Leonardo da Vinci was described by his early biographers as a man with great personal appeal, kindness, and generosity. He was generally well loved by his contemporaries.
According to Vasari, “Leonardo’s disposition was so lovable that he commanded everyone’s affection”. He was “a sparkling conversationalist” who charmed Ludovico il Moro with his wit. Vasari sums him up by saying: “In appearance he was striking and handsome, and his magnificent presence brought comfort to the most troubled soul; he was so persuasive that he could bend other people to his will. He was physically so strong that he could withstand violence and with his right hand he could bend the ring of an iron door knocker or a horseshoe as if they were lead. He was so generous that he fed all his friends, rich or poor…. Through his birth Florence received a very great gift, and through his death it sustained an incalculable loss.”
Some of Leonardo’s philosophies can be found in a series of fables that he wrote. Prevalent themes include the dangers of an inflated sense of self-worth, often as described in opposition to the benefits that one can gain through awareness, humility and endeavour.
Little is known about Leonardo’s intimate relationships from his own writing. Some evidence of Leonardo’s personal relationships emerges both from historic records and from the writings of his many biographers.