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Leonardo da Vinci’s Living Descendants Have Been Found

Historians say they’ve uncovered nearly three dozen.

An engraving of da Vinci by Everard Hansen. (Photo: Svenska Familj-Journalen/Public Domain)

Historians claimed this week to have found the living descendants of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, after tracing the famous artist’s genealogy through the centuries. 

There are nearly three dozen, the historians say, including an architect and Oscar-nominated director Franco Zeffirelli.

The descendants will likely never be positively confirmed because da Vinci’s body was lost in the years after he died (there’s a tomb for him in France, but it has never been confirmed that the remains inside are his). The historians, instead, used documents like estate papers to connect the dots of da Vinci’s family, according to the Guardian

Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet netted him his only Oscar nomination. He later claimed that he was a descendant of da Vinci while receiving an award in Italy in 2007. Many people, the Guardian says, thought it was a joke.