In 1515, after his victory in Marignano, Francis I won the Milano district and invited Leonardo to France. A year later, the artist arrives at Château Clos Lucé after a journey through the Alps on a mule back, with his favorite student Francesco Melzi. He brought with him 3 paintings: Mona Lisa, John the Baptist and The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne. The artist arrives at the Manoir du Cloux (today’s Chateau du Clos Lucé) in 1516 and never left.
Leonardo is appointed as « first painter, engineer and architect of the King » and receives a salary of 1000 golden coins per year. He spent the last years of his life in France, splitting his time between the art of painting and his other passions until his death. In 1519, the master dies at the Clos Lucé, aged 67.
King Francis I would have greeted him himself there in 1516 with these words: « Here you will be free to think, dream and work ».