The Castle of Clos Lucé the last residence of Leonardo Da Vinci, this is the story of one of the most recognized French historical spaces.
The Castle of Clos Lucé, was built in 1471 on a 12th century foundation by Estienne Le Loup, steward of the court of King Louis XI.
Among many of its famous residents are Leonardo Da Vinci, Francisco I and La Gioconda.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE CLOS LUCÉ CASTLE
The house is arranged around an octagonal corner tower, which houses a spiral staircase and is made up of two two-storey buildings built in squares that surround said tower.
The elegant pink brick and tuff stone façade bears the architectural stamp of the 15th century.
The Clos Lucé castle, just 400 meters from the Amboise royal castle, is located in the Amasse Valley, a small tributary of the Loire.
It is surrounded by a large park full of greenery.
The Clos Lucé was acquired by Charles VIII on July 2, 1490 and became for two hundred years a royal residence and the summer residence of the kings of France.
THEIR FIRST INHABITANTS …
Luisa de Saboya, regent of France, lives and educates in it her two children, the ardent Count of Agulema, future Francisco I, and Margarita de Navarra, woman of letters and author of the Heptameron.
But the greatest, at least for his talent, of those who pierced the pointed posh of the Clos Lucé is Leonardo Da Vinci.
Invited to reside in France by King Francis I, Da Vinci settles in the castle in 1516.
Francisco I treats Da Vinci with all the honors and names him “King’s first painter, architect and engineer”.
He places his residence at his disposal, grants him a princely income of 700 gold shields a year and finances his works, only asks in return for the pleasure of listening to him talk, a pleasure he enjoys almost every day.
Surrounded by fervent affection of the King and that of his sister Margarita de Navarra, Leonardo Da Vinci is free to dream, think and freedom.
LA GIOCONDA IN CLOS LUCÉ
In the autumn of 1516, Leonardo Da Vinci accepted the royal invitation and at the age of 64 he crossed the Alps with some of his disciples, among them, Francesco Melci and Batista de Villanice, his faithful Milanese servant.
Leonardo brings with him from Rome in his leather bags, three of his favorite works. According to the testimony of the secretary of the cardinal of Aragon when visiting the Clos Lucé he had there.
“The painting of a lady from Florence painted in life by order of Giuliano de Medici”. Made between 1503 and 1514, the Gioconda is a clear example of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous technique of fading (blurred contours).
The other paintings are «El San Juan Bautista» that Leonardo finished painting in his Clos Lucé workshop and «La Virgen, el niño y Santa Ana», on which the teacher continues to work but leaves it unfinished.
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THE LAST YEARS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
Here in this house Leonardo Da Vinci lives happily his last three years, painting and working on his thousand passions.
He worked as an engineer, architect and stage manager, organizing wonderful parties for the court.
He inspires thought and fashion around him. He designed the plans for a model Castle for Francisco I in Romorantin. It seems to be inspiration from the Chambord spiral staircase.
He planned to bring together The Loire Valley of the Lyon region with a canal system.
After writing that: “no being goes to nothing” and considering “the certainty of his death and the uncertainty of his death”, he makes his will and entrusts his soul to God, “sovereign, teacher and lord”.
On May 2, 1519 he surrendered his soul, it is said that he wept on his deathbed for having offended the creator and the men of this world by not having worked properly in his art. As Francesco Melci, Leonardo Da Vinci’s favorite disciple, wrote in his June 1519 letter to his brothers.
“He left this world well prepared and with all the holy sacraments.”
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