"Leonardo Da Vinci" by Walter Isaacson

By Walter Isaacson

Reviewed by Carter

ISBN 9781501139154

Genius is a word often used, but rarely appropriate. In Walter Isaacson's new biography, Leonardo da Vinci, we get a glimpse into one of history's true great minds.  So often with historical figures the veil of time clouds the truth, leaving us guessing the why and how of what they did. Thankfully, Leonard left us thousands of pages of notebooks, written in mirrored script (right to left and backwards) by the way, that allow us to follow his infinite curiosity that led to his enduring legacy. Many know his simple but elegant drawing The Vitruvian Man, but what surprised me was that it was drawn not as a study of the human body, but as a desire to transpose human proportions into architecture, merging man and his creations. Or the Mona Lisa, whose subtle smile we all know, was worked on for almost twenty years. Leonardo would often sit and meditate on it for hours at a time, only adding a few strokes here and there. Never satisfied with it, it only was made public and displayed after his death. And the list goes on. Isaacson leaves no stone unturned in this exhaustive biography, yet has created a wonderfully readable and inspiring account of one of the greatest figures in human history. The book will not just leave you with a greater appreciation for Leonardo da Vinci, but also for the capabilities of a curious and open mind.

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