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Leonardo da Vinci

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.

As a painter, his most famous works included the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. (PROSE: A History of Humankind)


As his name suggests, Leonardo - "da Vinci" meaning "of Vinci", was born in Vinci, (PROSE: Cultural Firsts) Florence, in 1452. (PROSE: A History of Humankind)

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)

In 1516, Leonardo was forced to sell the Mona Lisa to King Francis, an action which the Ninth Doctor claimed "broke his heart". (COMIC: Art Attack)

Leonardo was one of the guests at Bernice Summerfield and Jason Kane's wedding in Cheldon Bonniface on 24 April 2010. (PROSE: Happy Endings)

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)

Undated events[]

The behaviour of the Fourth Doctor in the laboratory of Leonardo in 1505 implied they had already met each other. (TV: City of Death)

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 Monk's logbook recorded a meeting with Leonardo in which he discussed with Leonardo the principles of powered flight. (TV: "Checkmate")

River Song kept Leonardo busy whilst Helen Sinclair stole Reclining Maiden with Foal and Church at Brindisi. (AUDIO: The Doomsday Chronometer)


The First Doctor owned a painting by Leonardo of a young handsome courtier. Ian Chesterton described the "lost" painting as "priceless". (PROSE: The Edge of Destruction)

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)

Among a long strip of business cards owned by the Sixth Doctor for various famous scientists and luminaries was one which read "da Vinci". (TV: The Two Doctors)

Grace Holloway had a print of a Leonardo sketch in her home. The Eighth Doctor, upon seeing it, noted that he had a cold when he drew it. (TV: Doctor Who)

One of the copies of the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo came to life in the 21st century. (TV: Mona Lisa's Revenge)

In 2020, the Eleventh Doctor used Leonardo as one example of people who had dyslexia that did great things, in order to encourage Elliot Northover to continue trying. (TV: The Hungry Earth)

An airport in Rome was named after Leonardo da Vinci. (PROSE: Cultural Firsts)

Parallel universe[]

In a parallel universe, a version of Leonardo was a companion of that universe's Doctor. (AUDIO: A Storm of Angels, PROSE: The Innocents)

Behind the scenes[]