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New series to depict Leonardo da Vinci as a ‘gay outsider’ is in the works

The sexuality of the Renaissance inventor have been speculated about for centuries

By Steve Brown

A new series showing Leonardo da Vinci as a “gay outsider” is in the works.

Frank Spotnitz – known for The Man in the High Castle – and Sherlock writer Stephen Thompson are working on the new English-language TV series Leonardo that will portray the Italian, Renaissance genius as a gay outsider, according to Variety.

The head Drama at Italy’s RAI, Eleonora Andreatta said: “He was a real outsider for those times. He was an illegitimate child, gay, vegetarian and left-handed.”

The new eight-part show is expected to air next year to mark the 500-year anniversary of his death.

Leonardo will look at the artist and inventor’s life through the eyes of a girl called Caterina who was one of his models.

Each episode will reportedly focus on one of his creations but also “the personal and adventurous aspects of his life prevail over the purely artistic ones.”

The artist’s sexuality has been the subject of satire, analysis and speculation for centuries and despite keeping a private life, records show he didn’t have many close relations with women.

In 1476, court records show that when he was 24, he and three other young men were charged with sodomy in an incident involving a well-known male prostitute.

The charges, however, were dismissed for lack of evidence, and there is speculation that since one of the accused, Lionardo de Tornabuoni, was related to Lorenzo de’ Medici, the family exerted its influence to secure the dismissal.

Since that date much has been written about his presumed homosexuality and its role in his art, particularly in the androgyny and eroticism manifested in John the Baptist and Bacchus and more explicitly in a number of erotic drawings.

Da Vinci is probably best known for painting the Mona Lisa, Madonna of the Rocks and The Last Supper.