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The Fictional Tale of Leonardo Da Vinci's Role in a Murder Scandal Is the Plot of a New Amazon Prime Series

The Fictional Tale of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Role in a Murder Scandal Is the Plot of a New Amazon Prime Series

A TV series about the life and career of Leonardo da Vinci will be the latest period piece to hit Amazon Prime, the streaming service that disappointingly shows , which is somehow not about the Dutch Old Master Hieronymus.

Fortunately, there will be no such confusion surrounding —although the plot does revolve around the artist becoming a lead suspect in a murder case in Milan, where he famously painted . Beyond this fictitious framing device, each episode will also feature the creation of one of his masterpieces.

Irish actor Aiden Turner, who played the title character in the BBC series  and the dwarf Kili in film trilogy, takes on the role of the Renaissance great, whose personal life remains something of a mystery.

“[Leonardo] is one of our greatest artists, but I couldn’t find any previous dramas that revealed what motivated him,” Turner told What to Watch. “We’re left with his great works and his inventions as an engineer, philosopher, botanist, and anatomist, but we don’t know about the man.”

The actor prepped for the role by visiting the blockbuster Leonardo exhibition at the Louvre in Paris, and by learning to paint with his left hand.

“It can be intimidating, these are big boots to fill,” Turner said. “You’ve got to play this huge, almost mythical figure, and you panic. But you’re not playing the genius, you’re playing the person and I had to keep reminding myself.”

Matilda De Angelis, Aidan Turner, and Freddie Highmore in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”683″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-2-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-2-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Matilda De Angelis, Aidan Turner, and Freddie Highmore in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Turner stars alongside Freddie Highmore of  as the police officer investigating the murder; Oscar-nominated actor Giancarlo Giannini as the artist Verrocchio; and Italian actress Matilda De Angelis as Leonardo’s muse, Caterina da Cremona.

The series may be the first on-screen depiction of Leonardo to acknowledge the artist’s sexual attraction to and relationships with men. But ahead of the premiere, there are questions about the historical accuracy of the prominent role played by Caterina.

Aidan Turner's Leonardo da Vinci kisses a man in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”634″ height=”309″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_248_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 634w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/41114134-9417371-image-m-18_1617089632672-300×146.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/41114134-9417371-image-m-18_1617089632672-50×24.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 634px) 100vw, 634px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner’s Leonardo da Vinci kisses a man in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

“Some of [Leonardo’s] relationships were with men; those were significant relationships,” show co-creator Steve Thompson told  when the series was first announced in 2018. “But perhaps the most significant relationship in his life was with a friend who was a woman, with whom he was very close, and we unpack that.”

The historical evidence for “Caterina” actually appears to be quite thin. If she ever existed, she was lost to history until 1982, with the publication of the writings of Giuseppe Bossi, an Italian artist and art historian who lived from 1777 to 1815. According to history website Erenow, Bossi claimed that he had evidence that Leonardo had a relationship with a courtesan name “La Cremona,” possibly to help him better paint women.

Little has been published in the way of scholarship about this revelation, but it was cited in a 2004 Leonardo biography by Charles Nicholl.

Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”480″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_786_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/caterina-da-cremona-300×141.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/caterina-da-cremona-50×23.jpg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/caterina-da-cremona.jpg 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Sony Pictures is simultaneously releasing a companion Leonardo podcast hosted by Angellica Bell that will offer a deep dive into the series.

“It’s both a challenge and an honor to dramatize the life of one of the most fascinating people who ever lived,” co-creator Frank Spotnitz said in a statement.

“We’ve uncovered sometimes little-noticed clues about Leonardo’s life and pieced them together in a puzzle that attempts to reveal the humanity behind the genius.”

See more production stills from the series below.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”768″ height=”512″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_940_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 768w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/aidan-turner-leonardo-1617104827-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/aidan-turner-leonardo-1617104827-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”768″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_124_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aiden-turner-300×225.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aiden-turner-50×38.jpg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aiden-turner.jpg 1368w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Freddie Highmore, Aidan Turner, and Carlos Cuevas in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”768″ height=”512″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_677_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 768w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/55-leonardo-highmore-turner-cuevas-dscf2302-fabio-lovino-1617105211-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/55-leonardo-highmore-turner-cuevas-dscf2302-fabio-lovino-1617105211-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px”/></p>
<p class=Freddie Highmore, Aidan Turner, and Carlos Cuevas in the new Amazon series . Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”620″ height=”413″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.png 620w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/LEONARDO_AIDAN_TURNER-caf82d2-300×200.png 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/LEONARDO_AIDAN_TURNER-caf82d2-50×33.png 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 620px) 100vw, 620px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as Leonardo and Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”696″ height=”385″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558774_642_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 696w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo.rai1_.cover_-696×385-300×166.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo.rai1_.cover_-696×385-50×28.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as Leonardo and Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”683″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_950_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/11.-DSCF0258-_LEONARDO_-TURNERFabioLovino-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/11.-DSCF0258-_LEONARDO_-TURNERFabioLovino-50×33.jpg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/11.-DSCF0258-_LEONARDO_-TURNERFabioLovino.jpg 1368w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”600″ height=”356″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_403_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 590w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aiden-turner-2999141-300×178.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aiden-turner-2999141-50×30.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as Leonardo and Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still by Vittoria Fenati Morace courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”614″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_654_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo–300×180.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo–50×30.jpg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-.jpg 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as Leonardo and Matilda de Angelis as Caterina da Cremona in the new Amazon series . Production still by Vittoria Fenati Morace courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”683″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_131_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-1-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-1-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Matilda De Angelis as Caterina de Cremona in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”700″ height=”467″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_696_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 700w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-Matilda-De-Angelis-as-Caterina-de-Cremona-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-Matilda-De-Angelis-as-Caterina-de-Cremona-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px”/></p>
<p class=Matilda De Angelis as Caterina de Cremona in the new Amazon series . Production still by Angelo Turetta, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”700″ height=”467″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_863_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 700w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aidan-turner-300×200.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-aidan-turner-50×33.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”1024″ height=”578″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558775_654_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 1024w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-300×169.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo-50×28.jpg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/Leonardo.jpg 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”822″ height=”463″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558776_818_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 822w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-4-300×169.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-4-50×28.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 822px) 100vw, 822px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series <em>Leonardo</em>. Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.” width=”800″ height=”538″ srcset=”https://www.antheamissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1618558776_468_The-Fictional-Tale-of-Leonardo-Da-Vincis-Role-in-a.jpg 800w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-3-300×202.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/04/leonardo-3-50×34.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px”/></p>
<p class=Aidan Turner as the title character in the new Amazon series . Production still courtesy of Amazon Prime.


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