Historically Crushed: Sasha Gould on Leonardo da Vinci
Young Adult Romance Authors share their biggest historical crushes with RomanceatRandom readers. Today we hear from Sasha Gould, author of Cross My Heart.
My biggest crush throughout history? I can answer that in a heartbeat – another Italian, Leonardo da Vinci. What that man wasn’t capable of, wasn’t worth doing. He created frescos, designed flying machines, made anatomical discoveries, painted The Last Supper and caught the beauty of the Mona Lisa. Her eyes still follow people around the room even now, hundreds of years later, from the wall of The Louvre in Paris, France. Oh, to have sat for Leonardo!
It may come as no surprise that he was the original inspiration for Roberto, the love interest in my most recent novel. Both men understand women well, or that’s what I like to believe! Like Leonardo, born in a tiny village, Roberto’s origins seem humble – but, of course, Laura, the heroine, discovers the truth.
When Laura first meets Roberto, he’s painting the three Magi. You can guess where that detail came from – during his career, Leonardo also painted the Magi. At the beginning of Cross My Heart, Roberto – under his alias Giacomo – tells Laura that he’s the only person who can mix a certain shade of blue. I discovered this detail when reading about Leonardo’s early studies with Verrocchio in his Florence workshop. There, apprentices would grind powders to make pigments that would be mixed with egg yolk. Lapis lazuli would be ground down to make a startling blue.
Leonardo was also a master of secrecy and often used mirror writing in his notes and diaries. He would have made the perfect ally for Laura, who risks everything to join the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets.
Sasha Gould lived in Venice until she was nine years old. She later studied fashion in London. Her favorite things are opera, ballet, and romantic movies. She now lives in the Lake District of England with her cat, Tosca, and writes about Venice, the beautiful and mysterious city she knows and loves.