For the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, an acclaimed art historian and an art connoisseur uncover how this elusive artist became a pop icon with megastar status in modern times.
Virtually everyone would agree that Leonardo da Vinci was the most important artist of the High Renaissance. Although he produced few finished works, it was Leonardo who singlehandedly created the defining features of Western art: a realism based on subtle shading; depth using atmospheric effects; and dramatic contrasts between light and dark.
What has never been told before, however, is how these revolutionary inventions were inserted into the bloodstream of Western art—and how they made Leonardo the internationally-renowned icon he is today. This is the great mystery of Leonardo’s legacy: if his tangible output was so limited, how did his mystique as a solitary genius survive five centuries of European history? And why does it continue to fascinate us in modern times?
The da Vinci Legacy is the first book to unravel this mystery by taking an immersive journey through the art, literature, science, and politics of Europe, from the Renaissance to today. Through captivating text enhanced by one hundred color images, this book takes off where Walter Isaacson’s portrait of Leonardo left off. It captures not only the reason for the enduring allure of The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper but also explores the secrets of Leonardo’s creativity, and the strange phenomena that intervened to make sure Leonardo was not forgotten to the dusty pages of history.
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About the Author
Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts is an art historian and a doctoral professor in the social sciences PhD program at Fielding Graduate University. He is the best-selling author of thirteen books, including The Biblical World, In the Footsteps of Jesus, and The Story of Christianity, which have sold 1.3 million copies. He has also directed several award-winning films for Disney, ABC, Hallmark, and the History Channel, working with actors such as Leonard Nimoy, Charlton Heston, Dick van Dyke, and Morgan Freeman, and produced recordings with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and other ensembles.
Dr. Isbouts’s collaboration with Dr. Christopher Brown has resulted in several books about Leonardo da Vinci, including The Mona Lisa Myth (2013) and Young Leonardo (2016), a new interpretation of da Vinci's oeuvre from 1472 to 1499. He is credited with the discovery that a copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper in a convent in Belgium was actually painted by Leonardo and his workshop.
Dr. Isbouts has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, and is the host of the TV series In Search of Masterpieces and two public television specials about the Mona Lisa, one of which, The Search for the Mona Lisa, will air in sync with the release of The da Vinci Legacy, marking the five hundredth anniversary of da Vinci’s death. Dr. Isbouts lives in Santa Monica, CA.
Dr. Christopher Brown is a practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has presented and published to both national and international audience, as well as an art connoisseur and the director of Brown Discoveries, a research institute focused on Renaissance art. Together with Dr. Isbouts, he coauthored The Mona Lisa Myth and Young Leonardo. Dr. Brown lives in Cornelius, NC.
Table of Contents
- Leonardo in Amboise
- The Legacy of Leonardo’s Studio
- The Leonardeschi after Leonardo
- Leonardo and the Artists of the High Renaissance
- Leonardo in the Literature of the 16th Century
- The Leonardo Legend and the Art of Engraving
- The Mona Lisa and the Last Supper in the Baroque Era
- Leonardo’s Legacy in the 19th Century
- Leonardo da Vinci in the 20th century
- The Legacy of Leonardo
Select Bibliography Endnotes Index