The #1 New York Times bestseller from Walter Isaacson brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography that is “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it…Most important, it is a powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life” (The New Yorker).
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson “deftly reveals an intimate Leonardo” (San Francisco Chronicle) in 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. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. 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.
In the “luminous” (Daily Beast) Leonardo da Vinci, Isaacson describes how 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 to be imaginative and, like talented rebels in any era, to think different. Here, da Vinci “comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography…a vigorous, insightful portrait” (The Washington Post).
Screen, television, and stage actor Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Not Without My Daughter), elegantly narrates Isaacson's sweeping biography of Leonardo da Vinci. Molina effortlessly navigates Italian place names and surnames, and there is a sharp intelligence throughout his performance, as he joins Isaacson in peeling back the layers of a man whose surviving notebooks are crammed with fantastic designs but only contain tantalizing hints of a personal life. Isaacson manages to piece together chronologically the artist's life from his apprenticeship at age 14 in Florence under Andrea del Verrochio to his death in France in 1519, focusing primarily on his evolution as an artist. Isaacson reads the foreword and the conclusion, in which he ruminates on the legacy of an artist whose trail of unfinished projects vastly outnumbers his completed works. The only hiccup in this excellent audio production is that the nearly 150 illustrations mentioned throughout are available in PDF form but are not easily accessible for those listening on the go. Still, it's a great performance by Molina and a pleasure to listen to. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.
The book is a work of genius!
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!
Great Audiobook but wheres the PDF?
I love all of this author’s work and this publication is no exception. BUT I cannot figure out how to get the accompanying PDF which is very important for the particular book becuase they keep referring to it. Someone please tell me how to get it!!
Can we all be Leonardos?
Walter Isaacson, who already wrote compelling biographies of great people like Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger, and Steve Jobs, has done it again. In this new book he follows Leonardo da Vinci (who we should actually call ‘de Firenze’; the Florentine, Isaacson tells us) from his birth in Vinci near Florence till his death in Amboise in France. And what a life it has been. Isaacson shows us that Leonardo’s achievements were only partly due to his genius. As a matter of fact, just because Leonardo was such a perfectionist, he failed to finish many of his projects. And many of his ideas never went further than the stage of a conceptual sketch it study in his many notebooks. But the ones that did became some of the greatest works in history.
Isaacson not only focuses on Leonardo’s paintings and sketches - many of which are printed in this edition - but also on his inventions and experiments. He shows is that Leonardo truly was one of the first modern men. And he lived in the cradle of the Renaissance, surrounded by many others who rethought, remade, and shaped the world as we know it today.
The author finishes with a chapter on what - and how - we can learn from Leonardo. It is a long list, but all items have been tested since and are worth following.
Do read this book, it’s worth it. And do not forget the epilogue about the woodpecker’s tongue. It is as intriguing as Leonardo’s life. And yours, if you let it be.