Inside the Mind of Leonardo is based on the artist’s private journals dating from the Italian Renaissance. With more than 6,000 pages of handwritten notes and drawings, da Vinci’s private journals are the most comprehensive documents that chronicle the work of the world’s most renowned inventor, philosopher, painter, and genius.
“Nothing is more fleeting than the years of a man’s life.” – Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519). When Leonardo DiVinci died at the age of 67, found amongst his personal possessions, were over 30,000 pages of notebooks and several paintings including the painting of The Merchant’s Wife. He is renowned as one of the greatest painters of all time and among his works are the ‘Mona Lisa,’ the most famous and most parodied portrait and ‘The Last Supper’, the most reproduced religious painting of all time. “Inside the Mind of Leonardo” studies many of the previously unread notebooks that da Vinci left behind and tries to get inside the head of one of the most diversely talented people to have ever lived.
The man was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. And that’s only what we know. He was also charged with sodomy, along with three other men in a case that was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence and over the years, his sexuality has been the subject of satire, analysis, and speculation but at the end of the day, irregardless of his sexuality, the man was a genius. In watching the movie and listening to Peter Capaldi interpret, word for word, da Vinci’s most innermost thoughts and speculations, it becomes apparent very early on, that he was also very pessimistic and gloomy in his everyday outlook.
He much preferred his own company to that of others and went out of his way to avoid crowds. What I found fascinating though, was how he observed people. As a filmmaker for over 30 years, I have always looked at every location I have ever traveled to in my life, from a visual perspective, imagining how a camera shot might look from this angle or that angle and da Vinci worked very similarly and because of his formal training in the anatomy of the human body, he would study people and their facial features and characteristics in an observational manner. He would try and understand a phenomenon by describing and depicting it in utmost detail and did not emphasize experiments or theoretical explanation.
There was so much in this film that I was not aware of that I was able to just sit back and view da Vinci in a completely new light and for someone who has been studied, dissected and analyzed for hundreds of years, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Most people pass away and other than family and close friends, the world will never know about that person and their achievements but with da Vinci, he is remembered not just for his paintings but also for his sculptings, inventions, and writings, amongst other things. I don’t think there’s a human alive today who has so much talent. Highly Recommended.
In select theaters now
For more info about James visit his website at www.irishfilmcritic.com