Art Of The Day Weekly

#547 - from 2 April 2019 to 18 April 2019

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1889. Oil paint on canvas, 572mm x 438mm National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney.


Leonardo, a life

It must not be very easy to skip from Steve Jobs and Einstein to Leonardo da Vinci. Grant you, they are all inventors, “disruptors” who have more than one thing in common: their curiosity, their tenacity and their genius. The biographer of the first two dedicated himself to the life of the third. Thanks to the label of “Best-seller of the New York Times” we know it is a serious book, much acclaimed by the general public. While the French translation shows a few flaws (Leonardo lived “his first military experiences in the front row”), the text is pleasant to read, something like an intellectual adventure novel, which was the life of Leonardo, swinging between the fresco of a battle commissioned by the Florentine authorities and the dissection of a one hundred year old man. With over 500 pages, the book of course does not limit itself to Leonardo the artist and it dedicates long developments to his scientific research, which cover as wide an array as the muscles of lips, the movement of water, or one of the problems brought up by Euclid on the right-angled triangle. He worked on it shortly before his death, before writing the final sentence on his notebooks: “Because the soup is getting cold”. A man who gave such a finale to his life must have had something good about him. Let us wait and see what Leonardo di Caprio will do with this in 2020.
Léonard de Vinci, by Walter Isaacson, Quanto publishing house, 2019, 592 p., €29.

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