AmboiseCulture & HeritageFamily activities Article published on31st July 2019

Interview with… Leonardo da Vinci

A mysterious chest

At first, we did not even notice it! With the size of a mail box, this strange wooden box eventually caught our attention. People at the Clos Lucé say that it’s always been there, on a dusty shelf in the attic, with some paper archives. If only they had tried! We had barely opened the lid that a mysterious mechanism went off, turning faster and faster. One spark later, we found ourselves where we would never have imagined we could go… 500 years in the past!

We are at the Manoir du Cloux, in the early 1519. Seating at his desk, a venerable white-bearded old man seems to enjoy the soup. He hardly lifts his nose up his bowl, as if our arrival was completely predictable. We do not believe our eyes; this old man is none other than Leonardo da Vinci! Read about an extraordinary encounter!

Master Leonardo, it is such an honor to meet you! This little box…

…is one my very last inventions. I’m so thrilled to see it working!

Please tell us about your life here in Amboise.

His highness King Francis has kindly invited me this charming red-bricks mansion, and its surrounding grounds. Here, I’m completely free to think about all the ideas that have been fascinating me for so many years. Architecture, botany, hydrography… My disciple Francesco Melzi assists me in the classification of the thousands of parchments I brought from Italy.

Léonard de Vinci en son château du Clos Lucé à Amboise Val de Loire
Do you meet with the king often?

Whenever he stays at the royal chateau, he visit me as regularly as possible. He has so many questions. As a wise old man, I try to provide him with all the answers, and we spend hours chatting about various topics. At his request, I have started working on the plans of a magnificent palace, that he wishes to build near the Sologne marshes.

We tell him about his heritage to our world, and show him pictures of planes, helicopters…

Such beauties! So it’s true then. What men have dreamt of, other man can achieve! Please show me more!

We show him other pictures, as well as photos of nowaday’s Clos Lucé, some of them with children joyfully trying his incredible creations [his face marevls].

It has always been my wish. That my researches and discoveries would benefit to a large number. That they’d be visible to all, and may lead to some greater discoveries!

Château du Clos Lucé Amboise Val de Loire, Léonard de Vinci

His eyes stop on a photo of a banquet organised earlier this year, in his tribute…

Che meraviglia! I myself organised several festivities for the King, dancing shows and costumed parties. I remember one memorable evening where the whole Court had been enchanted by some of my mechanisms. Some wonderful memories!

A young woman enters the room, and whispers a few words into the master’s ear

I beg your pardon gentlemen, but I must interrupt our meeting. My dear Mathurine tells me that my soup is getting cold. We may see each other soon, now that you know the way…

 

And so ends a unique encounter with a man, so unique himself! 500 years after he passed away, the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci still flies over Amboise, at the royal chateau and at the Clos Lucé. What if you made most of this anniversary year, to meet with this eternal genius.

 

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