I first read about him during my childhood, in a primary school encyclopedia, where they talked about his debate on being a soldier or stay as an artist (even than he remained as artist, he was armed all the time and took part in a lot of fights and a war or two). That caught my attention and I remembered the name, and I saw one of his works when we went to Paris, but never read anything else about him until a few months ago, when an article from Bruce Sterling in Make magazine mentioned the file in Project Gutenberg.
It makes an interesting reading for the bus, because the chapters are short and deal with one anecdote only. Most ot them are very interesting, some of are plain weird, and most show the different mindsets that people had 500 years ago.
The last point that captured my attention: while working in a statue a piece of metal cut one of his eyes and stayed there, and after a few days a doctor drive it off using the blood of a few pigeons. After the episode he recon that his eyesight was much better than before. It looks to me like a very old laser eye surgery, without laser or surgeon :).