Painter, scientist and inventor, he was the ultimate Renaissance man.

He deployed his genius across a wide range of subjects from anatomy and biology to mechanics and hydraulics.

As an engineer, he conceived ideas vastly ahead of his time, conceptually inventing the helicopter, the submarine and the parachute.

But it seems Leonardo Da Vinci, the man who gave us the Mona Lisa, can also be credited with another creation - the designer handbag. It's believed he drew his sketch of an ornate leather accessory in 1497 while he was painting The Last Supper. Now a luxury Italian brand has decided to manufacture a bag based on Leonardo's design - more than five centuries after his death.


Scholars reconstructed fragmented drawings of the bag. Their work was then seized upon by Florence fashion house Gherardini, which made a prototype of the bag. The finished product, named Pretiosa, which means precious, is going on sale this year.

Art historian Alessandro Vessozi, director of the Museo Ideale in Leonardo's birthplace, helped to reassemble the drawing.

"Leonardo designed several fashion accessories, but this bag is pretty unique," he said.

"It blends beauty and functionality in a very harmonious way.

"The Pretiosa is the expression of modern technique and aesthetics and, at the same time, embodies a provocative idea conceived together with the Leonardo Da Vinci Ideal Museum."

The sketch was first discovered by Leonardo scholar Carlo Pedretti in 1978 among tens of thousands of the inventor's drawings, but it failed to attract much attention at the time.

The refined handmade bag, designed by Carla Braccialini based on the Leonardo original, is made of calfskin. It was unveiled at the Pitti W fashion show in Florence by the Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta, who appeared in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.

Lorenzo Braccialini, marketing director of Braccialini, Gherardini holding company, said the bag is very chic.

"It is also very functional and capable. It embodies the best Florentine tradition of leather work."

Only 99 of the bags have been made and will go on sale at the beginning of March. The price is yet to be set, but given its exclusivity, it's likely to retail for thousands of dollars.

See how Gherardini crafted the Pretiosa bag: