Question of the day: Leonardo da Vinci’s living relatives discovered

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He is one of the most influential artists in history who remains known to the world for hundreds of years after his death. Today, the living descendants of Leonardo da Vinci have been found in a decades-long project that hopes to provide better insight into the genius of the Renaissance.

Da Vinci …

… Has lost none of its star power. A study of a bear’s head, drawn on pale beige paper circa 1480, sold for a record £ 8.8million at Christie’s London auction house earlier this month. Measuring just 7cm square, he broke the previous record of £ 8.1million for his ‘horse and rider’ design at Christie’s in 2001.

Was he a real genius?

Polymath, Da Vinci – born in Anchiano, Florence in 1452 and died in France in 1519 – was a Renaissance genius, gifted in sculpture, architecture, science and engineering. His most famous paintings include the Last Supper and of course, the Mona Lisa.

Where are they now?

His Last Supper mural is still in its original location on the dining room of the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, while the Mona Lisa attracts over 10 million visitors a year to the Louvre in Paris. , which makes it the most visited work of art in the world.

And have his relatives been found?

The exhaustive plan to delve into Da Vinci’s family tree is documented in the new issue of the journal Human Evolution, revealing the painstaking efforts undertaken to show the continuity in the direct male line, from father to son, of the Da Vinci family. over the years, bringing together 21 generations and four branches that led to the discovery of 14 people currently alive can claim to be his descendants.

What is the aim of the project?

The authors say that “such results are eagerly awaited from a historical point of view” because although detailed information about their identity has not been made available to the public to protect their privacy, the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA project may use the results to improve understanding of Da Vinci himself. .

How? ‘Or’ What?

The authors say that “like the surname, male heredity links the history of record records to biological history along distinct lineages” and, therefore, “the current genealogy, which spans almost seven hundred years old, can be used to verify, by means of the most innovative technologies of molecular biology, the uninterrupted transmission of the Y chromosome… in order to confirm the recovery of the “Y marker” of Leonardo.

“Marker Y”?

The Y chromosome is passed down virtually unchanged from father to son, and the project team believe this will “provide useful material for scientifically exploring the roots of his genius, for finding information about his physical prowess and possibly premature aging. , on his -handed abandonment and his health and possible hereditary diseases, and to explain some particular sensory perceptions, like his extraordinary visual quality and his synesthesia, ”as continues Lenoardo’s attraction.


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