Leonardo, ladies’ man: why can’t we accept that Da Vinci was gay?

Leonardo, ladies’ man: why can’t we accept that Da Vinci was gay?

March 27, 2021

A new series focusing on the great artist’s relationship with muse and supposed lover Caterina da Cremona rests on virtually no historical evidence

The woman in Leonardo da Vinci’s life is finally getting her due. The new drama Leonardo, due to start on Amazon Prime on 16 April, drags Caterina da Cremona out of the shadows. Billed as his “muse” and played by Matilda de Angelis from The Undoing, this forgotten woman of the Renaissance appears in publicity images deep in intimate dialogue with Aidan Turner as Leonardo. It looks as if they’re about to go full Poldark.

You may have heard rumours the great Renaissance man was gay. That’s not the full story, says the show’s writer Steve Thompson. “Some of his relationships were with men; those were significant relationships,” he told Variety. “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.” Note he’s claiming a historical basis for the show’s breathy encounters between De Angelis and Turner. Even though Leonardo is framed as a murder mystery, it claims to use this device to get at the reality of who Leonardo was.

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