Leonardo Da Vinci by Sherwin Nuland
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is the Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495-97) and Mona Lisa (1503-06) are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance, while his notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time. In his interpretation of the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, Sherwin Nuland completes a twenty year quest to understand this unlettered man who became the greatest genius of his time: what was it that propelled Leonardo's insatiable curiosity? How could the same person, in the same moment, appear to be as naive as a child yet as profound as a sage? What was it that was truly 'modern' about this mind and work? Nuland finds clues in Leonardo's art, his scientific research, his famous notebooks and in his relationships with his family, patrons and lovers. He detects the siren voice that always brought the great artist back to science - his fascination with anatomy as the basis for his paintings and as a crucial component in his aim to systemize all knowledge of nature. Sherwin Nuland describes this staggeringly full life with authority, elegance and charm. His biography is an excellent primer on one of the greatest of all European lives.