Aidan Turner trades Seamus and the picturesque Cornish coastline for a paintbrush in ‘Leonardo’

Aidan Turner as artist, engineer and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci in Leonardo. Photo: Lux Vide, RAI Fiction, Big Light Productions in association with France Télévisions, RTVE, Sony Pictures Corporation.

Aidan Turner is swapping the picturesque Cornish coastline, where he rode up and down more times than the law should allow on his trusty horse, Seamus, in Poldark, for Italy in the 1400s and a paintbrush when he portrays Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci, in a forthcoming 8-part drama series, Leonardo. The 8-part series will tell the story of da Vinci’s life, from a young apprentice to one of the greatest painters of all time.

Co-created and written by Sherlock writer, Stephen Thompson, and The Man in the High Castle‘s Frank Spotnitz, Leonardo will see the artistic genius fall under suspicion of murder from a Milan police officer, who starts digging into da Vinci’s past to uncover what exactly links him to the case.

In addition to Turner, Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel, The Good Doctor) stars as the police detective investigating da Vinci with Giancarlo Giannini (Quantum of Solace) in the role of da Vinci’s master Andrea del Verrocchio and Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing) as his close friend and mysterious muse, Caterina da Cremona.

Aidan Turner as Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Pic: Angelo Turetta

The official press release states that Leonardo will “unlock the mystery of one of the most fascinating and enigmatic characters in history – a man whose genius and work is globally known and yet whose true character remains a tantalizing secret.”

Echoing that sentiment, Executive producer Frank Spotnitz said: “Leonardo is constantly surprising, and despite his fame remains an enigma more than 500 years after his death. 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.

Aside from his mastery in the art world, da Vinci went on to excel in multiple fields including maths, engineering and palaeontology despite having no formal academic training.

The first look clip,which was released yesterday on the anniversary of his birth, shows Turner as a young Leonardo da Vinci honing his craft as he works on one of his most famous commissions and the most reproduced religious painting of all-time, “The Last Supper”. The original footage in the clip is accompanied by a score from series composer John Paesano.

Produced by Lux Vide with RAI Fiction and Big Light Productions in association with France Télévisions and RTVE with Sony Pictures Television as the co-producer and distributor, Leonardo is expected to transmit somewhere (there is currently no UK or U.S. broadcaster that have signed on for this) and sometime in 2021.

While the initial word was that the drama would be released to coincide with the Italian artists’ birthday, that would have been April 15 (1452) so unless we’re talking April 2021, that ship sailed for this year. Whenever it transmits, I’m there, Seamus or no Seamus.

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