Feel free to share any text or images from this site. Please site Derek Bair or  discoveringdavinci.com if the content was created or modified by us. Linking or sourcing this site for Leonardo's work as it was is appreciated but not against copyright since it is in the public domain. 

Quotes and Images by or of Leonardo da Vinci's works are in the public domain as they are from over 500 years ago and only need to be credited to him. Translations used are also in the public domain and all others are sited as best as we can. Let us know of any discrepancies and they will be updated or removed. 


All of Leonardo's works, both image and text based, are spread around the world in various collections so it can be difficult to site what is specifically in which collection. When I can, I have included as many details that are available at the time of posting. I will continue to update and eventually try to have every image or quote fully identified, translated, and attributed. 

The images such as Leonardo based fan art and other pictures that are not by Leonardo or myself are always credited if the artist or creator is known. Unfortunately many of the images are shared so randomly online they lose their original accreditation. If there is an image that is not credited properly and you know who made it, or if it is yours and you would like it removed or a link added please send a message.  None of these are being sold or assumed to be original works.


If someone were to paint their own version of the Mona Lisa it would be copyrighted to them and should only include an "After Leonardo" attribution (if it's not obvious.) Those types of images/ art are yours (the new creator) and can't be used without permission or proper accreditation, although copyright does allow to display them for critique and reference. Eg that's how people can show videos of movies on a youtube video review. 

If you take a picture or scan an image that was created by Leonardo then that image is still credited to him and is not technically your image. It's like you own the photograph but not what the photograph is. of Eg. if you take a picture of the Mona Lisa you cannot copyright that image unless there is something unique or original about it. If the photograph or scan of one of Leonardo's works is mostly indistinguishable from any other copy and the original than it is still in the public domain. If you take a picture of yourself next to the Mona Lisa - that is yours and copyright-able but if you were cropped out - then that part of the image is not since you did not create the image of the Mona Lisa and it is in the public domain. 

It's similar to classical music. The music itself is in the public domain and anyone can use it but if you record yourself playing it or your own version of it - then that  recording becomes yours. You could also think of it like drawing Mickey Mouse - the image of "Micky Mouse" is copyrighted and cannot be used without permission. Once that copyright expires and it is in the public domain then anyone can draw it and use it however they want and their version becomes copyrighted to them - but the universal image of "Micky Mouse" is still in the public domain. 

So the images that I've enhanced or added to should be credited to this site/ Derek Bair but the original Leonardo art work is still in the public domain and can be used freely without attribution. It is customary to site where the actual physical image is kept and who owns it and in which collection - and I have where I could and will continue to update for fyi purposes but they do not own the 'image' - Leonardo does. 

For the images/ video that I have significantly altered or processed based on Leonardo's work - they can be used as long as they are attributed, but cannot be used without attribution. That is not to say that you cannot repeat the process with the same base - Leonardo images - and then become the attribution yourself! 

In other words:

"Sprigman: Not surprising, since the Bridgeman decision is correct. The U.S. copyright law says that to be copyrighted a work must be original. If you just take a photo of a public domain painting that has no additional element to it, it’s not original; it’s just a reproduction and you don’t get a copyright in a public domain work simply by reproducing it. In fact, if Congress tried to grant copyright to a flat “slavish” reproduction it would be a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution says that copyright can only be given to authors not to people who merely make a reproduction."

Starr: Museums and other institutions that offer licenses for photos of public domain artworks sometimes provide higher resolution images than what is available in their catalogues or online.

Sprigman: Still, if it’s a slavish or just a sharper reproduction of the image it would not qualify as original and would be in the public domain. But if someone is willing to pay for that it’s their choice, or they just don’t know the law pertaining to slavish reproductions.

- Source