Da Vinci’s Demons (2013)

Da Vinci's Demons

“Genius cannot be contained.”

After centuries of reflection, the oft studied character of Leonardo da Vinci continues to reign as the genius and archetypal Renaissance Man that we’ve always known him to be. Yet as familiar as the man may seem, the opening to Da Vinci’s Demons illuminates new facets of his feverishly inventive and enigmatic mind. Beginning with Bear McCreary’s driving score, the sequence descends from painterly clouds and a Florentine horizon to reveal reams of hand sketched notes – a collection soon recognized as masterworks from da Vinci’s own hand. Paul McDonnell manipulates the hand-drawn illustrations to remind us of da Vinci’s ambidextrously rendered triumphs and musings while suggesting that there’s more to the prolific artist and polymath than even he may have known. Da Vinci’s demons seem to lurk behind each drop of ink, in each scratch upon the scroll. Amongst birds in flight and the fantastic contraptions that they inspired, Mona Lisa’s dispassionate smirk taunts the viewer with a secret she’ll never tell: “What did Leonardo da Vinci know that we don’t?”

In this, our latest examination of the anatomy of title sequences, Huge Designs assembles a golden ratio of iconic da Vinci sketches and flights of fantasy, brought to real life in a way that only modern day machinations could.

A discussion with Creative Director PAUL MCDONNELL of Huge Designs.

Give us a little background on yourself and Huge.

We are a small design studio based in London, consisting of three directors-slash-designers: Hugo Moss, Tamsin McGee, and myself. I joined a little over two years ago, but the company itself has been around for just over 20 years, primarily designing broadcast titles.

And as for Da Vinci’s Demons: what was the first meeting like?

We initially had a Skype meeting with the creator of the series, David Goyer, and one of the producers, Lee Morris, who we had worked with…

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