Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most outstanding intellectuals of the Renaissance. An entirely self taught intellectual giant, he was endlessly curious about the physical world. His notebooks reveal the breadth of his research into subjects as diverse as anatomy, botany, physics, and engineering, including his extraordinary anticipation of modern technology. The author traces his life from birth through to his apprenticeship in Florence and work in Milan, Rome and Amboise. His skill as an artist is captured in reproductions of pages from his beautifully illustrated notebooks, and masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa.