By Anne Leader

Though he had no children, Leonardo da Vinci had twenty-three half-brothers and half-sisters, most of whom had children. Long thought to be extinct, the Da Vinci family continues to this day through thirty-five living relatives. On 14 April 2016, the day before Leonardo’s 564th birthday, Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, and Agnese Sabato, president of the Associazione Internazionale Leonardo da Vinci, announced the results of their research into the descendants of Leonardo’s half-siblings, ongoing for over four decades. Several of Leonardo’s distant nieces and nephews attended the event, kicking of a weekend of celebration of the great artist’s birth in Vinci. Among Leonardo’s nieces and nephews are a policeman, chef, accountant, architect, and the Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated film director Franco Zeffirelli. When he won the 2007 Premio Leonardo (Leonardo award), Zeffirelli commented, “The Corsis, who are my family, were also descendants of Leonardo.” At the time, no one took him seriously. Today, it seems, he was right.

Leonardo da Vinci, (Possible) Self-Portrait, red chalk. Turin, Royal Library

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