Leonardo da Vinci

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Oct 2, 2018 - Biography & Autobiography - 624 pages
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  - breic - www.librarything.com

I don't think this is a great biography. While Isaacson does a good job at giving both details and a high-level big picture, and at trying to draw lessons from Leonardo da Vinci's life, I don't think ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - writemoves - www.librarything.com

I'm not sure that any book could adequately cover the achievements and creativity of Leonardo da Vinci. Though this book is over 524 pages, I am sure another 500 pages could easily be written on this ... 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 (2018)

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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