How Leonardo da Vinci left his mark on contemporary culture
Many people have come across the phrase “Renaissance man” used to describe somebody who seems to have a talent for just about everything. When people use this phrase, they are indirectly referring to Leonardo da Vinci, the Florentine painter, and polymath of the 15th century, who has left a greater mark on history and culture than almost anybody else.
His stunning paintings and sculptures adorn the gilded hallways of the world’s most celebrated museums, while many of his early insights into science, music and engineering continue to be studied to this day. He was a man who lived large, with no shortage of scandal trailing him everywhere he went. Unsurprisingly, his mark continues to be seen in contemporary culture.
Many of us are familiar with The Da Vinci Code, the epic thriller film based on the bestselling Dan Brown novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hanks as a sleuth on the hunt for the Holy Grail, with clues to its whereabouts left behind in the works of da Vinci himself. The film grossed $760 million at the box office and continues to be the standard-setter for movies of this genre.
Since then, a number of additional films based around the life and work of da Vinci have made a splash at the box office. The commercially successful 2011 film The Three Musketeers, starring Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz, following the musketeers as they execute a daring heist on da Vinci’s vault in Venice, in order to steal his schematics for an airship (yes, da Vinci did design an airship in the 1400s).
TV has also mined the stranger-than-fiction life of da Vinci to produce content that today’s audiences can enjoy. Chief among these is the 2021 series Leonardo, a sprawling biopic of the young artist’s heady early career, which included a murder scandal and no shortage of steamy love affairs. There is also the better-known series Da Vinci’s Demons, which aired in 2013 and ran for three seasons in a mix of fantasy and history, following a semi-mystical da Vinci, whose talents are tied to his ability to see into the future.
On top of these, da Vinci has appeared as a character in a staggering number of top TV shows, including Doctor Who, Family Guy, Futurama, Bewitched, and Star Trek.
The fascinating adventures of da Vinci have also provided rich material for the realm of interactive content, with a number of games featuring the artist. In the world of video games, he most notably appears as a primary character in the Assassin’s Creed series, where the player often has to rescue him from the somewhat scandalous situations he’s found himself in.
Even in the world of online games, da Vinci continues to leave his mark. One quirky example is Da Vinci Diamonds, one of the top new slots at Hippodrome Online. In this game, players can re-experience all of his most iconic artworks as they spin the reels for cash prizes.
It seems that, more than 500 years later, da Vinci is still everywhere. Where will he turn up next?
The editorial unit