19 bizarre connections between Leonardo DiCaprio & Leonardo da Vinci

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Human beings are like snowflakes, in that the closer you examine them, the more their similarities become obscured, and the more their differences are thrown into stark relief.

Does this maxim still hold true when you’re talking about two men whose lives are separated by hundreds of years? Sort of, if the two men in question have somewhat similar sounding names. 

This is the case when comparing the life, times, and achievements of polymath Leonardo da Vinci to those of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whose smoldering good looks and razor-sharp acting have enchanted audiences ever since he first appeared as “Glen” in two episodes of The New Lassie in 1989. 

Here, we’ll connect the dots between the many weird, strange, and downright spooky parallels that exist between the two Leos.

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Image Credit: Courtesy image 20th Century Fox / Zummolo – iStock.

1. They’re both connected to doomed ships

Titanic is the movie that made DiCaprio a star. The movie tells the story of star-crossed lovers who meet aboard the ill-fated ship, and as much as we hate spoilers, we don’t think we’re giving too much away when we say a few of the passengers might not have appeared in a sequel.

Though da Vinci isn’t typically tied to ships (he was more into aviation), someone decided to name a boat after him anyway. Built in 1960, the SS Leonardo da Vinci was considered state-of-the-art at the time of its construction and was even built to be converted to nuclear power. Sadly, in 1980 the ship caught fire and had to be scrapped.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons.

2. Then there are the nude drawings …

If you’re an artist and you expect to draw human beings, you’re probably going to see a lot of nude models. Da Vinci saw his share, such as in the case of “Monna Vanna,” a nude charcoal drawing that many believe he made in preparation for turning it into an oil painting.

While DiCaprio’s character in 1997’s Titanic liked to draw nude portraits of French prostitutes, in real life the actor sued Playgirl the following year for attempting to publish nude photos of him. Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas also sued the magazine to stop it from running nude photos of them.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures / IMDB.

3. They both have an unusual connection to grapes …

Titanic might have made DiCaprio a star, but he first gained notice for his portrayal of Arnie Grape in 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? His sensitive portrayal of a boy who gets left in a bathtub for a really long time wowed the critics and put him on the map!

While da Vinci was born hundreds of years too early to see the movie, it would be wrong to say he didn’t leave his mark on people who use grapes to test surgical robots. In 2010, Da Vinci Surgical System was used to surgically peel a grape.

Image Credit: Nimur at the English-language Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons.

4. … and to diamonds

People who are used to the finer things in life know that a diamond’s cut will determine how much light it reflects (hint: more is better). One way to get a blindingly radiant effect out of a diamond is to base it on the Golden Ratio (AC/CB = 1.618), which the 15th century Italian polymath incorporated into many of his drawings. This is known as the “Da Vinci Cut.”

Sadly, contemporary actor DiCaprio does not have the jewelers of the world working overtime to create a “DiCaprio Cut diamond.” They can, however, see him in the 2006 film Blood Diamond, in which he used a distractingly grating South African accent to deliver his lines. 

Image Credit: lightaspect / iStock.

7. They both nearly lost the use of their hand (sort of)

Back to the Titanic,  DiCaprio’s character Jack is accused of stealing a priceless jewel, and he gets handcuffed to a pipe, presumably so the authorities can deal with him. When the boat starts to sink, his beloved lady friend Rose shows up with an axe and manages to hit the handcuffs so perfectly that they break, without his hand getting maimed by wildly inaccurate axe swings.

We hate to be a downer, but anyone watching that scene knew perfectly well that an untrained axe-bearer swinging the weapon on a rapidly sinking boat will likely not hit their target. This could have resulted in permanent damage to Jack’s right hand, and if that had happened, he could have ended up unable to use it, as da Vinci was.

Image Credit: boggy22 / iStock.

12. There’s a Papal connection …

You know you’ve really made it when you’re granted an audience with His Holiness, the pope. DiCaprio got exactly that in 2016 when he met Pope Francis, spoke to him about the environment and gave him a charitable donation. 

Da Vinci did not get to sit around and gab with Pope Leo X, but the pope’s brother, Giuilano de Medici, was da Vinci’s patron, and arranged for the artist to come to Rome in search of employment. He was given a stipend to live on but had little luck finding work beyond that. He left for France after a few years, but slipped this mortal coil shortly after.

Image Credit: TomasSereda / iStock.

2. … and candy connection

Well, sort of. OK, it’s a stretch, but hear us out. People who saw the 2012 Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained got to see DiCaprio’s bravura performance as Calvin Candy, a cruel plantation owner in the Antebellum South. His plantation was called “Candyland,” and few who saw the film could forget the carnage that takes place there.

While da Vinci never had a “Vinci-land” or other such honor during his lifetime, that doesn’t mean that people who like candy can’t pay him their respects. And what better way to do that than by creating this chocolate reproduction

https://www.thechocolatestore.com/the-last-supper

 of da Vinci’s Last Supper?

Image Credit: Promotional image / Django Unchained / 20th Century Fox.

13. There’s that whole gay thing

Generally, da Vinci is presumed to have been gay. He never spoke about it publicly during his life in 16th century Italy (duh), and there was no Out magazine to cover his sexuality and tweet about it. 

By all accounts, Di Caprio is straight, but he’s a vocal proponent of gay rights, and he’s written the checks to prove it. In 2013, he donated $61,000 to the gay rights advocacy group GLAAD.

Image Credit: nito100 / iStock.

14. DiCaprio may be straight, but he’s played gay (sort of)

If da Vinci was, in fact, gay, many historians have guessed that the people he had relationships with with were two of his assistants. One was named Gian Giacomo Caprotti, whom da Vinci referred to as “Little Devil,” and the other was Francesco Melzi.

In 2011, DiCaprio appeared in the title role of the movie J. Edgar, a biopic about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover which was directed by Clint Eastwood, who you may remember from talking to an empty chair. Hoover was said by many to be gay, although he never left behind a trunk full of old Honcho magazine issues to prove it. 

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment / IMDB.

16. They’re both into taking flight

Da Vinci was more than just an Italian dude who made a few paintings. He wanted to unlock the mysteries of flight (among so many other things), and he drew many designs for flying machines, most of which would have been powered by the aviator flapping “wings” to lift off. Hey, it looks easy when birds do it.

DiCaprio made two movies about flying machines. The first, when he portrayed business magnate Howard Hughes, who successfully completed a round-the-world flight in a mere 91 hours, in The Aviator. He was up in the air a second time in 2002’s Catch Me If You Can in which he plays a con man who pretends to be, among other things, an airline pilot.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons.

17. But wait, there’s more…

Now we’re connecting the dots between flight and heroin. In 1995, DiCaprio was in the movie The Basketball Diaries. Based on the Jim Carroll autobiographical book, DiCaprio portrays a writer who becomes addicted to heroin.

What’s the connection to da Vinci? Well, in 2019 a drug trafficker named Ramon Cristobal Santoyo was arrested at Rome’s Fiumicino airport before he could board a plane to Mexico. Another name that’s used for the airport where the drug smuggler was busted is “Leonardo da Vinci” airport.

Image Credit: Island Pictures / IMDB.

18. They also have bears in common …

In May 2021, it was announced that one of da Vinci’s sketches was set to go to the auction block at Christie’s. The item, which is a sketch of a bear, will be sold in July, and it’s expected to fetch as much as $16 million

In 2015, DiCaprio was attacked by a bear in a scene from the movie The Revenant. The movie is an utterly miserable slog that will take three hours of your life away (that you can never get back), but at least DiCaprio got his first Oscar for it.

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox / IMDB.

15. … and not just Italy, but Ireland, too…

Both DiCaprio and da Vinci are Italian (DiCaprio’s father is of Italian and German descent) but they have an Irish connection as well. In thee epic 2002 film Gangs of New York, DiCaprio plays a man seeking revenge against the man who murdered his Irish immigrant father. Lots and lots of gruesome violence ensues.

Da Vinci’s possible Irish connection is through none other than Mona Lisa Gerhardini, who sat for the legendary Mona Lisa painting. According to a website that traces the family’s lineage, the Gerhardini “family name is perpetuated to the present day in the Fitzgerald family, Fitz-the son of, Gerlad the Normanized form of Gherardini.”

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

3. There’s a link in building materials

Bridges are hard to build without concrete, but da Vinci presented a design for the longest one ever to Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire. It was never built, but researchers at MIT built a scale model in 2019 to see if the design was solid. It was, and while the bridge likely would have been made of stone hundreds of years ago, today it would be built with concrete.

What’s the connection? DiCaprio starred in This Boy’s Life in 1993, the story of a mother and son who move to Washington state in search of a better life during the 1950s. There they meet Dwight Hansen (Robert DeNiro), an abusive jerk who sternly upbraids DiCaprio on an ongoing basis for “bellyaching” about the town they live in, which is called “Concrete.” Spooky!

Image Credit: MilanPhotos / iStock.

6. They’re tied through fossils and their fuels

As a successful actor, DiCaprio has turned to philanthropy to finance causes he believes in. One of these causes is the fight against climate change, and in 2016 he addressed world leaders to implore them to leave fossil fuels behind and embrace clean energy.

A few hundred years before fossil fuels became a thing, da Vinci studied fossils, including some which came from skeletal remains and others which came from footprints that prehistoric creatures had left in their wake.

Image Credit: Rixipix / iStock.

8. Disaster is something of interest to both of them

As noted previously, DiCaprio is a climate change activist, and he doesn’t mind barking at you from a microphone to get you to pay attention. “Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” he said.

If he had wanted to illustrate his point with visual aids, da Vinci could have hooked him up. Da Vinci drew pictures of all kinds of calamities, ranging from hurricanes to floods and everything in between. You can check them out if you’re in the vicinity of Windsor Castle in the UK.

Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

10. Human skulls are a common interest

People with the patience to sit through all of Django Unchained were treated to several long soliloquys fromDiCaprio’s character on the practice of phrenology. This “science,” which involves measuring a patient’s skull to find analytical data, was discredited long ago, but DiCaprio’s character talks about it like a man possessed.

While da Vinci was born hundreds of years too early to extol the virtues of phrenology, the man dug drawing skulls. His pen and ink drawing of a human skull, drawn in 1489, shows how incredibly detailed his work was.

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox / IMDB.

11. They’re bound by iron

When Titanic became a global phenomenon, everything started coming up Leo. Anything he was in suddenly became phenomenally popular, even when it didn’t deserve to be. This includes his 1998 version of The Man in the Iron Mask, which went on to make $183 million at the box office after being released just a few months after Titanic.

It is not known whether da Vinci would have cared for the movie, but what is known is that he had feelings, and some of those feelings were about iron, as it relates to mental acuity. “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind,” he said

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. / IMDB.

19. In reality, though, the only thing they have in common is…

Their name. But, this is not an accident.

According to family lore, DiCaprio’s parents were at a museum in Italy while the future actor was still in utero. They stopped in front of a painting by the legendary polymath, at which point the unborn Leo gave his mother a kick from inside. The rest is history.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons.

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