Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

Overview

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) stands as a supreme icon in the history of Western civilization. With much of his work lost or unfinished, the key to his legacy is without doubt to be found in the enormous body of his extant drawings and accompanying manuscript notes. Famous for their beauty and technical virtuosity, Leonardo's drawings were avidly sought by collectors even during his lifetime. This handsome book offers a unified and fascinating portrait of Leonardo as a draftsman, integrating his diverse roles as ...
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Overview

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) stands as a supreme icon in the history of Western civilization. With much of his work lost or unfinished, the key to his legacy is without doubt to be found in the enormous body of his extant drawings and accompanying manuscript notes. Famous for their beauty and technical virtuosity, Leonardo's drawings were avidly sought by collectors even during his lifetime. This handsome book offers a unified and fascinating portrait of Leonardo as a draftsman, integrating his diverse roles as an artist, scientist, inventor, theorist, and teacher. A chronological framework is also provided in order to shed light on his extraordinary life and career. The essays and entries—written by the world's leading Leonardo scholars—survey the wide variety of drawing types that Leonardo used and also examine a small group of works by artists critical to his artistic development in Florence and to his multifaceted activity in Milan.

Author Biography: Carmen C. Bambach is Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This book is the catalogue for the first comprehensive international-loan exhibition of Leonardo's drawings in the United States. It will be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from January 22 to March 30, 2003 and the Musée du Louvre, Paris, from April 28 to July 7, 2003. Published in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leonardo da Vinci may have been "the very embodiment of the universal Renaissance genius," but he was famous for failing to complete projects and commissions; his extant paintings number not much more than a dozen. His drawings and their associated notes (currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 2003), therefore, are crucial to our understanding of the man as artist and polymath. As Bambach, curator of prints and drawings at the Met, notes in her introduction, critical scrutiny of Leonardo's drawings have largely "neglected issues of their technique and function." The subject is a rich one, as is the state of art-making in the Renaissance, the largely self-taught master's left-handedness, the meandering journeys his paintings and drawings took after he died and the recent findings about his Florentine patrons, as the grand heft of this immaculately produced catalogue attests. Studies such as "Leonardo's Grotesques: Originals and Copies" by Varena Forcione, a curator at the Louvre, may be daunting for Leonardo novices, but overall the essays pay clear, cogent attention topics such as the role Leonardo's notary father played in advancing his son's career, the spread of Leonardo's aesthetic innovations and the union of his scientific and artistic aptitudes. "If the artist in him often got buried by the scientific investigator," Bambach writes, "the scientist's powers of observation also immeasurably amplified the artist's powers of evocation." This is a beautiful compendium and a rich storehouse of Leonardo scholarship for both the newcomer and the art historian. 515 illus., including 333 color plates. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Although this behemoth of a book purports to be both a general and a scholarly guide to the magnificent exhibition of Leonardo drawings that recently appeared at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, this does not necessarily address the needs of a lay audience. The show itself is given over to a superb cross section of some 100 drawings by the artist and is complemented by examples that testify to his youthful ambience and later impact. Yet the scholarly essays that preface the catalog proper, edited by the Met's curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints, offer little more than disconnected, narrowly cast studies intended for a specialist audience. Of the 11 essays that make up this m lange, only the first makes a serious and valuable attempt at considering a nonprofessional readership. Similarly, the intensively elaborated formal, functional, and chronological examinations of the individual drawings will likely overwhelm all but the most diligent. While an addition of value to the already immense corpus of Vinciana, this book has little value for general collections.-Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300098785
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Publication date: 2/20/2003
  • Series: Metropolitan Museum of Art Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 11.04 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 2.49 (d)

Table of Contents

Sponsor's Statement
Director's Foreword
Acknowledgments
Lenders to the Exhibition
Contributors to the Catalogue
Note to the Reader
Introduction to Leonardo and his Drawings 3
Leonardo, Left-Handed Draftsman and Writer 31
Word and Image in Leonardo's Writings 59
The Critical Fortune of Leonardo's Drawings 79
The Early Drapery Studies 111
New Light on Leonardo's Florentine Patrons 121
Drawing the Boundaries 141
Leonardo's Drawings in Milan and their Influence on the Graphic Work of Milanese Artists 155
The Codex Leicester 191
Leonardo's Grotesques: Originals and Copies 203
Documented Chronology of Leonardo's Life and Work 227
Entries 242
Bibliography 723
Index 768
Photograph Credits 786
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