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Leonardo da Vinci mocked for being gay in 15th century comic strip

Patrick Kelleher September 30, 2019
15th century comic strip reveals Leonardo da Vinci was mocked for being gay

Engraging of Leonardo da Vinci (Culture Club/Getty)

A 15th century ‘comic strip’ has revealed that Leonardo da Vinci was mocked during his lifetime for being gay.

Author Simon Hewitt has unearthed the 1495 comic strip, which is held in Germany, and shows that Leonardo was often ridiculed for his looks and for his alleged homosexuality.

In one of the images, called ‘An Allegory of Justice,’ Leonardo is depicted as having ginger hair and is shown to be mesmerised by other men, the Observer reports.

Image shows Leonardo da Vinci fascinated by ‘a half-naked young man’.

He is also shown to be fascinated by a half-naked young man who holds “a rocket-like, Leo-invented contraption”.

Hewitt writes: “Further evidence of Leonardo’s identity, and homosexual leanings, is provided by the group of eight strapping figures alongside.”

In the image, Leonardo is depicted as being left-handed. His father Ser Piero rests his right arm on Leonardo’s shoulder and holds “a sheet of paper that surely represents the anonymous document denouncing Leonardo for sodomy, deposited in a Florence tamburo in April 1476”.

Further evidence of Leonardo’s identity, and homosexual leanings, is provided by the group of eight strapping figures alongside.

The image also suggests that Leonardo was mocked for having red hair, which would have been unusual in Milan during his lifetime.

A recent biography detailed the artist’s gay exploits.

Hewitt’s discovery of the new ‘comic strip’ comes less than two years after the publication of a biography of the famous painter, which details his gay exploits.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Biography by Walter Isaacson was based on thousands of pages of the artist’s own notebooks. It cites Leonard’s younger male companions as well as his depiction of male sexuality in his art as evidence that he might have been gay.

It also details accusations of sodomy made against Leonardo during his lifetime.

Leonardo was accused twice of having sex with men. At one point, his male protégé was removed because of the “wicked life he had led” with Leonardo, and his own writings repeatedly reflect on his attraction to men and his borderline revulsion to sex with women.

Isaacson casts the author as “a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted and at times heretical”.

More: Gay, homosexual, leonardo da vinci, mocked, sodomy

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