Leonardo da Vinci

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

This film will tell the story of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, best known as Leonardo da Vinci, a fifteenth century Italian polymath of soaring imagination and profound intellect, who left behind artistic works of staggering beauty and detailed sketches of futuristic contraptions of warfare and flight that today are marveled at for their technical ingenuity and foresight.

From his birth out of wedlock to a notary and peasant woman and apprenticeship to a distinguished Florentian painter, to his days as a military architect, cartographer, sculptor and muralist for hire, the film will offer an intimate portrait of a singular visionary whose Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and The Vitruvian Man are among the most celebrated works known to man, but whose artistic endeavors sometimes seemed an afterthought to his pursuits in science and engineering.

Set against a rich and dynamic backdrop of Renaissance Italy, at a time of skepticism and free-thinking, regional war and religious upheaval, Leonardo da Vinci will bring Leonardo and his towering achievements to life through his voluminous personal notebooks, primary and secondary accounts of his life and times, and on-camera interviews with modern scholars, artists, engineers, inventors and admirers.

Directed and produced by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon, written by David McMahon and Sarah Burns, and executive produced by Ken Burns, Leonardo da Vinci is slated for broadcast on PBS in 2024. (4 hours) You can visit the film’s website here.

We are grateful to the following donors for their generous support of this film:

Stephen A. Schwarzman
The Paul and Sandra Montrone Family
Carol and Ned Spieker
Michael and Sandy Collins Foundation
John and Leslie McQuown
The Gabelli Family Philanthropic Fund
McCloskey Family Charitable Trust
Cappy and Janie McGarr
The Lynch Foundation