Leonardo Da Vinci (Penguin Group)
Leonardo is the greatest, most multi-faceted and most mysterious of all Renaissance artists, but extraordinarily, considering his enormous reputation, this is the first full-length biography in English for several decades. Prize-winning author Charles Nicholl has immersed himself for five years in all the manuscripts, paintings and artefacts to produce an 'intimate portrait' of Leonardo. He uses these contemporary materials — his notebooks and sketchbooks, eye witnesses and early biographies, etc — as a way into the mental tone and physical texture of his life and has made myriad small discoveries about him and his work and his circle of associates. Among much else, the book identifies what Nicholl argues is an unknown portrait of the artist hanging in a church near Lodi in northern Italy. It also contains new material on his eccentric assistant Tomasso Masini, on his homosexual affairs in Florence, and on his curious relationship with a female model and/or prostitute from Cremona. A masterpiece of modern biography.
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