Ten Days, Ten Drawings and Ten Facts

We, the marketing team, thought we’d share with you some interesting facts we have found about Da Vinci while preparing for the opening of the exhibition. We thought it fitting to give you the best 10 facts as are there are 10 days to go (eeeek!), 10 students helping with the exhibition and of course the 10 drawings… you can see this is becoming our favourite number!

Leonardo facts

  • Bill Gates bought Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester in 1994 for $30 million. A few pages were used as screen saver on Windows 95.

codex leicester

Leonardo Da Vinci, Codex Leicester, Pen and Ink,  c. 1510

  • Allegedly, actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s name is Leonardo because when his mother was pregnant with him, she experienced his first kick standing in front of a Leonardo Da Vinci painting.


  • Leonardo Da Vinci was home-schooled and lacked a formal education in Greek and Latin. However, this clearly did not limit his extraordinary mind.


  • Da Vinci’s studies of river erosion convinced him that Earth is much older than the Bible implies. Therefore, his revolutionary inventions and discoveries were not the only controversial thing about him, he challenged religious ideas too.


  • Art historians have discovered that Leonardo Da Vinci seems to have signed his initials on the right pupil of the Mona Lisa. They can only be seen through a microscope.



  • Da Vinci was arrested when he was 24, on the charge of sodomy. His case was dismissed due to no witnesses.


  • Leonardo Da Vinci translates to ‘Leonardo of Vinci’, referring to the town in which he was born.


  • He was left handed and could write in reverse, which is how he wrote in many of his sketchbooks.

Studies for casting an equestrian monument (recto)

Leonardo da Vinci, Studies for casting an equestrian monument (recto); Further casting studies, and lines of poetry (verso) c.1492-3, Recto: Pen and ink with some notes in red chalk. Verso: Pen and ink, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

  • Da Vinci did things many would not in the name of research.. he reportedly stole corpses from graveyards to aid his study of the anatomy.

Recto: Vessels of the thorax, with comparison of the heart and a

Leonardo Da Vinci, Recto: The heart compared to a seed. Verso: The vessels of liver, spleen and kidneys  c.1508, pen and ink over black chalk, Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

  • Leonardo produced maps which are still accurate today (e.g map of Cesare Borgia).
cesare borgia map
Leonardo Da Vinci, Town plan of Imola, c.1502

Looking forward to seeing you all at the exhibition to experience the work of this amazing man!

Claudia Hogg & Bethan Street

University of Nottingham


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