We all know him as the Renaissance man, the one who seemed to do everything. Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor and inventor, just to name a few of his many talents. And he gave us some of the most famous and recognized pieces of art in history, such as the Vitruvian man, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But that are many things you may not know about da Vinci — his run in with authorities, perverse sense of humor, and the many inventions that he first designed more than 500 years ago. Enjoy these 15 shocking and little known facts about Leonardo da Vinci!
It’s hard to believe some of the things da Vinci invented in the late 1400s and early 1500s. He actually sketched the first parachute, helicopter, and airplane. He also designed the first tank, and repeating rifle. And if that wasn’t enough, he designed the first swinging bridge, paddleboat and motorcar.
Although it’s common knowledge today, Leonardo was the first to explain that the sky is blue because of the way the air scatters light. Remember, this was more than 500 years ago!
Da Vinci grew up with his father, was home schooled and did not receive the traditional education of the day (Greek and Latin). He was also the product of unmarried parents: Caterina, a peasant, and San Piero, a notary.