1. Leonardo was born to young unmarried parents, a notary and a local woman.
2. Leonardo had a habit of never finishing his work. Catholic monks even filed a lawsuit against Leonardo over one painting, the Virgin of the Rocks.
3. Leonardo planned to build a twenty-five-foot tall bronze horse in honor of one of his patrons. Unfortunately, Milan was invaded before he had a chance to cast it, and the military took his bronze to make cannons instead.
4. Leonardo was friends with other Renaissance dignitaries, including Niccolo Machiavelli. Leonardo and Machiavelli came up with a scheme to reroute the Arno River.
5. As a young man, Leonardo was jailed for two months over charges of sleeping with a young male prostitute.
6. Leonardo was a prolific inventor, and developed designs for the first car, bicycle, and helicopter. He also invented war machines and weapons.
7. Leonardo came up with a plan to build one of the first mechanical robots.
8. As a painter, Leonardo made substantial improvements to two major painting techniques, called sfumato and chiaroscuro.
9. Leonardo was interested in anatomy, and was one of the first to dissect cadavers and make detailed anatomical sketches of his findings.
10. Leonardo likely had a stroke in 1516, and this event may have caused paralysis of his right hand. Despite this apparent setback, Leonardo remained a prolific left-handed artist in his final years.