Monday, April 15, 2019

The five best books of the last 500 years about Leonardo

Jonathan Jones writes on art for the Guardian and was on the jury for the 2009 Turner prize. His books include The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance, The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance, and Sensations: The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Banksy.

At the Guardian he tagged the best books about Leonardo da Vinci of the last 500 years, including:
It’s 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci died and almost as long since the first, and still most seductive, biography of him appeared. Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 book The Lives of the Artists is still in print – and a great read. It’s full of strange tales, including the time the teenaged artist made a monster from lizards, bats and insects then painted it on a shield to terrify his father. The way Vasari tells it, you’re not quite sure if this was art or magic – it almost reads as if the monster came to life. Yet Vasari’s fabulism is threaded with nuggets from people who knew the polymath. They remembered his love of young men with long curly hair, belief in animal rights and “heretical” lack of religion.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue