Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (lee-oh-NAHR-doh dah VEEN-chee), the famous artist and inventor of the fifteenth century. He serves the duke of Milan, then Cesare Borgia. He also serves the city of Florence by using his talents as an artist and as inventor. In Florence, he enjoys the friendship of Raphael and earns the enmity and jealousy of Michelangelo. He returns to Milan and the service of Louis XII of France, that city’s conqueror. He ends his life in the service of Francis I of France, living in France and dying there. Although he is rumored to be a disciple of the Antichrist, he dies a Christian.

Duke Moro

Duke Moro, the ruler of Milan, the benefactor of Leonardo and Leonardo’s patron. Leonardo leaves Milan when it is threatened by French forces.

Cesare Borgia

Cesare Borgia (cheh-ZAH-reh BOHR-jee-ah), the son of Pope Alexander VI, a hated man but a patron to Leonardo.

Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli (neek-koh-LOH MAH-kee-ah-VEHL-lee), a friend of Leonardo who helps him get a commission from the city of Florence to plan a system of water-ways.


Michelangelo (mee-keh-LAHN-jeh-loh), the famous artist. He is a jealous rival of Leonardo.

Pope Leo X

Pope Leo X, an artistically minded pontiff who is Leonardo’s friend and patron.

Louis XII

Louis XII, the king of France, who is also one of Leonardo’s patrons.

Monna Cassandra

Monna Cassandra, a beautiful Milanese girl who is loved by Beltraffio, Leonardo’s pupil. She is burned as a witch.

Giovanni Beltraffio

Giovanni Beltraffio (jee-oh-VAHN-nee behl-trahf-FEE-oh), a pupil of Leonardo. He commits suicide after the death of Monna Cassandra.

Francesco Melzi

Francesco Melzi, a favorite pupil of Michelangelo and the artist’s friend in his old age.

Andrea Salaino

Andrea Salaino (sah-lah-EE-noh), a student of Leonardo.

Zoroastro da Peretola

Zoroastro da Peretola (zoh-roh-AHS-troh dah peh-reh-toh-lah), a student of Leonardo who is killed while trying to use the artist’s unfinished flying machine.

Monna Lisa Gioconda

Monna Lisa Gioconda (joh-KOHN-dah), the model for Leonardo’s famous portrait. She and the artist fall in love, and her death is a great shock to Leonardo.

The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Bedford, Charles. The Seeker: D. S. Merezhkovsky. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1975. Explores the religion and ethics of Merezhkovsky. Examines the synthesis of Christianity and paganism attempted in Merezhkovsky’s trilogy of historical novels and finds that The Romance of Leonardo Da Vinci most successfully combines the two.

Fedotov, Georgy. The Russian Religious Mind. 2 vols. Belmont, Mass.: Norland, 1975. Surveys Russian religious thought and practice. Provides valuable background to Merezhkovsky’s literary efforts by summarizing contemporary religious beliefs.

Hippius, Zinaida. Between Paris and St. Petersburg: Selected Diaries of Zinaida Hippius. Translated by Temira Pachmuss. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1975. Merezh-kovsky’s wife outlines literary events in the lives of both authors and gives valuable insight into their religious and social ideas.

Pachmuss, Temira. D. S. Merezhkovsky in Exile: The Master of the Genre of Biographie Romancée. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. One of the few works on Merezhkovsky in English to devote attention primarily to his prose. Defines the genre of biographical romance and considers Merezhkovsky’s historical novels as an example of the genre. Includes analysis of narrative structure, point of view, and characterization.

Rosenthal, Bernice G. Dmitri Sergeevich Merezhkovsky and the Silver Age: The Development of a Revolutionary Mentality. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975. Offers an overview of the historical novels in the context of Merezhkovsky’s philosophical thinking. Nietzsche’s direct and indirect influence on Merezhkovsky is elaborated. Analysis of narrative structure, important themes, and characters.