We've all seen his work - the Last Supper, The Vitruvian Man, the Mona Lisa. Leonardo was a master among masters. We know he had a brilliant mind and a breathtaking talent. But what else? Isaacson gives us the "what else." Using public records, contemporary correspondence and, most crucially, Leonardo's own notebooks, he reconstructs a life as unlikely as it was fascinating. Born the illegitimate son of a middle-class notary, his education and prospects were far from auspicious at the onset. Isaacson shows how Leonardo was mostly self-taught, never satisfied until he understood not just how his world worked, but also why. He shows the evolution of a real-life man, a perfectionist who pioneered techniques in art and who uncovered complexities in science that went undiscovered by others for decades, often centuries. Isaacson's writing is wonderful - his descriptions of Leonardo's greatest works of art are art themselves. The book is full of glorious illustrations, the text meticulously directing the reader to exactly the right image for whatever subject Isaacson was describing. This brilliant book showed me many new things about Leonardo and his work.
The best-selling author of Benjamin Franklin draws on da Vinci's remarkable notebooks as well as new discoveries about his life and work in a narrative portrait that connects the master's art to his science, demonstrating how da Vinci's genius was based on the skills and qualities of everyday people, from curiosity and observation to imagination and fantasy.