Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

Book - 2017
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"He was history's most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us? The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography. Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves 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. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. 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"--
Publisher: New York, NY :, Simon & Schuster,, 2017
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781501139154
1501139150
Branch Call Number: 759.5 LEO 2017
Characteristics: xii, 599 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm

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CircMary Jul 24, 2018

Leonardo da Vinci continues to intrigue and mystify us. I have been fascinated by da Vinci since childhood, so I was eager to read this new biography. Although I was hoping for something a little more well-written and scholarly, on the whole it was a satisfying re-discovery for me. I wasn't aware of the wealth of primary sources available surrounding this Renaissance man, the recent scientific research done on his paintings, or the debates surrounding new "discoveries" of his artwork in the past few years. The color plates of the paintings and notebooks are real bonuses for delving into the material presented.

t
talk2terih
Jul 19, 2018

What a beautiful book! Even apart from content, the book is weighty and uses fine quality glossy paper the better to display the art illustrations within. It is a pleasure to hold and to behold. In a day when we are getting farther away from printed matter, it is an unexpected treat to find a book of such quality. For older readers, there is a definite tactile pleasure to picking up an actual book that ebooks, however versatile and useful, will never offer.

Leonardo DaVinci was a true Renaissance man. Everything interested him, particularly as each piece if knowledge impacted the other knowledge he already possessed. He is well known for his intellectual curiosity, and we would probably see his name attached to any number of scientific procedures, laws, and truisms, had he been less loathe to publish his work. A true visionary, he made observations and predictions based on very primitive science that were proven many years later to be, and named after later scholars who did publish their work.
DaVinci's ability to observe things in the most minute of detail was impressive. And his imagination knew few boundaries. What an interesting conversationalist he must have been!
Isaacson is clearly a fan, and gives us a portrait of a man worth admiring. He might have been better served to draw DaVinci in slightly less glowing terms, but DaVinci was an impressive man a f it is tough not to be an eager fan.

g
gofleming
Apr 18, 2018

love the subject matter but did not enjoy the writing style of Isaacson. I don't think the author removed himself enough from his awe of his subject to avoid some of his writing coming across like a fawning fan boy.
I also felt he was putting too much of his own self and his own analysis of Da Vinci's work into his writing, instead of adding input from proper scholars. The depth of the authors learning doesn't do his subject proper justice. He might as well called his book da vinci and me.

There is good information in this overlong biography but it only made me want to research Da Vinci elsewhere. Doubt I could bring myself to read another book by Isaacson.

o
orange_lobster_23
Apr 06, 2018

Truly an inspiring insatiably curious self-taught explorer whose passions span drawing, painting, set-design, mathematics, physics, architecture, music, biology, geology and their inter-relationships. Isaacson's challenges readers to (re)discover and continually nurture our curiosity. This book is a compelling argument for the simultaneous development of arts and humanities education along with scientific inquiry.

c
ChrisMcMil
Mar 30, 2018

In vividly describing the life and times of Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaacson was incredibly thorough in his research and insightful in his analysis, providing copious references for the serious student but keeping the text accessible and enjoyable to the casual reader. In dealing with Leonardo's amazing works of art, science and engineering, and the fascinating context of the Italian Renaissance, Isaacson has written a truly enjoyable story that both educates and inspires. (For example: most of those amazing engineering plans for flying machines etc. were actually just designs for props for theatrical amusements.) I highly recommend this richly illustrated and masterfully written book.

k
kwsmith
Feb 25, 2018

Famous biographer Walter Isaacson offers his candid opinions on the life and legacy of famous artist/inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Although much of Leonardo's life has been covered before, Isaacson offers some insightful gems, especially in the final summary chapter.

z
Zifr
Feb 25, 2018

As an avid Da Vinci reader I learned a lot from Isaacson's biography. However I did find him to repeat himself a lot such as repeating about how Leonardo loved to dress fashionably and have men in his bed.

4
4536o
Jan 22, 2018

Don't be put off by the sheer size and weight of this volume. It is beautifully written, with immense amounts of information and insight, delivered in accessible prose. As just one of many possible highlights, the couple-dozen pages about the Mona Lisa (almost at the end) provide a brilliant summary of current scholarship about this world's most famous painting.

n
NealWSyrette
Jan 18, 2018

"He was history's most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?"

I'll show you (and you won't even need to read this book; I didn't)

"Leonardo's fascination with anatomical structure informed his paintings; his profound interest in math and the transformation of shapes influenced his inventions."

Most of his work was unfinished because he couldn't reconcile the math with the art; he understood that math as we know it, is only actually representative of two dimensions (Mona Lisa's smile). He was compulsive.

The key/pattern that he couldn't find, was some where in God's creation (he just didn't have the means to see it; they didn't even begin to really understand gravity then, let alone the incorporation of it into mathematics.)...

l
laphampeak
Jan 11, 2018

An amazing, well written and researched biography. I expected a daunting book of facts and details. Although the reader is certainly given details, they are presented with the same curiosity and observation that worked so well for Da Vinci. He was responsible for the early conception of things that were later invented. There were many unfinished works perhaps due to his depending less on the money earned than the seeking of his quest for the universal measure of man and how he fits into the cosmos.
Isaacson put together Da Vinci's life and work with pictures, descriptions, and feeling. The reader leaves with a true sense of what his life was all about.

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