Was Leonardo Da Vinci Gay? Why Historians Argue that Vinci Was Gay?

A new television series centers on the legendary artist and polymath Leonardo da Vinci, portrayed by Aidan Turner. This Friday (16 April), Leonardo, available on Amazon Prime, follows Leonardo over 20 years, examining his artistic output and interpersonal relationships.

The artist’s inner existence is largely unknown. Aspects of da Vinci’s story are fictionalized in the series, including a made-up murder accusation and an almost wholly made-up romance with a character named Caterina da Cremona (played by Matilda de Angelis from The Undoing).

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Da Vinci’s se*ual orientation is one aspect of the series consistent with what historians think of him. The character in Leonardo is depicted as gay, which is consistent with the current academic opinion.

Several people have offered their opinions about the s*xuality of Leonardo da Vinci over the years, including historians, artists, and even Sigmund Freud.

According to Oxford University Press’s Kandice Rawlings: “There’s no way of knowing Leonardo’s s*xual orientation for sure” but “scholars’ opinions on the issue fall along a spectrum between ‘maybe’ and ‘very probably.’”

A run-in with the law in 1467, when a 24-year-old Leonardo da Vinci was officially charged of sodomy for allegedly having relations with a 17-year-old s*x worker, is a strong indication of the artist’s s*xual orientation. The charges’ fate, however, is unknown.

Freud controversially claimed that Leonardo da Vinci was gay but celibate in his 1910 essay “Leonardo da Vinci and A Memories of His Childhood.”

Da Vinci was “very likely gay,” according to art expert Jonathan Jones of The Guardian, who also noted his lifelong creative obsessions with women.

Da Vinci’s possible homos*xuality was also supported in the most current biography of the artist by Walter Isaacson.

In agreement with this point of view, Canadian historian Elizabeth Abbott noted in her book A History of Celibacy that he most likely remained celibate for the duration of his life following the sodomy case.

Some historians, like Serge Bramly, have disproved that Leonardo da Vinci was a celibate man. Several historians assert that Leonardo da Vinci had a love relationship with Giacomo Caprotti, well known by the moniker “Sala” (“little devil”), and his longtime student.

Salai is thought to have inspired some of da Vinci’s most well-known works of art during his nearly twenty-year residence with him. Carlos Cuevas portrays him in the show.

Silvano Vinceti, a historian, proposed the theory that the Mona Lisa was a combination of two male and female models, a Florentine woman named Lisa and Sala, back in 2016.

These assertions, supported by infrared scans of the well-known picture, were refuted by Oxford art professor Martin Kemp. On April 16, Leonardo will be available on Amazon Prime Video.

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