Because there was a famous Italian artist long before his namesake Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle crawled from the sewers.
Showrunner Frank Spotnitz (The Man in the High Castle) and writer Steve Thompson (Sherlock) have been tapped by Italy’s RAI and Lux Vide to develop Leonardo, an English-language TV series about Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci, Variety reports.
“He was a real outsider for those times,” says RAI head of drama Eleonora Andreatta, reportedly echoing a description found in a new biography by Walter Isaacson. “He was an illegitimate child, gay, vegetarian and left-handed.”
Leonardo will look at the polymath’s life and career through the eyes of “a girl called Caterina, who was one of his models,” and “will allow us to get inside his soul and his secrets,” Andreatta continues.
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While each episode will revolve around one of the artist’s masterworks, which include Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, “the personal and adventurous aspects of his life prevail over the purely artistic ones.”
Leonardo is set to premiere next year to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the artist’s death. Co-produced by Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions, the series is expected to be the first broadcast from The Alliance, the co-production group formed by top European pubcasters RAI, France Televisions, and Germany’s ZDF.
Da Vinci was arrested at 24 on charges of sodomy. His young apprentice, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, better known as Salaì, was also rumored to be his longtime lover.
The artist’s sexuality was previously explored in Da Vinci’s Demons, which debuted in 2013 and ran for three seasons on Starz.