A study carried out by two Italian researchers identified 14 living descendants of Leonardo Da Vinci. Only one of them knew of the relationship and most of them work as office workers.
This is an investigation carried out by Alessandro Vezzosi and Agnese Sabato on the genealogical tree of the Florentine painter and inventor, which accounts for 690 years and 21 generations.
The objective of the work is to advance in the search for the DNA of the Italian painter and inventor, and to try unravel the genetic aspects of his genius.
Of the 14 living descendants referenced in the study, only one previously knew about their ties to the Renaissance icon, while several of them still live in the cities neighboring Vinci, in the Italian region of Tuscany.
Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.
“The living descendants of Da Vinci are between 1 and 85 years old, they are all Italian nationals. The elderly are retired and have had ordinary jobs as clerks, merchants, craftsmen. The youngest are all clerks and two are surveyors. One of they were passionate about aviation and navigation “, they told Telam Alessandro Vezzosi, art historian and founder of the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci, and Agnese Sabato, historian, writer and president of the Leonardo Da Vinci Heritage Association.
Vezzosi highlighted that the most salient finding of the investigation is “without a doubt the identification of 14 male descendants in direct line (up to the 21st generation) of Leonardo’s brother, Domenico (sixth generation)”.
He added: “Until 2016 we had only discovered two direct descendants per male line, one of whom unfortunately passed away in 2018. However, other possible ramifications will continue to be investigated.”
For his part, Sabato explained: “They are all ordinary people. They are all of Italian nationality. Their age ranges from 1 year to 85 years. The oldest are retired, and had been office workers, merchants, craftsmen; the youngest are office workers; two are surveyors … One of them, the eldest, was passionate about aviation and navigation, and invented some patents. “
Two young men look at “The Last Supper”, Da Vinci’s painting dating from 1494-1498. Photo: AP
The research aims to find useful information on the DNA of the author of the “Vitruvian Man” and, in particular, on the Y chromosome, which is passed on to male descendants and remains almost unchanged for 25 generations, the experts detailed.
The comparison of the Y chromosome of current male relatives with the Y chromosome of their ancestors, in cemeteries, would allow to verify an uninterrupted family line and would help to certify one’s own Leonardo Da Vinci Y chromosome marker, through molecular biology technologies.
This is an ongoing investigation that can be thought of as an “expanding genealogical map” of Da Vinci’s relatives to reconstruct his genome and, if successful, – as they write in the publication -, with the confirmation of his DNA , to be able to answer the rbiological azones behind his genius.
In addition, they could clarify data on his aging, peculiarities such as being left-handed, his extraordinary vision, in addition to helping to verify the authenticity of works of art and materials handled by the painter, anatomist, botanist, scientist, inventor and urban planner.
But genetic evidence could also help scientists determine whether the remains buried in Amboise Castle, France, really belong to Leonardo (1452-1519), who had 22 half-brothers but he had no children; and it is precisely from his half brother, Domenico (Piero’s son) that the map is reconstructed that for now reaches 225 individuals, among them more than 50 direct descendants by paternal line, including the 14 who live.
The time span of the investigation extends from 1331 to the present day and tracing each of their descendants is a complicated job, especially in the case of the Renaissance polymath, son of Ser Piero (a Florentine notary) and Caterina (a young peasant girl), born in 1452.
With information from Télam