Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci (can we call him Leo?) was an Italian scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Born in 1452 in Vinci, Italy (hence da Vinci, i.e. from Vinci). Leonardo apprenticed at the art studio of Verrocchio. According to one legend, when Leonardo and Verrocchio collaborated on a painting, Verrocchio found himself so outclassed by his apprentice that he abandoned art altogether.

Leonardo spent time in Florence (where he got charged with sodomy, sparking centuries of speculation over whether or not he was gay [[note]] We can never know because of the passage of time. On the one hand, Da Vinci was a man known to be outside the mainstream of society, and Florence was place of general tolerance.[[/note]]), Milan and Rome, working for various wealthy patrons. He produced some of the most famous paintings history: ''Art/TheLastSupper'', ''Virgin of the Rocks'', and, most famous of all, ''Mona'' "what-is-she-smiling-at" ''Lisa'', considered to be either the most beautiful or the most kitschy work of art in history.

Besides above-ground art, Leonardo also trafficked in the shady world of anatomy, secretly procuring corpses and dissecting them (an act which could get you killed at the time) to study the human body.

Leonardo always considered himself foremost a scientist. The areas of his interest include: aeronautics, anatomy, astronomy, botany, civil engineering, chemistry, geology, geometry, hydrodynamics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, optics, physics, pyrotechnics and zoology (allowing him to put pretty much every OmnidisciplinaryScientist in fiction to shame). His inventions range from the mundane (strut bridges, automated thread-winder, pulley systems) to the height of--for the times--science fiction, including tanks, airplanes, helicopters, and a mechanism for walking on water. Leonardo's awesomeness is such that he even gets his own genre of science fiction--ClockPunk.

In fact, it is his interest and expertise in so many areas which [[TropeCodifier inspired]] the term "RenaissanceMan". Unfortunately, though, he was interested in so many things that he couldn't [[AttentionDeficitCreatorDisorder settle down to work on anything]]. Many of his artworks and engineering projects never got off the drawing board, or, in the artwork's case, the doodlepad.

Leo died in 1519. He was arguably the first real celebrity. He was famous across Europe, as famous as any king, priest or soldier, and celebrated for his art, his intelligence and his good looks. He was subject to gossip and myth in his own lifetime. You can well imagine how things get out of hand after his death. He's part of the trinity of JuliusBeethovenDaVinci and his life often serves as BiographyAClef. He ''probably'' was not an [[Franchise/StarTrek immortal]] [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} alien]]... or [[Series/DoctorWho friends with a Time Lord]]... or [[Literature/TheDaVinciCode a sacred feminine worshiping cryptologist]]... or an [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII ally of an order of assassins]]. And he was ''definitely'' not a [[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles ninja turtle]]. Or an ancestor of [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Stewie Griffin]]. And we're decently sure he never [[Series/DavincisDemons traveled to South America in search of a magical book of knowledge.]]

Also note that people called him Leonardo (not da Vinci) back then. Da Vinci means "of Vinci", so it would be somewhat like saying "What would [[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} Of Nazareth]] do?"

!!Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

* AmbiguouslyGay: He or characters based on him are sometimes portrayed this way, due to a long-standing rumor that he had relations with one of his male models.
* BiographyAClef: His paintings, his codes, his scientific research, those war machine blueprints, his great genius and who was "the Mona Lisa" anyway, have supplied speculation and fodder for multiple fictional representations over time.
* ClockPunk: The inventions he designed in his drawings can be described as this.
* MilitaryMashupMachine: The scythed chariots, primitive tanks and gliders he thought up are often seen in fiction, though they tend towards AwesomeButImpractical.
* MonaLisaSmile: TropeNamer. The way he painted the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa has intrigued countless people over the centuries.
* RenaissanceMan: The TropeCodifier.
* SmallReferencePools: The ''Mona Lisa'' is our standard idea of ''a'' painting or a valuable painting for that matter. Countless stories about art theft will have a thief break in the Louvre and try to steal the Mona Lisa.
* WizardBeard: Rarely portrayed without a huge beard despite not practising magic.


!!Appears in the following works:
* ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' has spread the idea that Da Vinci put some kind of hidden code about the Vatican in his paintings. Despite that it also made the man even more famous with the general public than he already was.
* Leonardo of the ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' is named after him.
* Appears in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' where he is revealed to have been an exterrestrial alien from a planet where everybody is such a genius that he was in fact considered to have been the dumbest one. Therefore he went to Earth because there he would have been considered the smartest. Nevertheless Fry keeps confusing him with Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio.
* The character Maestro in ''WesternAnimation/IlEtaitUneFois'' is clearly based on him.
* Leonardo appears at the start of ''Film/HudsonHawk'', where he is painting the Mona Lisa and conducts a flying experiment.
* ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'': Battled alongside Raphael, Donatello, and Creator/MichelangeloBuonarroti against the Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.
* The series ''Series/{{Leonardo}}'' is about his (fictional) teenage adventures.
* In ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', Stewie's evil(er) brother Bertram traveled through time to murder Stewie's ancestor (who turned out to be Leonardo da Vinci) in a ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}''-style scheme. Unbeknownst to him, due to a TimeyWimeyBall Stewie was accidentally responsible for the Big Bang and, thus, creating the universe, and thus his actions ended up destroying everything, except for Brian and Stewie who managed to survive by stepping outside of normal time and space. When they go back to stop him, they try to reason with him by telling him that he will destroy everything if he does this - Bertram thinks for a second, then declares "WORTH IT!" and tries to kill Leonardo anyway. [[spoiler:He succeeds, but Stewie creates a StableTimeLoop by taking his place]].
* The titular character in ''Series/DoctorWho'' visits his studio in the story [[Recap/DoctorWhoS17E2CityOfDeath "City of Death"]], but he's out.
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels by Terry Pratchett, a recurring character is the befuddled genius inventor Leonard of Quirm, who is an obvious parody of him.
* Appears in a single paragraph in ''Literature/GoodOmens'', when he told Crowley that sure, the smile was a little off but it's not like anyone'll ever look at it, and what was that about helicopters?
* ''ComicBook/LeonardLeGenie'' is a Franco-Belgian comic clearly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.
* ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'' has a Leonardo da Miraglia, who lets you reroll bad artillery rolls and invented the steam tank.
* ''Series/DaVincisDemons'' is a fictionalized account of Leonardo's early life, with the addition of mystical elements.
* He appears in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' and ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' as a secondary character. In the first, he's a GadgeteerGenius that helps Ezio by creating Altaïr's lost designs for him. The latter has him forcibly working for the Borgias to create weapons incredibly advanced for their time.[[note]]Although their effectiveness is exaggerated, Leonardo ''did'' create (or at least drew) prototypes of them[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/TheJourneymanProject'': In the second game, ''Buried In Time'', Gage Blackwood is assigned to investigate the studio where Leonardo Da Vinci was working with the Duke of Milan during 1488. The authors actually [[ShownTheirWork did some pretty good research]] on this interpretation, given the amount of historical facts that Arthur can provide, the staggering amount of working prototypes of Leonardo's inventions that match his real-world schematics, and that you can ''read his notebooks up close'', [[spoiler: which you have to do anyway, because somebody tampered with one of them.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/LupinIIITheItalianAdventure'', Leonardo [[spoiler: is resurrected by the [=MI6=], to have access to his genius. They can't hold him back, and he, knowing that his new body was about to give out, tried to copy his mind in every single Italian]].
* Shows up in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' as a holodeck character in Captain Janeway's Da Vinci's Workshop program, played by Creator/JohnRhysDavies. In one episode an alien steals his program and becomes his "patron" until Janeway gets him back--which naturally involves creating one of his gliders.
* In an episode of the AnimatedAdaptation of ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' titled "Art," Dilbert meets the man himself, who has lived 500 years past his alleged date of death thanks to one of his inventions being the fountain of youth.
* The title characters ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and their female accomplice]]) of ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'' visit [=DaVinci=] do have him do some repairs on their time machine. They also inadvertently inspire the MonaLisaSmile by making Leonardo's disgruntled model laugh with their antics.