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Italian scientists have discovered Russian roots in Leonardo da Vinci: he was the son of a slave from Russia

Leonardo da Vinci's mother was a slave taken from modern-day Russia, according to a new study. These data will turn Italy's ideas about the most famous artist, according to MSN.

Photo: IStock

According to one version, the historian Carlo Vecce claimed that the artist's mother was freed from slavery by da Vinci's father, who himself was a famous slave trader. The humble origins of the mother of the great Renaissance artist have long been disputed by scholars and art historians.

In the centuries that have passed since his death, a general consensus has formed around the biography of the genius. His mother, known only as Caterina, was believed to have been a poor—and most importantly, Italian—peasant girl from the town of Vinci, from which Leonardo got his name. She became pregnant out of wedlock by da Vinci's father, the wealthy notary Sir Piero.

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What is not disputed is that Piero took custody of the child as an infant, raised him in a secluded Florentine home filled with ancient texts and art, and then provided him with an education. From the age of 14, the future artist studied with the most influential artists in Florence.

Caterina was notable for her absence from accounts of Leonardo's life. The artist himself recorded only two incidents from his childhood: one when a bird of prey hovered over his cradle, touching his face with feathers, and another when he discovered a terrifying cave while exploring a mountainside.

For a long time there were rumors that he did not seek to advertise the humble origins of his mother.

Now, new research has surfaced to support persistent claims that Katerina was in fact a slave trafficked to Italy from the North Caucasus, an area east of the Black Sea, from the region of Circassia in what is now southern Russia.

Vecce, an Italian historian, claims to have discovered a document in the Florentine archives granting teenage Caterina freedom from slavery.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Vecce, a professor at the L'Orientale University of Naples, believes she was kidnapped from Circassia and smuggled through Constantinople to Venice before being bought by her family in Vinci, near Florence. She was forced to work as a nurse. It is assumed that she was already pregnant before becoming pregnant again in the summer of 1451 by Ser Pierrot. Leonardo's birthday is usually given as 15 April 1452.

A newly discovered document shows that Katherine was formally freed from slavery seven months later, in November 1452.

In a testimonial written in Latin, Katerina is referred to as a "slave" from "Circassia". It was signed by Ser Piero in his role as notary.

“The notary who freed Caterina was the same person who loved her when she was still a slave, and from whom this child was born,” Vecce said at a press conference in Florence, introducing his new novel Il Sorriso di Caterina. which translates as "Katerina's smile".

He added: "Leonardo was the son of a notary, but he was only half Italian, his mother was a foreigner and a slave, a woman at the lowest rung of the ladder at that time."

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In an interview, Vecce said: “I never really believed in the theory that she was a slave from abroad. So I spent months trying to prove that Katerina in that deed was not Leonardo's mother, but in the end all the documents I found went in that direction and I gave in to the evidence."

“At that time, many slaves were called Katerina, but this was the only case of the release of a slave named Katerina by Sir Piero. Moreover, the document is full of small errors and oversights. This is a sign that he may have been nervous when he composed it, because having a child with someone else's slave was a crime,” says Vecce.

Martin Kemp, professor emeritus of art history at Oxford University, who had previously concluded that Caterina was Caterina di Meo Lippi, an Italian orphan who lived in a farmhouse about 1 km from Vinci, strongly dismissed the new claims.

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“Carlo Vecce is an excellent scientist,” Kemp said. - His "fictional" story shows a slave mother... I still prefer our "country" mother, which is more suitable. But this unremarkable history of ours does not fit the popular need of today for the obsession with slavery.”

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