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A veritable rock star in the book world some five centuries after his birth, Leonardo Da Vinci is a man for the ages. Millions of readers hungrily ponder the mysteries behind his sketch-filled notebooks, radical inventions, and enigmatic paintings. This stunning book, like no other on the market, explores the master’s insights and synthesizes his relationship with art and science in a magnificently illustrated and informative style. Every page resonates with Leonardo’s genius, demonstrated by his own art and ...
A veritable rock star in the book world some five centuries after his birth, Leonardo Da Vinci is a man for the ages. Millions of readers hungrily ponder the mysteries behind his sketch-filled notebooks, radical inventions, and enigmatic paintings. This stunning book, like no other on the market, explores the master’s insights and synthesizes his relationship with art and science in a magnificently illustrated and informative style. Every page resonates with Leonardo’s genius, demonstrated by his own art and writings as well as modern diagrams and workable re-creations of his inventions.
Physicist and artist Bulent Atalay, author of Math and the Mona Lisa, deftly explains Leonardo’s interest in topics ranging from architecture to botany to philosophy. Engaging prose and splendid images point up the science and mathematics underlying Leonardo’s genius, showing how attention to proportions, patterns, shapes, and symmetries informed his art. The story flows chronologically, with quotations revealing the near-magical thoughts of a man who just before his death asked God’s forgiveness for "not using all the resources of my spirit and art."
The author’s active speaking engagements and previous success with Math and the Mona Lisa ensure strong sales and ongoing support for Leonardo’s Universe. With lavish illustrations and thrilling revelations, this beautiful book will appeal to the vast audience of Leonardo fans created by The Da Vinci Code—and will stand as an important resource long after other titles have fallen off the bestseller list.
Posted July 27, 2010
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This coffee table-sized book presents in full glossy color the entirety of Leonardo DaVinci's life, work and thinking, while providing parallel social and historical context of Renaissance Italy. True to National Geographic's reputation, the imagery is the real highlight of this bio and not only contains numerous images from Leonardo's surviving notebooks, but his artwork, designs, as well as modern images from relevant locations in Italy.
Author Atalay presents tightly written analyses of some of Leonardo's most important works. He brings to bear the latest technical analyses of Leonardo's extant paintings and drawings which help resolve artistic and historical mysteries - some of which have circulated for hundreds of years. Specifically, we're provided high tech evidence surrounding Leonardo's "Ginerva", where the FBI provided resources to confirm the existence of DaVinci's fingerprints on the dried 500-year old paint. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. was also able to identify inconsistencies in the two-sided painting which led to the discovery that about 1/3 of the painting was actually missing. Experts were able to digitally blend the missing piece with drawings found among Leonardo's sketchbooks to confirm the missing art. Atalay also present a terrific study of Leonardo's "Virgin of the Rocks", providing a nice comparison between his original version and a second version likely painted by students at his school.
My only wish would be for deeper analyses (textually and visually) in some cases, but understandably, the goal of this book isn't to provide a treatise on each individual Leonardo masterpiece. Naturally the book also details the history behind and artistic critique of his most famous paintings - "The Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper".
Leonardo's interests and expertise are vast and make for an ever changing study of his disciplines.
While the book is written for adults, the images and analytical sidebars would make for great teaching tools for parents or teachers wanting to introduce DaVinci and the Renaissance.
I highly recommend this bright and illuminating book on one of the most fascinating lives ever lived.