The Hanged Man Episode 101: Da Vinci's Demons

The Hanged Man Episode 101: Da Vinci's Demons 

First Impressions:

The first episode might be some-what confusing for those not familiar with the Renaissance, especially in the context of the political and religious struggles of the time. In Italy around the 1500's there were "city states" and each was ruled by both the Catholic church and warring families. The Medici were the family in control at the time and the separation between church and state were blurred. Both were corrupt and you can see how they included that in the show.

Essentially you could buy and manipulate your way into the Church and to even become the Pope. Becoming a Cardinal was a first step. It wasn't who was the most devout but who was the most politically manipulative.  The secretive and murderous activities did happen and that is why the first episode is called: "The Hanged Man" - this is something that da Vinci was present for and even sketched, apparently from real life.

Leonardo was dead center in all of this, although not quite in the same fashion as is portrayed in the series. You have to imagine that Florence was a "city state" and view it as a walled "kingdom" and the people who controlled and ran it were powerful families who could gain their position by either a take over, or by political and religious influence.

To try and view the series objectively is almost impossible for me. It's like watching the X-Men movies while being a die-hard fan and saying: "Rouge could fly after she absorbed the powers from Miss Marvel!" - I won't even get into the fact that they are speaking in English accents, when they should be speaking Italian. Or that Leo didn't study anatomy until later in his life, or any number of things that don't fit into that time frame of his life - his 20's. Obviously making a tv show about someone and trying to pack in all of their life into a specific age and time frame is almost impossible. So far they have done a pretty good job.

I will go into more detail about the intricacies that were presented in the show and the actual quotes they were based on in another post but my initial impressions are as follows:
Leonardo knew his mother and lived with her for the first few years of his life. Catherina, was a peasant girl and or slave and could have been Arabic -  which is why they said she was from Constantinople.

His father was a Notary and didn't have a "legitimate" heir until his second wife - because his first wife was barren. He took Leonardo back into his home and family and even got him accepted into an "Art School." - Having his father capture him and beat him cause he was getting too close to the Medici is for dramatic effect.

Leo was a pacifist and vegetarian (which they said in the show) and definitely not the V-neck leather jacked, sword wielding warrior. He wore pink stockings and was very flamboyant. Although in the context of this show - how they portray him works better.

The scene about his first memory was almost accurate - a paraphrasing of a quote from him about a "falcon" (Nibbo) coming into his crib.

"This writing distinctly about the kite (Falcon, Vulture/ "nibbo")  seems to be my destiny, because among the first recollections of my infancy, it seemed to me that, as I was in my cradle, a kite came to me and opened my mouth with it's tail, and struck me several times with it's tail inside my lips." -Leo

The scene where he bought birds to just let them go was accurate although they used it for him to study flight for a robotic flying dove. He did make robotic lions and knights, and did study birds - but they used it to fit in with the story of the show.

He also did approach the Medici to be a "Military Engineer" but ended up being a party planner. Both were presented in the show.

The story of him remembering going into a cave is also based off of one of his quotes but probably wasn't an actual cave but a metaphorical one.

“Having wandered some distance among gloomy rocks, I came to the entrance of a great cavern…Two contrary emotions arose in me, fear and desire—fear of the threatening dark cavern, desire to see whether there were any marvelous things in it.”

Over all it was a great show and I can't wait to see where they take it. I'll update this "first impression" with the quotes and information the show was based on to get a better idea about this interpretation of da Vinci with the less - fantastical Leonardo later! 

Link to the Ipad about to sync along with the Episode and learn more about the show:

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