One of the most accomplished human beings who ever lived, Leonardo remains the quintessential Renaissance genius. Creator of the world’s most famous painting, this scientist, artist, philosopher, inventor, builder, and mechanic epitomized the great flowering of human consciousness that marks his era. And yet, so wide-ranging and prolific were his interests that he brought hardly any major undertaking to a final end.
If Leonardo seems so modern, it is perhaps because of his non-speciality, his magpie mind and curiosity, and his thousands of notes and sketches. In these pages he would anticipate some of the great discoveries and inventions that would follow him, from key points in anatomy—such as the principles behind blood circulation—through to plans for armoured military vehicles, planes, helicopters and submarines.
Leonardo also advanced numerous artistic techniques, and implicated a complex psychology into his paintings of The Last Supper and the enigmatic La Gioconda, or Mona Lisa. Famous horseman, rival to Michelangelo, military engineer to the Borgias, he died in 1519 in a chateau given to him by Francis I, King of France. Not bad for the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary.
About the Series:
Each book in TASCHEN’s Basic Art Series features:
- a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance
- a concise biography
- approximately 100 colour illustrations with explanatory captions
Frank Zöllner wrote his doctoral thesis on motifs originating from Antiquity in the history of art and architecture of the Medieval and Renaissance periods (1987). He is also the author of a postdoctoral treatise on motion and expression in the art of Leonardo da Vinci, published in 2010. He has published numerous works on Renaissance art and art theory, and on 20th-century art. Since 1996 he has been Professor of Medieval and Modern Art at the University of Leipzig. For TASCHEN he has authored the XL monographs on Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.