Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ( pronunciation (help·info)) (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci points out, however, that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.
Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France, at the home awarded him by Francis I.
Dante Alighieri, known simply as "Dante," is often considered the finest poet of the Middle Ages and is best known for his epic La divina commedia ("The Divine Comedy"). He was also a philosopher and political thinker. He wrote most of his poetry in the Italian vernacular instead of Latin, a choice that would influence the entire course of western literary development.
Dante is well known for idolizing Beatrice, a woman who is usually identified as Beatrice Pornari. Dante met her when they were children, and she died when he was only 25, before his first major work (La vita nuova) was...