In this engaging and thoroughly researched biography, Charles Nicholl uncovers the man behind the myth of the great Renaissance master. At times a painter, sculptor, inventor, draftsman, and anatomist, Leonardos life cannot easily be summarized. And yet, Nicholl skillfully traces the artists early days as an illegitimate child in Tuscany; his apprenticeship with Verrocchio in Florence; his service with some of the most powerful Renaissance families; his relationships with Michelangelo and Machiavelli; and his final days at the French royal court. In addition, Nicholl looks beyond the well-known stories of Leonardos famous masterpieces, and gives us a glimpse into the artists everyday life. We learn of Leonardos penchant for jokes, his fascination with flight, his obsessive note making, and even what he ate. Nicholl weaves these details together in a fascinating portrait that goes far towards revealing the enigmatic figure who continues to fascinate present-day readers.