Ben Oliver

Leonardo Da Vinci

02 December 2018

A biography of the legendary polymath.

Isaacson tackles Da Vinci’s life by focusing on his work and his notes, which makes for an accurate yet compelling text. He sometimes frames his prose in a modern context, which probably won’t make the book age that well, but he makes the reader his friend rather than his audience - something often lacking in endless dry lectures and biographies.

He also includes some of the most up to date findings about Leonardo’s work, which are constantly evolving. It’s amazing that we can still be discovering new information and new works about a man who died 500 years ago, and this alone makes a modern biography worth a read.

The book also tackles the validity of certain sources and gives us some insight into the world of experts and connoisseurs, which is almost worthy of a book in itself. It never gets too procedural about how the research was conducted, but it also never shies from showing its methods when appropriate.

A brilliant introduction to Leonardo.