Leonardo da Vinci is often presented as the 'transcendent genius', removed from or ahead of his time. This book, however, attempts to understand him in the context of Renaissance Florence. Larry J. Feinberg explores Leonardo's origins and the beginning of his career as an artist. While celebrating his many artistic achievements, the book illuminates his debt to other artists' works and his struggles to gain and retain patronage, as well as his career and personal difficulties. Feinberg examines the range of Leonardo's interests, including aerodynamics, anatomy, astronomy, botany, geology, hydraulics, optics and warfare technology, to clarify how the artist's broad intellectual curiosity informed his art. Situating the artist within the political, social, cultural and artistic context of mid- and late-fifteenth-century Florence, Feinberg shows how this environment influenced Leonardo's artistic output and laid the groundwork for the achievements of his mature works.