LEONARDO DA VINCI

by Walter Isaacson

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1 positive comments

3 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • Leonardo da Vinci - Sketch Art and Study Illustrations - 40 Trading Cards Book – Available Now: https://t.co/ijES9MEtmu via @etsy
  • @bobarmsnovelist @BCDreyer You’ve hit the nail on the head. Dan Brown was too ignorant to know that Da Vinci wasn’t… https://t.co/12vWEkWt51
  • Wisdom is the daughter of experience. Leonardo da Vinci https://t.co/WqTTIEEYXF
  • I read Big debt Crises by Ray Dalio, a bit of Bob Woodward’s ‘fear’ [won’t count it]. Currently reading Leonardo D… https://t.co/NKMZy9mAIF
  • This book Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is amazing! Shows where mans curiosity can lead man to surreal experiences and living.
  • 7 positive comments

    0 neutral comments

    3 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • The book is fascinating! The quality of the book is about the worst I have ever seen. There’s virtually no glue binding the pages. I bought this as a gift for my husband. He’s very careful with books but even with gentle reading, this book started to fall apart before he had even gotten through the first several chapters. I just hope it stays together enough so he can finish it.We order a lot from Amazon - I have ne era received anything that was such inferior quality. I hope Amazon will investigate their supplier for books and find a new supplier who will deliver quality commensurate with the price paid. This isn’t worth a buck in its present state. We like to pass along books that we enjoy but I’m afraid this one is destined for the trash/recycling. What a shame. What a waste. :(
    • While decidedly an affectionate biography, Isaacson is able to piece together the thought process of a genius. As he states at the outset, the previous subjects of his biographies have all one common element - the multidisciplinary approach of their thinking. Perhaps what comes through in this epic biography, is the profound power of observation. Whether it is in the description of 67 different words to describe flow of water, or the to-do lists of da Vinci. the various attempts to "square a triangle or circle", Isaacson is able to (poetically) describe the power of observation, meticulous planning, and a genuine sense of curiosity. Of course, Mona Lisa and the Last Supper gets its own well-deserved chapters, but the descriptions on how Leonardo explore the human anatomy and distilled principles from Physics for his paintings is fascinating, entertaining and inspiring.Using an example from Freud, Isaacson humbly channels the difficulty of trying to psychoanalyze a genius who lived generations ago; but the reliance of the sketches and work-in-progress, citations, and a powerful narration able to 'connect-the-dots' makes for a sensitive portrayal. The reliance on the sketches as the primary references to build the narrative of Leonardo's thought process is not only unique but also challenges a reader to think beyond finished product and enjoy and respect the process. The final chapter on potential lessons for a reader - sort of life lessons from Leonardo - is in itself well worth the book.The book (physical) is a joy to hold; one wishes that the publisher had created a pull out of the wonderful timeline that the book starts off with.. some of the photos could have made into landscape for readers to better appreciate the detail; a reader is likely to significantly benefit from investing in Leonardo da Vinci: Complete Paintings and Drawings . One will be able to better appreciate the process and the product with these two wonderful books in hand.
    • Walter Isaacson is on a quest. To understand his Leonardo Da Vinci you have to understand something of why he choose to write a biography about him at all, after writing biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. Thankfully, Isaacson is explicit about what interests him in these personages and so there is no need for reading between the lines.What Isaacson wants to understand is what makes some men and women people of genius. Not the silly way genius is portrayed in the movie Amadeus, in which it is simply some innate talent, but the character traits which enable rare individuals with the capacity to permanently change the world with the mere power of their mind.With that goal in mind, one is ready to appreciate Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci. The book begins discussing his early achievements in art and the investigation of nature within the first forty pages, fairly quickly for a 525 page tome. And the book is dominated by appreciations of his work, both artistic and scientific (to use a modern distinction unrecognized by Leonardo). Along the way there is a wonderful resonance between Isaacson describing the characteristics of Leonardo that led to his peculiar type of genius and then seeing that genus instantiated in a particular unpublished treatise on anatomy or in a work of art such as the Mona Lisa.If you are interested in this quest, in both seeing what led to Leonardo being a genius, and then seeing that genius expressed in his creative work, you will love Isaacson’s Da Vinci. Many biographers prefer to dwell on a lengthy account of the culture and history of the time and focus on the personal life of their subject. Others choose to try to psychoanalyze their subject and allow the reader to understand the subconscious drives which led to their accomplishments.None of that is to be found in Isaacson’s work. Though a summary doesn’t do the book justice, Isaacson sees Leonardo as unusually perceptive of the world around him, with an insatiable curiosity, a proper understanding of how to balance theory and experiment and a disdain for doctrines handed on by the past. These traits, and others, led him to understand the effect of light in creating the illusion of three dimensions in painting, which muscles are used to smile, how men and women might one day be able to fly and all the many other prescient things expressed in his art and notebooks.If there is anything to criticize, it is that Isaacson is almost universally positive, almost effusively, about Leonardo. But this is because the book focuses mostly on the factors that led to this genius and the actual fruits of his intellect. Admittedly, it is hard to be critical of those aspects of Leonardo’s life.One final point to make to potential readers: Isaacson writes in clear and simple English. Though the book is 525 pages long I read it in less than a day. If he had chosen to adopt the tone of many academics this would have been a far less pleasurable, and longer, read.Isaacson set out to determine both what made Leonardo a genius and why he is considered one. While every reader can form their own opinion as to whether he was successful, I think both the importance of the quest and its achievement in the case of Leonardo will be doubted by few readers of this book.
    • Although Isaacson's writing style is clear, and the book is exhaustively researched, giving great insight into Da Vinci's life, I cannot give it more than three stars because it is also tediously repetitive. Many of the topics he covers - such as Da Vinci's painting style, his personality (including his inability to finish commissioned works), the way he delved into human anatomy, his insights into the portrayal of movement - all of these and more were described, described again, and then redescribed several times over throughout the book.This is a 500+ page book that, with good editing, could have been cut down to 300 pages without any loss of important material. Yet at the same time, while dwelling on Da Vinci's clear genius as an individual, the book fails to provide any real depth about how Da Vinci's work fit into the society and culture of his era. Isaacson presented some basic material but not nearly enough to clearly connect Da Vinci to the times he lived in.At the end I was left thinking that rather than being a general interest book, this volume would work better as a text for a university-level art history class. The brush-stroke by brush-stroke analysis Isaacson presents in his discussions of Da Vinci's major paintings might be of great interest to students of his art, but as an enthusiastic reader of history and biography, I found such technical deconstruction to be distracting at best and boring at worst.
    • On this Thanksgiving Day 2017 I am grateful that I am able to sit down quietly and read Isaacson's biography of a man who died almost exactly 500 years ago. A man whose story describes the turning point in history , the Renaissance, when the unknown craftsman became the artist of the posterity, a common man could be come a celebrity, whose personality would itself become subject of admiration and study for the ages. As Walter Isaacson noted about Einstein, the lives of such personalities are now more relevant than ever - they lived life on their own terms, depending not on community or tradition for their achievements, their own inventions their own creations their only reward. And so it is for every man, woman alive today - we have Google, Amazon, and (yuck) Facebook - and can get all the information we want, buy anything we need to satisfy our dreams and follow where our curiousity and imagination will lead us ; 'Stay hungry, stay foolish' as Steve Jobs would say. We are no longer bound by custom and tradition, but as Steve Jobs again reminded young Stanford grads 'You are all going to die soon' Death is greatest change agent of life ' and we must define ourselves in the time we have by what we do, what we create, what we leave behind. There is no instruction book, unfortunately, on how to be unique, how to be creative, how to find and keep your identity in a world where everyone can be a prophet on the Internet, everyone a genius, everyone a madman. We can only give thanks that we have such marvelous examples provided to us - by one of the greatest biographers (along with David McCullough) of all time. Happy Thanksgiving!