Short story

Posted by Studentbox user
on 08/11/2018 at in  English

Title: Leonardo

Setting: Florence December 1467

Timeframe: 1467


-       Leonardo Da Vinci- 15 years old

-       Andrea del Verrocchio  


He felt that in the time since he left his home in Vinci he had lost something. Like there was a gap in his life and he knew not how to recover it.

Not with his family anyway.

His Father, a lawyer in Florence and who mumbled maybe 3 words to him in all of his 15 years, was not the comforting type.

His Mother…? Where was she? Who was she? What happened to her?

His Uncle, a kind man of a broken heart with 12 of Leonardo’s siblings to fend for, had no need for him.


Sent in search of an apprenticeship with one of Italy’s greatest painters, Signor. Filippo Lippi, Leonardo’s Father advised him: “refrain from pride my son, it is best for a bastard such as yourself to remain humbled in the face of disgust and admiration.” Even so, within the city walls, he felt an overwhelming sense of self-confidence and belonging. He began to smile at passers-by and bid them a good-day, waving at them emphatically.

It was only when he went to pat a horse outside the inn that he truly understood the implications of his appearance.


“Hello, I am Leonardo”, he smiled conversationally, “is this your horse?”

“Yes.”, the man mounted the horse and yanked on the reins, trotting away, looking back only to give Leonardo a stern look of narrow-minded scrutiny.

Leonardo turned around as people hastily continued on their merry way. He looked down at the two pieces of leather covering his grimy feet, pondered over the thoughts of people looking at his torn grey trousers, at his faded green shirt with its ragged patches. In his quiet contemplation, he became aware of whispers,

“…yes officer…him, over there.”

“Is he with anyone else?”

 “No officer, he seems…”

Leonardo needed not to hear a word more. His feet had taken flight. He was traveling over the concrete blocks of road at considerable speed when he turned a corner and was met by the man whose voice he had heard in the square. His fat face was panting with lack of colour as he wiped the sweat from his receding hairline. With his hands on his broad girth, he questioned Leonardo, between wheezes,

“Where do you – think you’re going?”

Leonardo became painfully aware of how cold it was. His clammy hands held out the crumpled piece of paper he was given by his father when he left.

The man used his forefinger and thumb to tenderly take the paper, avoiding contact with Leonardo, as if taking a stick from a dog.

Smoothing out the creases he read,

’14 Via delle Burella, Fiorenza, Italy’

“And who lives here?”, the officer enquired suspiciously to a vacant section of road.

Leonardo had fled.

Running as he recited, “14 Via delle Burella, Fiorenza, Italy”, he turned onto a narrow street, scattering hundreds of pigeons, “14 Via delle Burella, Fiorenza, Italy”, someone slammed their shutters high above him, “14 Via delle Burella, Fiorenza, Italy”, he ran behind a horse tethered to a ring on the wall, careful not to be kicked, “14 Via delle Burella, Fiorenza, Italy” he ducked into a narrow alley and heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of the plaque, ‘14 Via delle Burella’, and completed, “Fiorenza Italy”.

Knocking twice on the dark mahogany door and looking over his shoulders left and right he realised just how silent it was in the stone cave of that street. Stone road, stone buildings, barred windows, closed shutters above, everything cold, almost lifeless. A peculiar environment for an artist.

The door flew open. A thin dark figure loomed from above him. It was darker inside the house than out.

“Good evening Signor”, he greeted optimistically, “I apologise for appearing at this hour, but I am hopeful that you would look at some of my paintings, you see I am seeking an apprenticeship…”

The man stared blankly at him, as though there was nothing in front of him and spat, “I have no work for beggars”, and shut the door in his face.

Leonardo knocked again.

The door opened ajar.

“Please Signor, if you would kindly let me step inside, I wish to-”

“Are you deaf?”, he boomed, “I am an old man, and I have NO WORK FOR BEGGARS!”

“But I am not a beggar”

“you look like one”

“but you see I do not beg you”, he exacerbated, “I just want you to look at my paintings, if only for five minutes.”


“Why not?”

“Because, you smelly, dirty, god-forsaken disgustoso bastardo, I have no pity for beggars”, the old man shut the door. Leonardo didn’t knock again. There was no point.


Belittled into the darkness, he chose a narrow doorway to hide in and drew in the wings of his uncle’s worn coat. Enveloping himself until all one could see was his weary face.

He looked up.

A frozen chill threw the first layer of snow-flakes onto the street. Tonight was the first time in 30 years since it had snowed last in Florence. 

Like the echoes of his forgotten fortune, the snow-flakes swam upon the mercy of the breeze. Under the slim light of the candle-lit lamps, the flakes were given maybe half a second to bask, before being spontaneously whisked away into the darkness.


He wouldn’t ever go home. Not now. Not after his bitter rejection.

A tear fell from the gaunt edge of his jaw.

He lifted his head. The beat of steps quickened past him, tightening her grip on her bag, eyes downcast, in avoidance of his youthful gaze of desperation.

He lowered his head and readjusted in the shadows, praying for the sweet salvation of sleep to tame the bitterness of his unjustified prejudice. 



This got a 66%



Sign In or Register to comment.
© Copyright 2016 Curtin University      User agreement | Report an issue
  • Powered by
  • Curtin University