The great Renaissance polymath LEONARDO DA VINCI died on this date (b: 1452). As scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer he is the archetype of the “renaissance man.” When he was twenty-four years old, Leonardo was arrested, along with several young companions, on the charge of sodomy.

Leonardo’s most intimate relationships were perhaps with his pupils Salai and Melzi, Melzi writing that Leonardo’s feelings for him were both loving and passionate. It has been claimed since the 16th century that these relationships were of an erotic nature. Since that date much has been written about his presumed homosexuality and its role in his art, particularly in the androgyny and eroticism manifested in “John the Baptist” and “Bacchus” and more explicitly in a number of drawings.