Be it known to all persons, present and to come that at the court of
our Lord the King at Amboise before ourselves in person, Messer
Leonardo da Vinci painter to the King, at present staying at the
place known as Cloux near Amboise, duly considering the certainty of
death and the uncertainty of its time, has acknowledged and declared
in the said court and before us that he has made, according to the
tenor of these presents, his testament and the declaration of his
last will, as follows. And first he commends his soul to our Lord,
Almighty God, and to the Glorious Virgin Mary, and to our lord Saint
Michael, to all the blessed Angels and Saints male and female in
Item. The said Testator desires to be buried within the church of
Saint Florentin at Amboise, and that his body shall be borne thither
by the chaplains of the church.
Item. That his body may be followed from the said place to the said
church of Saint Florentin by the collegium of the said church,
that is to say by the rector and the prior, or by their vicars and
chaplains of the church of Saint Denis of Amboise, also the lesser
friars of the place, and before his body shall be carried to the
said church this Testator desires, that in the said church of Saint
Florentin three grand masses shall be celebrated by the deacon and
sub-deacon and that on the day when these three high masses are
celebrated, thirty low masses shall also be performed at Saint
Item. That in the said church of Saint Denis similar services shall
be performed, as above.
Item. That the same shall be done in the church of the said friars
and lesser brethren.
Item. The aforesaid Testator gives and bequeaths to Messer Francesco
da Melzo, nobleman, of Milan, in remuneration for services and
favours done to him in the past, each
[Footnote: See page 420.]
and all of the books the Testator is at present possessed of, and
the instruments and portraits appertaining to his art and calling as
Item. The same Testator gives and bequeaths henceforth for ever to
Battista de Vilanis his servant one half, that is the moity, of his
garden which is outside the walls of Milan, and the other half of
the same garden to Salai his servant; in which garden aforesaid
Salai has built and constructed a house which shall be and remain
henceforth in all perpetuity the property of the said Salai, his
heirs and successors; and this is in remuneration for the good and
kind services which the said de Vilanis and Salai, his servants have
done him in past times until now.
Item. The said Testator gives to Maturina his waiting woman a cloak
of good black cloth lined with fur, a ... of cloth and two ducats
paid once only; and this likewise is in remuneration for good
service rendered to him in past times by the said Maturina.
Item. He desires that at his funeral sixty tapers shall be carried
which shall be borne by sixty poor men, to whom shall be given money
for carrying them; at the discretion of the said Melzo, and these
tapers shall be distributed among the four above mentioned churches.
Item. The said Testator gives to each of the said churches ten lbs.
of wax in thick tapers, which shall be placed in the said churches
to be used on the day when those said services are celebrated.
Item. That alms shall be given to the poor of the Hotel-Dieu, to the
poor of Saint Lazare d’Amboise and, to that end, there shall be
given and paid to the treasurers of that same fraternity the sum and
amount of seventy soldi of Tours.
Item. The said Testator gives and bequeaths to the said Messer
Francesco Melzo, being present and agreeing, the remainder of his
pension and the sums of money which are owing to him from the past
time till the day of his death by the receiver or treasurer-general
M. Johan Sapin, and each and every sum of money that he has already
received from the aforesaid Sapin of his said pension, and in case
he should die before the said Melzo and not otherwise; which moneys
are at present in the possession of the said Testator in the said
place called Cloux, as he says. And he likewise gives and bequeaths
to the said Melzo all and each of his clothes which he at present
possesses at the said place of Cloux, and all in remuneration for
the good and kind services done by him in past times till now, as
well as in payment for the trouble and annoyance he may incur with
regard to the execution of this present testament, which however,
shall all be at the expense of the said Testator.
And he orders and desires that the sum of four hundred scudi del
Sole, which he has deposited in the hands of the treasurer of Santa
Maria Nuova in the city of Florence, may be given to his brothers
now living in Florence with all the interest and usufruct that may
have accrued up to the present time, and be due from the aforesaid
treasurer to the aforesaid Testator on account of the said four
hundred crowns, since they were given and consigned by the Testator
to the said treasurers.
Item. He desires and orders that the said Messer Francesco de Melzo
shall be and remain the sole and only executor of the said will of
the said Testator; and that the said testament shall be executed in
its full and complete meaning and according to that which is here
narrated and said, to have, hold, keep and observe, the said Messer
Leonardo da Vinci, constituted Testator, has obliged and obliges by
these presents the said his heirs and successors with all his goods
moveable and immoveable present and to come, and has renounced and
expressly renounces by these presents all and each of the things
which to that are contrary. Given at the said place of Cloux in the
presence of Magister Spirito Fieri vicar, of the church of Saint
Denis at Amboise, of M. Guglielmo Croysant priest and chaplain, of
Magister Cipriane Fulchin, Brother Francesco de Corion, and of
Francesco da Milano, a brother of the Convent of the Minorites at
Amboise, witnesses summoned and required to that end by the
indictment of the said court in the presence of the aforesaid M.
Francesco de Melze who accepting and agreeing to the same has
promised by his faith and his oath which he has administered to us
personally and has sworn to us never to do nor say nor act in any
way to the contrary. And it is sealed by his request with the royal
seal apposed to legal contracts at Amboise, and in token of good
Given on the XXIIIrd day of April MDXVIII, before Easter.
And on the XXIIIrd day of this month of April MDXVIII, in the
presence of M. Guglielmo Borian, Royal notary in the court of the
bailiwick of Amboise, the aforesaid M. Leonardo de Vinci gave and
bequeathed, by his last will and testament, as aforesaid, to the
said M. Baptista de Vilanis, being present and agreeing, the right
of water which the King Louis XII, of pious memory lately deceased
gave to this same de Vinci, the stream of the canal of Santo
Cristoforo in the duchy of Milan, to belong to the said Vilanis for
ever in such wise and manner that the said gentleman made him this
gift in the presence of M. Francesco da Melzo, gentleman, of Milan
and in mine.
And on the aforesaid day in the said month of April in the said year
MDXVIII the same M. Leonardo de Vinci by his last will and testament
gave to the aforesaid M. Baptista de Vilanis, being present and
agreeing, each and all of the articles of furniture and utensils of
his house at present at the said place of Cloux, in the event of the
said de Vilanis surviving the aforesaid M. Leonardo de Vinci, in the
presence of the said M. Francesco Melzo and of me Notary &c. Borean.
The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
edited by Jean Paul Richter, 1880.