An original document, found by the scholar in the State Archives of Florence , rewrites the story of Caterina di Meo Lippi , believed to be Leonardo da Vinci ‘s mother :
According to what has been learned, the woman who gave birth to the undisputed genius was a young woman originally from ancient Circassia , a region of the Caucasus , who arrived as a slave in Florence and was freed with a deed written by the notary Piero da Vinci, Leonardo’s father, on 2 November 1452. This was announced by Carlo Vecce , author of ‘Catherine’s smile’, a fictionalized biography of the mother of the genius da Vinci as well as a Renaissance scholar and professor at the University of Naples. According to the researcher, “Leonardo’s mother was a girl from Circassia who at a certain point in her life was kidnapped and sold into slavery several times until she arrived from Constantinople to Venice and then to Florence where she met Leonardo’s father from Win”.The possible reconstruction:
Catherine would have been Princess of the Circassians, daughter of Prince Jacob , who ruled one of the highland kingdoms of the Northern Caucasus Mountains. After being kidnapped, perhaps by the Tartars , she was enslaved and resold to the Venetians, arriving shortly after in Florence . Previously known as Caterina Buti del Vacca , recent research identifies her as Caterina di Meo Lippi . Leonardo da Vinci was the eldest son born of an illegitimate relationship between the twenty-six-year-old notary Piero da Vinci . Just the clandestine relationship of the two could confirm that Caterina was actually a sex slaveof Leonardo’s father. This discovery corroborates a previously archived hypothesis:
According to Alessandro Vezzosi , director of the Leonardo da Vinci Ideal Museum , Caterina could have been a slave [source] owned by Piero, Leonardo’s father, as Caterina was a name usually given to female slaves. [source] A 2006 fingerprint study based on Leonardo’s fingerprint hypothesized that Caterina could be of Middle Eastern origin. This hypothesis is denied by Simon Cole, associate professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California at Irvine , because one cannot predict a person’s ethnic origin from this type of fingerprint studies. [source] . According to Martin Kemp ,professor emeritus at the University of Oxford and one of the greatest connoisseurs of Leonardo’s life, there is no evidence that Catherine was a slave of Middle Eastern origin:
After digging through neglected archives and documents in Italy, in 2017 Kemp, together with Italian researcher Giuseppe Pallanti, found evidence in the documents that Leonardo’s mother was a young local woman named Caterina di Meo Lippi, aged about 16 and of humble origins. [source source source] She was known as Buti del Vacca only after her marriage to Antonio di Pietro Buti del Vacca, which took place after the birth of Leonardo. “A bit by chance, a few years ago, these documents came out and I started studying them to prove that this slave Caterina was not Leonardo’s mother, but in the end all the evidence went in the opposite direction, especially this liberation document “. With the words “filia Jacobi eius schlava sue serva de partibus Circassie “, the document found certifies the liberation of the slave Caterina, daughter of Jacob, by her mistress of Florence, monna Ginevra. Vecce also speaks of recent excavations that took place behind Sant’Ambrogio, in Milan, where, during the works for the new headquarters of the Catholic University, the chapel of the Immaculate Conception resurfaced, in whose crypt human remains of ancient burials were found.Perhaps, Vecce hypothesizes, also the remains of Caterina, who died in Milan in the arms of her son Leonardo in 1494, and buried there.According to some scholars, Caterina may have inspired Leonardo in the creation of the Mona Lisa painting :
That mysterious look and the clothes could in fact indicate clues that would lead back to the identity of the woman who gave birth to her. A woman with an uncertain expression, as was her story: in fact, only some information remains about her birth and presumed origins since, apparently, she was never physically close to her son, who was in fact abandoned by his mother due to a birth from an unforeseen relationship.
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