Leonardo da Vinci

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 17, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 624 pages
19 Reviews
The #1 New York Times bestseller from Walter Isaacson brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography that is “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker).

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.

In the “luminous” (Daily Beast) Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson describes how Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Here, da Vinci “comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography…a vigorous, insightful portrait” (The Washington Post).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Renzomalo - www.librarything.com

A great read, its only real drawback being Mr. Isaacson's predilection toward fawning over the individual pieces of art displayed in a book printing on photo-quality paper, which gave it the curb ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cariola - LibraryThing

A very solid, well researched biography of the painter, sculptor, inventor, architect, and all around genius. Isaacson delves into the connections between Leonardo and his family, patrons, lovers ... Read full review

Contents

Can Also Paint
1
The Nature of Man
212
Virgin of the Rocks
223
The Milan Portraits
236
The Science of Art
260
The Last Supper
279
Personal Turmoil
293
Florence Again
299
Anatomy Round Two
394
The World and Its Waters
425
Rome
444
Pointing the Way
463
The Mona Lisa
475
France
495
Conclusion
517
CODA Describe the tongue of the woodpecker
525

Saint Anne
315
Paintings Lost and Found
325
Cesare Borgia
335
Hydraulic Engineer
347
Michelangelo and the Lost Battles
355
Return to Milan
380
Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Sources
527
Notes
533
Illustration Credits
571
Index
573
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Facebook: Walter Isaacson, Twitter: @WalterIsaacson

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