“Renaissance Genius...”Enter the mind of the original Renaissance Man & explore his fascinations, now paired with artwork & modern insights to bring his genius alive.
An all-new, jewel-like, reader-friendly format gives new life to this relaunch of an international best-seller.
Leonardo da Vinci—artist, inventor, and prototypical Renaissance man—is a perennial source of fascination because of his astonishing intellect and boundless curiosity about the natural and man-made world. During his life he created numerous works of art and kept voluminous notebooks that detailed his artistic and intellectual pursuits.
The collection of writings and art in this magnificent book are drawn from his notebooks. The book organizes his wide range of interests into subjects such as human figures, light and shade, perspective and visual perception, anatomy, botany and landscape, geography, the physical sciences and astronomy, architecture, sculpture, and inventions. Nearly every piece of writing throughout the book is keyed to the piece of artwork it describes.
The writing and art is selected by art historian H. Anna Suh, who provides fascinating commentary and insight into the material, making Leonardo's Notebooks an exquisite single-volume compendium celebrating his enduring genius.
Topics: The Renaissance, Illustrated, Essays, Contemplative, Philosophical, Art & Artists, Creativity, Ethics, Mathematics, Birds, Anatomy, and Design
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On depicting a battle:
"The air must be full of arrows in every direction." (There follows several pages more of instructions, including bits like, "There must not be a level spot that is not trampled with gore.") (p. 26-28)
And his bits on anatomy are famous enough without me. The distance between the corner of your eye and your ear is the same as the height of your ear. Now you know.
But then, on the less specific side, there's this: "Of grotesque faces I need say nothing, because they are kept in mind without difficulty." (p. 131) So da Vinci's not so different after all, is he? His specificity varies in inverse proportion to his subject's attractiveness. I like boobs.
Unfortunately, "Women must be represented in modest attitude, their legs close together, their arms closely folded, their heads inclined and somewhat on one side" (p. 63), which is not at all what I heard on the internet.
Some of it's amazingly perceptive, and some of it's completely wrong, and some I don't understand at all, but the effect of reading his diary is weird and powerful; more than, say, reading an autobiography tends to be. While he probably knew his journals would be read (he actually addresses "Reader" off and on), he was still writing mainly for himself, so there's a directness.
What comes across most is his curiosity. He'll jot down some weird paragraph about shadows or something, and you understand that this is what he must have done all day today: measure shadows and build shapes and math formulas out of them, because he wanted to know how they work. True, his conclusion was that they send out "dark rays" that bounce into "reflex streams" or something, which I think might be gibberish, but still. What did you do today? I pretty much just thought about boobs.more