Although the famous Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci died 502 years ago, his bloodline is still here.
New research has revealed 14 living descendants of da Vinci with the possibility of having more relatives.
The discovery comes after years of research in historical documents, with the ultimate goal of sequencing the genome of the deceased artist for a better understanding of his genius.
Although Leonardo da Vinci had no children, he had 22 half-brothers, from his father, Piero.
The research emerged from a new study in a journal entitled: “The New Genealogical Tree of the Da Vinci Family for Leonardo’s DNA. Ancestors and descendants in direct male line down to the present XXI generation”.
The research started in 2016 and was finally published a few days ago in Human Evolution.
The study was led by art scholar and historian Alessandro Vetsozi, who founded the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, and historian Anieze Sabato, president of the Association for the Protection of Leonardo da Vinci (Associazione Leonardo da Vinci).
Wetzozi began searching for the Da Vinci family tree in 1973 and began collaborating with Sabato in 1993.
The two have studied public and private documents over 690 years old to compile the artist’s family history.
ARTnews reported that Sabato stated via email: “[I felt] happy, both for the fruit of so much work and for having made known to these descendants the origin of their family. It was like discovering, piece by piece, the design of a lost ancient mosaic. It was the joy of giving these people back a story that had always been theirs but which they did not know”.
So far, research efforts have led to data on 224 individuals spanning 21 generations. The research begins with Michele da Vinci, born in 1331.