A woman studying Leonardo da Vinci's painting, The Last Supper.

A female student Leonardo da painting by Vinci, The Last Supper.
Picture: Antonio Calanni (PA)

A complete overhaul of the family tree of Leonardo da Vinci links an unbroken male line that spans from the artist’s grandfather to 14 living descendants, a span of 690 years that spans 21 generations.

New study, published in Human Evolution, adds significant clarity to the Da Vinci family tree, in a project that began in the early 1970s. The authors of the new article, art historians Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato, claim that their findings will now be crossed with genetic data belonging to living and deceased members of Leonardo da family from Vinci. Excitingly, the next DNA study could shed new light on humans himself, argue the authors.

The famous Renaissance artist, architect and inventor never had children, but Leonardo had at least 22 half-brothers, as he was born out of wedlock. Recently consulted historical documents and sources have enabled Vezzosi and Sabato to trace the male line back to Leonardo’s grandfather, Michele, born in 1331. Leonardo himself was born on April 15, 1452 and is famous for works such as the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper, and the Vitruvian man.

The newly updated family tree consists of five main branches, which researchers trace from Leonardo’s father, Ser Piero, and his half-brother, Domenico. The team documented a continuous male line that spans 21 generations and includes 14 living descendants, the youngest of which is just 1 year old. Age. Of these 14, only one was already known to the team.

“They are between one and 85 years old, they don’t live in Vinci but in the neighboring towns as far as Versilia (on the Tuscan coast) and they have ordinary jobs as clerk, surveyor, craftsman,” said Vezzosi. Told New Italian point of sale Ansa.

Five years ago, the same team identified 35 living parents of Leonardo, some of them from the female line, but they were mostly indirect, according to to the Guardian. The multi-year project involves the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci, the Leonardo da Vinci Heritage Association, the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., among other institutions.

The new research now paves the way for a genetic analysis involving the Y chromosome, which is transmitted exclusively to male descendants.

“Like the surname, male inheritance links the history of registry records to biological history along distinct lineages,” it reads. the summary of the study. “As a result, the current genealogy, which spans nearly seven hundred years, makes it possible to verify, by means of the most innovative technologies of molecular biology, the uninterrupted transmission of the Y chromosome (through living descendants and ancient tombs, even if with some small variations due to time) in order to confirm the recovery of the Y marker of Leonardo.

Interestingly, the recovery and confirmation of Leonardo’s Y chromosome could reveal new information about his family’s geographic origin, genetic health, and possibly even the presence of synesthesia. Theoretically, Da Vinci’s biological data could also help verify the authenticity of his works.

Leonardo was buried in France in 1519, but the current location of his remains is uncertain. The DNA of his living relatives will be analyzed in the coming months, which could lead to new information about the famous artist and his family.

After: MIT confirms an L bridgeeonardo da Vinci designed 500 years ago was an ancient engineering marvel.

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