LEONARDO DA VINCI

by Walter Isaacson

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1 positive comments

3 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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  • 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
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  • This book Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is amazing! Shows where mans curiosity can lead man to surreal experiences and living.
  • Leonardo da Vinci - Sketch Art and Study Illustrations - 40 Trading Cards Book – Available Now: https://t.co/ijES9MEtmu via @etsy
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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • Magnificent Biography of one of the worlds great innovators. This book is massive, not only in length but in depth. Isaacson's biographical narrative is seamlessly interwoven with analysis and context of the work of da Vinci. The book itself is beautifully printed on high quality paper with numerous well rendered illustrations abundantly presented. In presenting da Vinci's personal thoughts and events of his life, Isaacson identifies sources supported by plenty of end notes and citations. You really see the scope of research and care that went into completing what will easily become the biography of record of the great master. Having read previous da Vinci biographies I contend that one of this versions strengths is its interpretation of da Vinci's relationship to the artists, scientists and philosophers of not just his contemporaries, but of his continued influence on those disciplines throughout human history and contemporary thought. Really quite an accomplishment. The downside of reading about da Vinci is how it can make you feel a great personal loss for time wasted on meaningless pursuits.
    • 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.
    • In one sense, this is an incredibly enjoyable biography that sheds light on the varied achievements and adventures of history's most dynamic creative genius.In another sense, it is among the most frustrating books I have ever read.This frustration stems from a telling fact about the book: out of 33 chapters, one is devoted to Da Vinci's personal life. Perhaps I'm in the great minority that opened this book hoping for a vivid portrait of not only the great artist's works, but also his personality. This was certainly my experience with Isaacson's other biographies. In the little details about Ben Franklin's strange hijinks when sharing an Inn room with John Adams, or elderly Einstein helping children with their math homework, one can begin to form an understanding of how such iconic geniuses actually operated in day to day life.But after more than 500 fascinating pages about Leonardo's paintings, journals, and drawings, the man himself remains as mysterious as ever. Perhaps this was no fault of Walter Isaacson's, and there is simply not enough evidence left behind to put together a detailed portrait of Da Vinci's personal life. However, this doesn't seem to be the case, as he occasionally provides tantalizing fragments from letters and journal entries such as:"The Medici made me and ruined me.""Tell me was anything ever done...tell me....tell me."Isaacson gives such fragments just a couple of sentences of consideration. Throughout the book, personal letters are referred to and quoted, but never in much detail or in the context of other clues about Da Vinci's personality. To be clear, I loved learning more about the paintings and journals. They are among the most fascinating documents ever produced by mankind. But in voluminous biographies, especially those of Isaacson, I've come to hope for more than analysis of well-known achievements. I feel as if the cover itself perhaps misled me. After reading this book, I'm well educated on all the grace and beauty of the man's works, but still entirely ignorant about the pattern of his soul.
    • 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.
    • Isaacson does not consider Leonardo as a genius in the same sense as Isaac Newton and Einstein who had brains beyond the realm of we mere mortals, rather he looks at Leonardo as more human, though a man of intense curiosity -- about everything -- who could assimilate imagination and technology, in essence one of the first renaissance men. Isaacson has focused on Leonardo's notebooks and he has traveled to all the archives where the originals are maintained – a definitive work on the life of Leonardo da Vinci.This book is written as though one is talking a leisurely stroll with an art expert who is pointing out all the subtle details in each work. Early on Leonardo was an apprentice to Verrocchio. They worked together [collaborated] on “Tobia and the Angel” and on the “Baptism of Christ”. What is so astounding is that the use of modern X-ray analysis enables one to discern which part of the work was done by Leonardo and which part was done by Verrocchio. By the time of the “Baptism of Christ,” Leonardo was clearly surpassing his master.Via this book, I feel as though I am taking a leisurely stroll through the works of the masters and obtaining a priceless art education. However I realize, that in order to best appreciate this book, one must have an adequate exposure to art, art history, history in general, the Bible, the classics, the Greeks, etc. One cannot just pick up this book and fully appreciate Leonardo without a fair understanding of what came before.Wonderful. A great book for leisurely reading in a quiet reflective mood, one cannot race through it.