Book - Leonardo Da Vinci
Yale University Press in association with the South Bank Centre
Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Yale has published these two books in conjunction with a London exhibition of Leonardo's drawings taken from the British Royal Library. Leonardo da Vinci contains brief biographical and critical essays along with a catalog of the exhibition. The reproductions of the exhibited drawings as well as of paintings by Leonardo (not included in the exhibition) are large and of good quality. An interesting addition is the inclusion of models built from some of Leonardo's designs and computer-generated images illustrating certain of his mathematical, architectural, and perspectival ideas. The book's division of Leonardo's oeuvre into sections (the vortex, the measuring eye, etc.) seems arbitrary and does not prove particularly useful for understanding the work. Still, the accompanying text, which includes well-chosen quotations from Leonardo's writings, is clearly written and suitable for general readers, interested laypersons, and students. Leonardo on Painting is a creation of Kemp and Walker, who have attempted to construct a coherent treatise on painting (never actually presented by Leonardo himself) using selections from the master's many surviving writings on the subject. Kemp acknowledges that this project "involves some measure of conscious violence towards the original sources" and that "In some instances, a single passage on a particular topic has been compiled from as many as half a dozen separate sources." In addition to the heavily edited writings on painting, the book provides translations of letters, memoranda, and documents by or relating to Leonardo. While this work should be of interest primarily to scholars it could also be used by motivated laypersons.