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Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By (History Channel) (2006)

Leonardo Da Vinci  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By (History Channel) + Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance + Power of The Past With Bill Moyers: Florence
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Product Details

  • Actors: Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CCW2V6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,517 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Renowned as the "Mind of the Renaissance," the genius of Leonardo da Vinci reaches beyond the centuries. Painter, sculptor, engineer, and scientist, in each field Leonardo da Vinci was both master and pioneer. Creator of some of the world's great artistic masterpieces, such as the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, he was also a visionary whose fantastic inventions would become reality only hundreds of years after his death. Against a backdrop of 15th century Italian opulence, DA VINCI AND THE CODE HE LIVED BY follows the original Renaissance man through glittering palaces of merchant princes, accusations of blasphemy, and whispers of betrayal and romance--all to satisfy a limitless desire for knowledge. From the producers of Islam: Empire of Faith and Barbarians, and available on DVD for the first time ever, DA VINCI AND THE CODE HE LIVED BY tells the remarkable story of one man's boundless talent, his towering legacy, and his courage in the face of powerful adversity. DVD Features: Behind-the-Scenes Featurette "History in the Making: Da Vinci"; 16:9 Widescreen Format; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

The "code" referred to in the History Channel's Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By has nothing to do with theories about the High Renaissance master's involvement with secret societies (as explored in Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code). Instead, it refers to Da Vinci's implacable work ethic, his insatiable curiosity and the talent and discipline required to keep his busy mind satisfied. Da Vinci reminds us that the great engineer, inventor, and painter was born illegitimate and was not entitled to use his father's name, let alone the latter's financial resources or reputation within Florence. A long stint as student in a respected studio earned Da Vinci his first renown during a treacherous time in Florence. He was denounced as a sodomist by an unknown enemy; fortunately, the charges were dropped. Da Vinci went on to find patronage for his art, if not for the engineering marvels and weapons designs that (few know today) so preoccupied him. This History Channel documentary explores every major chapter in Da Vinci's life, including his patronage by the bloodthirsty Cesare Borgia, his passion for studying human anatomy (and the legacy his research left to scientists), and his certainty that one day human beings would fly. As for the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, sure: Such masterpieces are discussed at length. But they're not dissected for hidden meanings. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good History - But don't look for DaVinci Code Here! December 25, 2008
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This is a well done historical work in typical History Channel fashion. I agree with the other reviewer that there is enough violence and blood that it is probably best left to a PG audience. Having said that, this work does a nice job of discussing DaVinci's life in a 90 minute movie - and there is little in the way of speculation, conspiracy theories or ancient secrets - unless you are a Medici or a Borgia. Worth the 90 minutes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat eye-opening...albeit in a negative way May 4, 2012
This is a competent program, covering Da Vinci's life from birth to death. There's very little mystery inherent in the coverage of his life - he starts as a frustrated artist, and ends life pretty much the same, albeit with accolades (his role as court artist for Henry of France was largely ceremonial, and Da Vinci was apparently quite frustrated that he was not able to work as much as he would have liked, both due to limitations of his responsibilities and his advanced age). The program serves to demystify much of the current cult surrounding him. He was a humble man - albeit a brilliant and talented artists and engineer - and there is no evidence presented that he in any way participated in many of the secrets ascribed to him in more modern days.
There are dramatic recreations at various points in Da Vinci's life. Personally, I could take or leave them, and I found the heavy modern Italian accents on the English used a bit patronizing. Regardless, one gathers that the History Channel felt they were necessary to maintain viewer interest.
Frustratingly, I have long believed the popular myth that Da Vinci was a man hundreds of years ahead of his time as a scientist and inventor - part of the modern cult of Da Vinci. While this documentary certainly does show him to be a brilliant artist and competent engineer, it goes far to set the record straight, perhaps unintentionally, that the man was no savant in the area of so-called ground-breaking inventions. His "inventions" were, for the most part, already extant in some form or another. Da Vinci's contribution seemed largely to make the item bigger. Much, much bigger.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Painfully De-Gayed, but Generally Good December 28, 2006
The title of this work clearly references Dan Brown's hyper-successful novel. However, the work never mentions Mr. Brown and people need to learn that Da Vinci was an amazing man in his own right. Rotten Library Page starts off saying, "He didn't have a [expletive] code!"

I usually hate, hate, hate cheesy historical reenactments. This work is made entirely of reenactments, but they are not bothersome. There are more actors than usual. They were ornate clothing. When giving their lines, they speak Italian (though a boy Leonardo says "Mother" when I am so sure that's not how "mother" is said in Italian). It was more gory than what is usually portrayed in this cable channel's productions. Truthfully, it would have been boring just to see Renaissance paintings and the narrator mentions that no one knows for sure what Da Vinci looked like.

Too many people assume that artists are separate from the world and don't care about the power struggles taking place outside their windows. I applaud this work for contextualizing the times in which Da Vinci lived. History buffs may appreciate this work just as much as art or invention fans.

This work is de-gayed in a cowardly manner. The narrator says, "Da Vinci was accused of sodomy, but acquitted." Homophobic viewers could misconstrue this to mean that Da Vinci didn't love other males. The work never points out that Da Vinci never had girlfriends, wives, or children. Later, the narrator calls Salai and Melzi "assistants," rather than "lovers" or at least eremenos. Notable Names Database and Wikipedia clearly indicate that these males were Da Vinci's lovers.
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By John
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It gives you a window to the conflict & competition drove these families that ruled the city States of Italy

The City States & families would hire, and sponsored these brilliant men of minds.

These great Men like Da Vinci, that came from meager beginning, would Create Develop & Produced

1) Architectural wonders.
2) Machines to help with labor intensive work.
3) Works of Art.
4) Weapons to fight the wars of city states

This is known to be the birth Place of Modern Man & World
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sober overview on Da Vinci life March 6, 2014
The title of this Documentary is obviously Brownsploitation (i believe I just invented a word!) trying to capitalize on the success of Dan Brown’s work. But surprisingly this is a very good overview of Da Vinci’s life! His roots, early life, patrons, major works of art, interests, successes and failures are portrayed in a very sober way and without flimsy theories. The period reconstructions are rather good actually and provide an interesting visual help to portray the character of the genius and the tumultuous times and places where he lived.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This purchase met all expectations. January 29, 2014
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The condition of the disc and case was fine. The price was reasonable. I couldn't really expect more than that.
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