365 Days of Art: April 23 – Leonardo Writes His Will

Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (believed to be self-portrait), Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1510-1515

April 23, 1519

Leonardo da Vinci writes his last will and testament. He asks that 60 beggars follow his coffin, stipulates the number of masses to be held in the church on the day of his funeral, and dispenses his property. His friend and apprentice Francesco Melzi is the principal heir, receiving money, as well as Leonardo’s paintings, tools, library and personal effects. Leonardo’s other long-time pupil and companion, Salai and his servant Battista di Vilussis, each receive half of Leonardo’s vineyards. His brothers receive land, and his maid receives a black cloak edged with fur.

Leonardo dies in France less than two weeks later.