The Life and Times of Leonardo Da Vinci
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Clandestine meetings of Lorenzo de Medici's Platonic Academy of Florence are the setting for several pivotal scenes in Robin Maxwell’s novel Signora da Vinci. The membership boasted the best and brightest minds of the day. It was here in the palazzos and villas of the Medici—as much as in the artists' studios—that the culture-shattering Italian Renaissance was truly born. While all the members of the Platonic Academy were outwardly devout Catholics, the beliefs of this secretive "Company of Night" had pagan roots, and were considered dangerous and heretical. Those convicted of heresy might be imprisoned, tortured, or even burned at the stake.
In his lifetime, Leonardo da Vinci also came face to face with possible execution. While everyone seems to have extremely strong opinions about the man, no one—biographer or historian—has conclusive evidence about whether Leonardo was straight, gay, bi-sexual or asexual. When Leonardo was 19, he and three other Florentine youths were arrested by the church's vice squad (the Officers of Night) on a charge of sodomy. In those days, sodomites could be burned at the stake. But the infamous trial that ensued proved nothing, and charges were later dropped. The scandal seemed to traumatize this exquisitely sensitive young man. Once an outgoing, fancily clad man-about-town, he became quite reclusive and solitary. Set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy, bestselling author Robin Maxwell highlights the cultural and religious landscape of one of the world’s greatest artists and inventors, through the eyes of his mother.
Robin Maxwell is a historian, screenwriter, podcaster, internationally acclaimed and Los Angeles Times bestselling author of nine novels. Her debut — The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn — is now in its 25th printing. Two historical fiction titles from her Elizabethan Quartet, The Wild Irish and The Queen’s Bastard, are currently in development for a limited cable series “Rebel Queen." Signora Da Vinci and O, Juliet tell the story of the Italian Renaissance from the point of view of two of its most fabulous women. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan has just been optioned for another limited series for cable television. Robin has long been known as ‘one of the Queens of Historical Fiction.’ With the publication of her new Early Erthe series, she has evolved into ‘one of the Queens of Pre-historical Fiction.” She currently lives with her husband, yogi Max Thomas, at their private retreat and wildlife sanctuary, High Desert Eden, in Southern California.
Set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy, in Signora Da Vinci, she looks at Leonardo’s life, from the eyes of his mother, Caterina.