On May 2, 1519, Leonardo da Vinci passed away in France. Three years ago, the Renaissance man, 65, left Italy — and never to return — for France upon King Francis I's invitation.
Today, people in Europe are marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo's death by staging a series of events throughout the year.
In Leonardo's birth town of Vinci, a lock of hair that historians claimed could belong to the genius is on display.
Two Italian historians, Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato, said they discovered the hair strand in a private collection in the United States, and they expected to soon perform DNA tests on it.
They said they would compare the analysis to that of the living descendants of Leonardo's half brother they identified in 2016. (Leonardo didn't marry, nor did he father a child.)
Also, they would compare to Leonardo's presumed remains buried in Amboise, France.
But other historians and scientists are skeptical, saying it is difficult to trace Leonardo's unbroken family tree and the DNA might have been contaminated.
Also, Leonardo's original burial place was destroyed during the French Revolution, and his bones being removed to the current tomb are more of a presumption.
Whatever the result will be, the alleged discovery of hair simply makes an addition to the never-stopping craze for Leonardo.
If you plan for a journey to Europe, make sure you don't miss these remembrance activities and exhibitions. The Louvre will hold a grand exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci, from Oct 24 to Feb 24, 2020.
Or, you may now visit Central Academy of Fine Arts where 17 high-definition reproductions of Leonardo's oil paintings are shown inside a gallery.
No more than 20 paintings in existence are attributed to Leonardo. The Louvre owns five and one believed a co-work by Leonardo and his students。
The reproductions of all these six pieces are on show at CAFA.
You may wonder why and how the Louvre becomes the largest holding of Leonardo's paintings, as well as 22 drawings.
During his service at the French court, Leonardo was treated with esteem, honor and freedom to creation by the young French king, an avid sponsor of art and admirer of Italian Renaissance artists. He resided at a chateau called Cloux (now Clos Lucé), not far from the king's summer palace. He enjoyed the title of "First Painter, Architect, and Engineer to the King".
It is said that Leonardo went across the mountains of Alps, on mule, to reach central France, bringing with him unfinished artworks. At Cloux the artist spent the last years of his life drawing inventions on his sketchbooks, designing the king's gardens and adding finishing strokes to some of his great pieces of work, including the Mona Lisa.
The friendship between Leonardo and King Francis I was later hailed in The Death of Leonardo da Vinci in the Arms of Francis I, an 1818 painting by French painter Jean-August-Dominique Ingres.
Ingres envisaged in a poetic and romanticized way the scene of the master artist's last moment and the king collecting his last words.
In fact, Francis I was at the front lines when Leonardo died.
After Leonardo's death, the king purchased from Salai, the painter's assistant and heir to his legacies, the paintings which now become the Louvre's collections.