|Directed by||Dan Percival |
|Country of origin||Italy|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||52 minutes|
|Production companies||Lux Vide|
Big Light Productions
Sony Pictures Television
|Original network||Rai 1|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Original release||23 March 2021 –|
Leonardo is a historical drama created by Frank Spotnitz and Steve Thompson. The series was produced by Italian Lux Vide in collaboration with Rai Fiction, Sony Pictures Entertainment, with Frank Spotnitz's Big Light Productions and Freddie Highmore's Alfresco Pictures in association with France Télévisions and RTVE.
The series recounts Leonardo da Vinci's extraordinary life through the works that made him famous and through the stories hidden within those works, revealing little by little the inner torments of a man obsessed with attaining perfection.
In March 2021, it was announced that Leonardo would return for a second season.
In 1506, Leonardo da Vinci, the most famous artist of his time, is accused of the murder of Caterina da Cremona. Questioned by Stefano Giraldi, an ambitious officer of the Duchy of Milan, Leonardo begins to tell his life, starting from the first meeting with Caterina in Andrea del Verrocchio's workshop. Giraldi, fascinated by the artist's personality, begins to suspect that Leonardo may be innocent and investigates to discover the truth.
|No.||Title||Directed by ||Written by||Original air date|
|1||Episode 1||Dan Percival||Frank Spotnitz, Steve Thompson||23 March 2021|
Milan, 1506. Leonardo is arrested for poisoning Caterina de Cremona. After protesting his innocence to Stefano Giraldi, Leonardo remembers back to his days as an apprentice in Andrea del Verrocchio's studio, where he first meets Caterina.
|2||Episode 2||Dan Percival||Frank Spotnitz||23 March 2021|
With Leonardo's successes recognised and his reputation growing, a risky decision sets to destroy everything he has worked for. Leonardo receives support through new commissions (the Portrait of Ginevra de Benci and The Adoration of the Magi), but pays the price for his actions.
|3||Episode 3||Dan Percival||Gabbie Asher||30 March 2021|
Leonardo ventures to Milan with a determination to claim an offer of patronage from the Duke Regent, Ludovico Sforza. When the reality of the situation turns out to be less appealing and he is assigned to produce a big theatrical entertainment instead of a painting, a newfound relationship helps liberate Leonardo's imagination.
|4||Episode 4||Dan Percival||Steve Thompson||30 March 2021|
When Ludovico asks Leonardo to create a sculpture in honour of his father, Leonardo's ambitions rise as he tries to outperform. During the work, Leonardo finds himself in Gian Galeazzo Sforza, the young duke of Milan and puts trust in an unexpected source, Salaì, a resourceful thief. As he gets distracted from Caterina, Leonardo ends up in a race against time with a costly decision to make.
|5||Episode 5||Alexis Sweet||Frank Spotnitz||6 April 2021|
After the death of Ludovico's wife, he is given a new art commission but struggles with inner turmoil. After reflecting on wise words from Father Luca Pacioli, Leonardo seeks assistance from friends and presses on with the work, despite tensions in the city. Putting his creativity to the test and experimenting with a new technique, he must deal with the consequences of his actions and results.
|6||Episode 6||Alexis Sweet||Steve Thompson||6 April 2021|
Returning to Florence, an uninspired Leonardo accepts to paint the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, that will become the Mona Lisa. After failing to repair his relationship with Caterina, Leonardo goes to Imola, where he receives much praise from his employer, Cesare Borgia.
|7||Episode 7||Dan Percival||Steve Thompson||13 April 2021|
Reunited with Caterina, Leonardo perseveres with his work but is frustrated by the growing success of a younger artist, Michelangelo. Putting his feelings aside, Leonardo is persuaded to accept a new commission, a giant fresco of the Battle of Anghiari, but faces competition from his newfound rival.
|8||Episode 8||Dan Percival||Frank Spotnitz||13 April 2021|
Time is short as Stefano races to save Leonardo and uncovers his secret. With facts and no evidence, an epiphany leads Stefano going to a remote source for help. As the execution nears, Leonardo's life hangs by a thread. His guilt is upheld, and hope seems lost. Holding the fate of Milan's greatest artist in his hands, Stefano realises the answer he seeks lies in the man he is striving to save.
The series premiered on 23 March 2021 on Rai 1. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the series aired on Amazon Prime Video, premiering 16 April 2021. In India, the series premiered on SonyLIV on 9 April 2021. It aired in Canada on 15 April on Telus, while in Spain, on 3 June on RTVE. In March 2022, The CW picked up the series in the United States, and it premiered on 16 August 2022 as part of the network's summer programming slate in the 2021–22 television season.
The producers openly declared that they had purposely moved away from historical reality to insert elements of fantasy, such as the story relating to the murder accusation of Leonardo and the character of Caterina da Cremona. Among the alterations to real events are: