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“The best way out is always through.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Chateau Where da Vinci Died

For the past few months I've been working on two new books and, as usual, that requires me digging into the files to find enough photos to fill the books. I found this picture while scrounging around in some photos that I shot in France a few years ago and while it's a pretty horrid photo, it reminded me of an interesting moment. While poking around the Ch√Ęteau at Amboise (Amboise is a pretty touristy town in the Loire Valley) I came across a sign board that gave some of the history of the chateau including the astounding claim that Leonardo da Vinci died (and is buried) in a chapel adjoining this building. I'm not sure but I think this round portion of the chateau is that chapel. He is also apparently buried in there. Da Vinci, as a guest of King Francis, came to Amboise in 1515 and died there in 1519 and lived in the chateau during that four-year period.

The thing that was shocking to me was that I had no idea I would encounter Leonardo in the middle of France! The very thought that I might be touching a building that Leonardo had once touched was staggering to me. The fact that he was buried in there (though there is some skepticism about that claim in some sources) was even more profound. The lighting was awful on the day I shot this and, being tourists, we didn't spend a whole lot of time in one place, but I'd love to return again and do justice to this very interesting building (much more attractive when seen from a distance on the other side of the Loire River).

Anyway, just a fun find in the old photo files. I'm always amazed at the things you find when you're traveling. One minute you're buying postcards and stuffing yourself full of French pastry (oh, the bakeries!) and the next you're nearly trembling to be touching a wall that Leonardo, at the very least, looked at several years. For all I know he peered out of one of those narrow tower windows looking toward the area where I was happily munching lunch.

Photo Notes: Photographed with a Nikon D70s and a 28mm Nikkor lens. Converted to black and white and toned in Photoshop.

My Books: My latest book is Exposure Photo Workshop and it was described by Shutterbug magazine as "...probably the best book ever written on the subject." It's available as a Kindle book and is in full color on Kindle Fire, your iPad, etc.


Anonymous said...

Your description of this treasure find makes me want to find something of smaller scale, within driving distance to explore. It is the surprises on a trip that make the vacation more magical. Thanks for your blog and photos. Most entertaining and informative! :)

Jeff Wignall said...

Thank you anonymous and we will find something fun to explore! :)