The Death of Leonardo da Vinci Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Pierre Louis Jean Casimir de Blacas commissioned Ingres to produce a depiction of the death of Leonardo da Vinci in 1818, some 300 years after the event actually occurred.

This artwork can now be found at the Petit Palais in Paris, which seems a particularly appropriate host for this piece, given its relatively small size when compared to the rest of Ingres' career. It's dimensions are 50cm wide by 40cm tall. It is perhaps the significant content of this painting that helped it to become regarded as one of Ingres' most famous works. The man holding the famous master's head is believed to be Francis I of France, hence why this painting was somtimes known as Francis I of France receiving the last breath of Leonardo da Vinci. Francis I had become King of all France just several years prior to the death of Da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most talented and influential humans in the history of the Western World. His impact went beyond just art, and his contributions included literature, architecture and invention. It is generally accepted that the composition that we find in this page was essentially fictitious. Leonardo da Vinci passed away at Clos Lucé on the 2nd of May, 1519. The most likely cause of his death is considered to be a stroke. Whilst the precise layout of this painting was inspired by artist and writer Vasari, who wrote extensively about the life of Da Vinci, many of the elements within it, such as Francis I, are not too far from the truth. He was good friends with the artist, for example, and they are known to have met at around the time of his death. There is more on his passing in this Leonardo da Vinci biography.

The Death of Leonardo da Vinci in Detail Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres