France 2 broadcasts Monday evening “Leonardo”, a historical series with Aidan Turner and Freddie Highmore which looks back on the eventful life of the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci. Is it worth a look?
What is it about ?
Born in Vinci, Tuscany, Leonardo became an unrivaled genius whose works overthrew the established order and continue to inspire today.
His insatiable curiosity twirled between the arts, science and technology, nourished by a deep and intrepid humanity that knew how to free itself from the shackles of the conventions of its time, and by an infinite thirst for knowledge and an unfailing determination to understand. the mysteries that surrounded him.
Leonardo, from this Monday, February 7 from 9:10 p.m. on France 2. Episodes seen: 4/8
Who is it with?
Who says international production, says five-star cast. To camp Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Spotnitz, the creator who previously worked on the scenarios for the series Les Médicis, called on Aidan Turner. This Irish actor notably made a name for himself by playing Kili in the saga The Hobbit and by embodying the main character of the Poldark series.
His muse, Caterina De Cremona is camped by Matilda de Angelis whose face is perhaps not unknown to you since she was on the poster for The Undoing, broadcast on TF1 at the beginning of January.
The person in charge of investigating the young woman’s murder is played by Dr. Shaun Murphy from Good Doctor, Freddie Highmore. The Frenchy Hugo Becker, currently in I promise you on TF1, lends his features for an episode to Thierry, an actor who will mark the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Giancarlo Giannini (Casino Royal) and James D’Arcy (Broadchurch) complete the cast.
Well worth a look ?
After Sissi, broadcast last December on TF1, it is France 2’s turn to offer its historical series with Leonardo, a fictional film produced internationally, mixing fiction and real facts, which looks back on the eventful life of the genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci.
It is by the arrest of the famous artist, camped by a completely insipid Aidan Turner, that Leonardo opens. He is accused of murdering his muse and potential love interest Caterina da Cremona. A baby-faced police officer, played by Freddie Highmore, will then try to prove his guilt by questioning people from his past.
Interrogations which will allow, thanks to flashbacks, to return to the life of the artist since his beginnings, when he was only an apprentice under the direction of Andrea del Verrocchio.
Its atypical narration results in the originality of Leonardo, the scenario of the episodes being articulated around the works of the artist (his first sketch of Caterina, the first painting that his master invites him to finish, his idea of a crane to hoist a cross at the top of the Duomo…).
While it is significant to see the origin of his talent and some of his most iconic works, this story sometimes gives us the impression of being faced with an educational film shown to students in a classroom or in a museum.
A very scholarly story therefore, which nevertheless remains a fiction. The character of Catarina was thus created from scratch by Frank Spotnitz, the showrunner and Steve Thompson, the screenwriter, inspired by a mysterious courtesan who would have crossed paths with Leonardo da Vinci.
The plot around the murder is also an invention. If the addition of a part of fiction in a historical work is not necessarily a defect (the series The Great is a perfect example), it fails here to make the series more attractive.
The accusation of murder is only a pretext which is very quickly relegated to the second, even to the third plan, as the stakes are derisory. Why not take the example of The Crown, which shines with its historical veracity? Can’t a series exist without having a detective sub-plot? We have to believe that the character of Leonardo da Vinci was not exciting enough for the authors…
If Leonardo has some flaws, it is nonetheless a gripping series that allows us to learn more about the life of the famous artist, by offering us a window on the works that marked his life.
If the fictional part may make you want to turn off your television, the well-documented historical facts will surely convince us to stay. Leonardo da Vinci was a genius and jack-of-all-trades, and in that sense, Leonardo does him full justice.