The mother of the genius was enslaved in the Caucasus

The mother of the genius was enslaved in the Caucasus
The mother of the genius was enslaved in the Caucasus

A new book cites an unpublished document that says the artist is half Italian

The genius Leonardo da Vinci was only half Italian, because his mother came from the Caucasus, and more precisely from its northwestern part, where the Circassians lived. Catherine, as is the name of the woman who gave birth to the artist, was an enslaved princess taken to Florence. Prof. Carlo Veche, Da Vinci’s biographer, supports this thesis in his new book. Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452 in Arciano di Vinci, near Florence.

The biographical novel “Katerina’s Smile”, which was published these days in Italy, bears this name not by chance. According to the author, the smiles of the women painted by the artist, including the Gioconda, resemble those of his mother. Carlo Veche states his theses based on a previously unpublished paper. It comes from the State Archives of Florence and is dated six months after Leonardo’s birth. According to him, the notary Piero da Vinci gave freedom to the slave Caterina, working as a servant in his home. And while the then 26-year-old Pierrot is certainly the father of the genius, who his mother is can only be said tentatively.

It is known that the genius was born to a maid in Da Vinci’s house having an extramarital affair with him. Therefore, tens of years later, Leonardo, who at that time lived in Milan, had to leave the city and return to Florence for the settlement of questions regarding Piero’s inheritance before a judge.

But what exactly is Katerina’s background? According to Carlo Veche, Leonardo’s mother was

daughter of Prince Jacob in the North Caucasus,

or in the lands of the Circassians. She was kidnapped, in all probability, by the Tatars, turned into a slave and taken by sea to Russia. Then it reached Byzantium, which was taken over by the Ottoman Empire shortly after. From there, Katerina was transported to Venice and then to Florence. The 15-year-old girl was taken to the city by one Donato di Filippo di Silvestro, who traded in fabrics and who gave her to his wife Ginevra. For the production of fabrics in Venice, the labor of Circassian slaves was used exclusively. Caterina was “borrowed” from Donato’s home as a nanny for Maria, Piero da Vinci’s child. For these duties, half a half of 18 florins (antique gold coin) per year. This was considered quite a high price for its time, according to Veche, and was justified by the fact that Katerina was effectively the sex slave of the notary Piero. She was freed from slavery on November 2, 1452, or a few months after the April birth of her son. After becoming free, she was married to the peasant Atakabrige, with whom she had five more children. In practice, she lived not far from the home of the notary Piero, where little Leonardo grew up during his first ten years.

When Donato died, he left his entire inheritance to the monastery of San Bartolomeo di Monte Oliveto. Leonardo da Vinci painted the painting “Annunciation” for him in the period between 1472 and 1475. It is assumed that in this way the genius connected the work with the memory of his mother, slave of Donato. Discovered in 1867, the work is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Leonardo puts himself in the role of savior. In the background of the canvas you can see a sea town, ships, a landscape that is not Tuscan, but rather from the Orient. In other words, the famous artist may have been influenced by his mother’s stories about the Venetian colony in the Caucasus, from where the slave ships departed.

Katerina and her son meet briefly in Milan,

where the artist was in service at the court of Duke Ludovico Sforza. It is believed that the mother died in Milan in 1493 and was buried in the church of San Francesco Grande, for which the genius painted the Madonna of the Rocks.

The article is in bulgaria

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