New research has surfaced, suggesting that Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci, may have been only half-Italian. According to Carlo Vecce, a professor at the University of Naples and an expert on da Vinci, the polymath’s mother, Caterina, was, in fact, a Circassian slave from the Caucasus Mountains. It was previously thought that Caterina was a Tuscan peasant.
Professor Vecce shared his findings at the launch of his new book on the subject. He explained that da Vinci’s mother was taken from her home and sold several times before arriving in Florence, where she met a young notary named Piero da Vinci. Their son, who we now know as Leonardo, was born to them there.
The discovery was made after decades of study by Professor Vecce, who based his findings on archives in Florence.
“When I saw that document, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Vecce told NBC News. “I never gave much credence to the theory that she was a slave from abroad. So I spent months trying to prove that the Caterina in that notary act was not Leonardo’s mother, but in the end, all the documents I found pointed in that direction, and I surrendered to the evidence.”
Leonardo da Vinci's mother Caterina was a slave.
She was brought to Italy from Circassia, a historical region in the North Caucasus, because of her ability to work with fabrics.
She was brought to Venice and then taken to Florence, where she was freed on 2 November 1452. pic.twitter.com/sEKEYhrcN0
— Roberta Negrelli (@NegrelliRoberta) March 15, 2023
Legal certificate of emancipation
The latest discovery related to Leonardo da Vinci has sparked a heated debate among experts, a common occurrence when it comes to the study of the renowned artist. Nevertheless, Professor Carlo Vecce, a prominent scholar in the field, stands by the evidence he has uncovered.
One of the key pieces of evidence found by Professor Vecce is a legal certificate of emancipation for da Vinci’s mother, Caterina, written by the artist’s own father. This certificate, dated 1452 – the year of da Vinci’s birth – was pesented at a press conference held at the Florence headquarters of the publishing house Giunti on Tuesday.
Professor Vecce shared that the certificate was written by the man who had loved Caterina while she was still a slave, and who helped to secure her freedom. It was this same man who gave Caterina the gift of their child, who would come to be known as Leonardo.
While there is much contention among experts when it comes to discoveries related to da Vinci, Professor Vecce’s research is considered significant due to his vast experience in the field. The newly uncovered legal certificate provides a fresh perspective on the personal history of one of the world’s most famous artists and painter of the Mona Lisa.
LEONARDO DA VINCI WAS ONLY HALF ITALIAN
A document discovered by Carlo Vecce in the State Archives of Florence reveals that Leonardo Da Vinci's mother was called Caterina and that she was a Circassian princess, daughter of Prince Yakob, who was probably enslaved by the Tartars. pic.twitter.com/DYdHABRLpm
— My country? Europe. 🇪🇺 (@mycountryeurope) March 14, 2023
‘Circassians’ history shared by book’s publisher
New information has been released by the publisher of the book, Giunti, regarding the history of slavery in the Black Sea region during the 15th century.
The powerful maritime republics of Venice and Genoa reportedly profited greatly from this lucrative trade, according to the publisher. Young women were particularly sought after in Florence, where they were purchased for use as servants, caregivers, and sexual slaves.
If the research suggesting that Leonardo da Vinci’s mother was a Circassian slave is accurate, this would add a new layer of complexity to the legacy of the artist, whose heritage was believed to be solely Italian.
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