More than one string to his bow

17th April 2003 at 01:00

BBC 1, April 20, 27, May 4, 7pm

Despite Leonardo's rudimentary schooling, his achievements were extraordinary: the painter of "Mona Lisa" was also an anatomist who drew detailed diagrams of embryos and investigated the mechanics of sight.

He was an engineer who designed flight machines, a parachute, a diving suit and a prototype armoured tank. He made maps, studied nature and geology - and he designed spectacular parties.

It is with this apparently trivial talent that The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything , the first programme of Alan Yentob's ambitious and revealing three-part series, Leonardo, begins. The genius may have been unconstrained by conventional religion and learning, but he had to make a living and, 500 years ago, the wealthy families who ran the rival Italian city states were necessary patrons.

Read the full review in this week's TES

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