


Venetian nobleman who was fascinated by Maths

Respected mathematician Jacopo Francesco Riccati, who had an equation named after him, died on this day in 1754 in Treviso. He had devoted his life to the study of mathematical analysis, turning down many prestigious academic posts offered to him. He is chiefly remembered for the Riccati differential equation, which he spent many years studying. Riccati was born in 1676 in Venice. His father, Conte Montino Riccati, was from a noble family of landowners and his mother was from the powerful Colonna family. His father died when Riccati was only ten years old, leaving him a large estate at Castelfranco Veneto. After receiving a doctorate in law in 1696 be began to study mathematical analysis. He was invited to Russia by Peter the Great to be president of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences, also to Vienna to be an imperial councillor, and he was offered a professorship at the University of Padua, but he declined them all, preferring to remain on his estate with his family studying on his own. Read more...

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