Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) (TV: City of Death) was an Italian polymath known for his painting and inventions. His interests and talents covered not just art and sculpture, but also architecture, music, mathematics and engineering; he exemplified the Renaissance era.
Circa 1469, 17-year-old Leonardo was swept up in a Rift storm and deposited in Torchwood Three's Hub in 1967, where he met Jack Harkness. Leonardo was returned to his time using a Rift Key he had to take with him. The genius managed to disable the self-destruct mechanism and drew the inner workings of the Rift Key. The only copy of this drawing was stored in Torchwood. Leonardo helped the Torchwood team with the mathematical equation necessary to send him back. He worked it out in his head. (PROSE: Cultural Firsts)
Circa 1492, Leonardo and his then-patron the Duke of Milan were among the guests invited to the masque organised by the young Duke Giuliano of San Martino. Being caught up in the Mandragora Helix's attempt to conquer 15th century Earth, the Fourth Doctor missed this opportunity to meet Leonardo, later noting it was probably for the best. (TV: The Masque of Mandragora)
According to one account, in 1503, "old Lenny" began painting the first Mona Lisa. (COMIC: Art Attack) According to another account, circa 1505, Leonardo painted it. His model for the painting was Clara Oswald, and the Twelfth Doctor gave him critique on it. (COMIC: The Swords of Kali) Later that year, he was hired by a new patron he knew as "Captain Tancredi", in reality, Scaroth of the Jagaroth. Tancredi asked him to paint six extra copies of the Mona Lisa. (TV: City of Death) One of these copies was painted using oil pigments he borrowed from a neighbouring artist, Giuseppe di Cattivo. Unbeknownst to either of them, the minerals used in this paint would bring the painting to life in future. (TV: Mona Lisa's Revenge)
The Fourth Doctor arrived from 1979 Paris to 1505 Florence to seek clues to the plot of Count Scarlioni (another of Scaroth's time-splintered selves) to steal the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. He found the design of a helicopter among the papers in his laboratory. After being briefly captured and interrogated by Tancredi, the Doctor wrote "This is a fake" in felt pen on the boards Leonardo would paint the extra Mona Lisa copies. Before returning to the future to try to stop Count Scarlioni, he left him a message written in mirrored font. (TV: City of Death)
When Leonardo was approximately 60 years old, he used the Rift Key to return to Torchwood Three, this time around 2007. He managed to escape from the Hub into Cardiff, where he saw smart phones. Soon he was apprehended by Gwen Cooper, given retcon and sent back. This time the Torchwood team made sure that the internal workings of the Key would burn out after the travel. (PROSE: Cultural Firsts)
After Leonardo's death, his soul passed through the Moon's influence on its way to Heaven and was captured by the Lunaries, who offered to give him a new body. He accepted, and in 1590 he greeted the Florentine ambassadors who had arrived on the Moon in spacecraft based on his designs. He later tried to greet Iris Wildthyme, whom he had met before, but she refused to speak to him. (PROSE: Minions of the Moon)
The Eighth Doctor recounted a tale to Alex Campbell that he took Leonardo for a trip in the TARDIS to around 0 AD, in Bethlehem, where Leonardo checked the lighting for his painting Adoration of the Magi. There, he was given the possibility to watch the nativity of Jesus Christ, but he didn't dare to. (AUDIO: Relative Dimensions)
The flying machine design was used by Astrolabus while he was fleeing from the Sixth Doctor. (COMIC: Voyager) By the late 21st century, his sketches or a copy thereof, were displayed on the wall of Professor Daniel Eldred's space museum; the TARDIS landed in front of the sketches, carrying the Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon, and Zoe Heriot. (TV: The Seeds of Death)
Behind the scenes
- "Da Vinci" was not a family name, and Leonardo was never known to have used a surname in the modern sense. This part of his name merely means "of Vinci", indicating that Leonardo was born in Vinci, a town near Florence. It is therefore grammatically incorrect to refer to Leonardo as simply "da Vinci", though that form of address remains in somewhat common use and has appeared in The Two Doctors, the TV movie and The Hungry Earth, as well as the title of Da Vinci's Robots.
- The title of the episode The Shakespeare Code is a play on the title of the popular Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code which dealt with a centuries-old conspiracy theory involving secret codes allegedly included in some of Leonardo's works. The Da Vinci Code was itself heavily inspired by the non-fiction book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by former Doctor Who scriptwriter Henry Lincoln.
- Leonardo da Vinci is one of very few characters to be referenced in both the Doctor Who and Star Trek franchises, with an immortal human claiming to have been him appearing once in Star Trek: The Original Series ("Requiem for Methuselah"), and a holographic recreation of him appearing twice in Star Trek: Voyager ("Scorpion" and "Concerning Flight").
- According to The Brilliant Book 2012, a book that contains non-narrative based information, in an alternate universe where all of history happened at once, Leonardo seemingly wrote The Da Vinci Code.
- In the story of Doctor Who: Legacy, the Seventh Doctor, stressing the importance of preventing the Sontarans' interference in the timeline, cites Leonardo da Vinci as an example of an important person in human history whose existence is endangered, claiming that the Earth Empire would have been delayed by millennia were it not for his technology.
- Leonardo was played by Patrick Godfrey in the 1998 film Ever After and Jonathan Bailey in the CBBC series Leonardo.