Thursday, April 9, 2015

Case Study No. 1883: Vespasiano da Bisticci

TVLib: Da Vinci's Demons
Libraries in TV series:
Da Vinci's Demons
Season 1, Episode 2
The Serpent
Tags: Libraries in TV series Da Vinci's Demons
Added: 1 year ago
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[scene opens with Leonardo da Vinci arguing with Machiavelli and Zoroaster about what sort of mystery the Jew is involved with]
LEONARDO: The second was larger, forcing him to find a hiding place.
NICO: Fluttering pages ... a book.
LEONARDO: Precisely. And where would one best hide a book?
[cut to the three entering a bookshop, where renowned librarian Vespasiano da Bisticci (white hair, beard, regal clothing) is standing behind the counter]
LEONARDO: Would you mind skulking around, making the proprietor apprehensive?
LEONARDO: Well, because you reek of dishonesty.
[he sighs]
LEONARDO: As usual.
[as he walks towards one of the bookshelves, Leonardo approaches the librarian]
LEONARDO: Signor Bisticci! How goes it? Tell me ... How many rows of shelves do you have here?
BISTICCI: Ten, what of it?
[he turns and sees Zoroaster placing a book under his shirt]
BISTICCI: You there!
[he goes to confront him (giving Leonardo and Machiavelli a chance to sneak away)]
BISTICCI: Did you just stuff something into your robes just now?
ZOROASTER: I beg your pardon! You offend me, I was simply hefting the weight of this handsome tome.
[cut to Leonarod and Machiavelli whispering to one another in another part of the shop]
LEONARDO: The fingernail was a clue to the second item's location, yeah?
[Machiavelli gives him a confused look, so he holds up both hands]
LEONARDO: Ten shelves, ten fingers.
[Machiavelli turns and looks behind him, as Leonardo throws his hands down in frustration]
LEONARDO: No, you're facing the west.
[cut to the two of them running through the shelves, as the camera pans overhead to show a digitized "blueprint" of the layout of the shop]
LEONARDO: [in voice over] It would be more obvious, when counting, to orient oneself towards the opposite cardinal direction. The east, and the rising sun.
[cut to a closeup of Leonardo searching some of the shelves]
LEONARDO: [in voice over] Additionally, Hebrew is the sacred language of the Jews, which is read from right to left.
[cut to the two looking through more shelves]
LEONARDO: [in voice over] So, if we count from the right ...
[he stops and points at one of the bookshelves]
LEONARDO: We get row number five.
[he looks down at the floor, then cut to a closeup of some drops of blood on the floorboards]
LEONARDO: Blood! And we know he bit off his fingernail ...
[cut to a quick flashback of the Jew's bloodied finger, then back to Leonardo as he turns around before stopping and looking up]
LEONARDO: Look, look! Nico, there ...
[he runs a finger along the dust-covered shelf]
LEONARDO: A heavy layer of dust, no one's disturbed these books in ages ...
[he points at the shelf above]
LEONARDO: But here!
[he uses the shelves as footing to climb up and finds a book sitting on top of the bookshelf]
LEONARDO: There's no dust at all on this book.
[he opens the book and flips through it]
LEONARDO: Written in Hebrew, no less!



The Serpent is the second episode in season 1 of Da Vinci's Demons.

Leonardo begins building a war-machine for the Medicis, but his first attempt fails. However, Lorenzo gives him one week to improve the design. Meanwhile, Leonardo also continues his search for the Book of Leaves. The Pope sends his nephew to investigate Leonardo and find more about the extent of his abilities.

Nico, Vanessa and Zoroaster are exhuming the Jew's body, whilst Leonardo has a vision in which he speaks to the Jew. After they bring the body back to the workshop, Leonardo begins his autopsy. He finds out the Jew is missing a fingernail nail on the right hand, after dissecting the body, he finds out the Jew has swallowed an odd key.

Leonardo is confronted by his father, who warns him about his obligations about the extent of the contract he has signed with Lorenzo de' Medici. Leonardo begins sketching Lucrezia Donati, who he also question about the Jew's execution. She reveals the Jew was running from bandits, and that he was hanged for theft, even though nothing is missing from the library.

Leonardo attempts to demonstrate his organ pipe musket, but the musket explodes and the demonstration fails. Lorenzo gives Leonardo a new deadline to complete the demonstration.

Riario captures Nico and tortures him to extort information from him. Nico eventually reveals parts of the truth, and leads them to Da Vinci's workshop. There, he plots a nefarious trap against his captors. He sets them onto the task of opening Leonardo's explosive-rigged chest, which explodes when someone attempts to reveal its contents by force. The chest explodes, which alerts the local artists and Nico's captors are forced to flee, leaving him behind.

Riario and Lucrezia meet under the cover of the night, where he gives her instruction through which they can relay covert means of communication, to avoid detection. It is revealed that Lucrezia might be blackmailed into doing Riario's bidding.

Back at Leonardo's bomb-wrecked worskhop, Lorenzo threatens Leonardo to finish his weapon; failure would result in Leonardo's execution.

At the tavern, Leonardo tries to solve the puzzle behind the key, which leads him to the realisation that the key in his possession is only a half of the key.

Leonardo and his friends go to the crime-scene and question a blind man, who witnessed the events of the night when the Jew was captured. The blind man shares insight which make Leonardo realise, the Jew was attempting to hide something-a book-inside the library.

Once they retrieved the book, they are ambushed by the Pope's Swiss Guard (which act as mercenaries). Leonardo and his friends manage to escape. Leonardo seeks refuge in Andrea del Verrocchio's private quarters. Where they discuss the Book of Leaves, its involvement with the disappearance of Leonardo's mother and the concept of progress. In the meanwhile, Riario pays a diplomatic visit to Lorenzo, where they discuss Loenardo and various political matters. They part ways under heated conditions.

Lorenzo holds a banquet, with a controversial performance of the Snake (Satan) entering Eden and deceiving Adam and Eve, during the performance Lorenzo humorously implies to the audience the performance is a metaphor for Riario's presence in Florence. Riario confronts Leonardo and tries to persuade him to abandon Florence in favour of Rome. Leonardo agrees to meet Riario the following day at sunrise.

The Medici's and the Florentine militia suspect Leonardo of being a traitor, since they surreptitiously follow him to his meeting with Riario. They have discussion regarding Riario's motives. Leonardo hypothesises Riario seeks to suppress knowledge; Riario refutes it, claiming he wants to administer knowledge.

Leonardo defiantly and demonstratively declines Riario's offer for a partnership, and pledges allegiance to Lorenzo the magnificent, his foolish brother, and the whole of Florence! Also noting he prefers Florence wild with, for all it quirks and criminals. Shortly after his speech, Leonardo demonstrates his improved musket design.

It is revealed Riario is in the possession of the second half of the key.

Leonardo discovers a hidden map hidden within the pages of the book, through steganography. The map turns out to be the northern half of the American continent.

* Tom Riley as a young Leonardo da Vinci
* Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati
* Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo Medici
* Lara Pulver as Clarice Orsini
* Tom Bateman as Giuliano Medici
* Hera Hilmar as Vanessa
* Ross O'Hennessy as Commander Quattrone
* Allan Corduner as Verrocchio
* Andrew Brooke as Grunwald
* Eros Vlahos as Nico Machiavelli
* Gregg Chillin as Zoroaster
* Paul Westwood as Niccolo Ardinghelli
* James Faulkner as Pope Sixtus IV
* Gareth Milton as a servant in the House of Medici
* Blake Ritson as Girolamo Riario
* Geoffrey Newland as Officer Capaldi
* Sharon Morgan as Sister Albina
* Jan Erik Madsen as Zircher
* Elliot Levey as Francesco Pazzi
* Bill Thomas as Vespasiano da Bisticci



The bookshop where Leonardo discovered The Jew's book was owned by Vespasiano da Bisticci. The book sellers of Florence could be found on the street named "Via del Librai", by the Palazzo del Podesta. The street is now called Via del Proconsolo. Vespasiano was a celebrated dealer of books and manuscripts and was also involved with the formation of all the great libraries of the time. When Lorenzo's grandfather, Cosimo, decided to create the Laurentian Library of Florence, it was Vespasiano who advised him.



Vespasiano da Bisticci (1421–1498) was an Italian humanist and librarian.

Born near Rignano sull'Arno, not far from Florence, he was chiefly a dealer in books, or cartolaio, and had a share in the formation of all the great libraries of the time. When Cosimo de' Medici wished to create the Laurentian Library of Florence, Vespasiano advised him and sent him by Tommaso Parentucelli (later Pope Nicholas V) a systematic catalogue, which became the plan of the new collection. In twenty-two months Vespasiano had 200 volumes made for Cosimo by twenty-five copyists. Most of them were, under the circumstances, books of theology and liturgical chant.

He had performed important services for the diffusion of classical authors when Nicholas V, the true founder of the Vatican Library, became pope. He devoted fourteen years to collecting the library of Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, organizing it in a quite modern manner; it contained the catalogues of the Vatican, of San Marco, Florence, of the Visconti Library at Pavia, and Oxford.

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