Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo da Vinci

By Walter Isaacson

  • Release Date: 2017-10-17
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
4
From 48 Ratings
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Description

The #1 New York Times bestseller

“A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker

“Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post

“A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Luminous.” —The Daily Beast

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.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

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 of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

Reviews

  • The book is a work of genius!

    5
    By usingfromjersey
    The book is an absolute work of genius in writing, style, depth, and scope. Leonardo Da Vinci is one of mankind’s most curious individuals and that curiosity manifested in the culmination of incredible works of both art and science. In fact, this book and the lessons of Leonardo could and probably should be considered required reading for anyone working in, or curious about art and or science. Walter Isaacson has given us a treasure that will surely be read for many years to come, for in this book are the secrets that Leonardo himself uncovered about our world and about ourselves!
  • Good read

    5
    By wgold147
    Another great biography by WI.
  • Incredible book

    5
    By Handakina
    Isaacson is the Master biographer. Another incredible book. Substantial referencing throughout, along with sharing the opinions of other researchers. One can tell that the Author was really captivated by DiVinci “the man” as well as DiVinci “the scientist-artist”.
  • College textbook style

    2
    By Longhorn5555
    Not written from Da Vinci’s perspective... reads like a college art history textbook... very dry... interesting, but dry...

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