Leonardo Da Vinci - Walter Isaacson

Staff Pick

Following his award-winning profiles of Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson continues his exploration of creative genius with this in-depth and insightful study of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster, $35), the great Italian painter, architect, and engineer.  Isaacson keeps da Vinci in a dual focus, portraying him as both a great artist and a man of science and technology; in vivid tableaux, he shows us the quintessential Renaissance man in the act of dissecting cadavers to learn about human physiology, observing water and wind, and pursuing any and all ways to better understand his world. Isaacson also chronicles how da Vinci, because he was born out of wedlock, was prevented from attending Latin school, which spared him from the need to conform to many of his era’s social exigencies. Using the great treasure of da Vinci’s Notebooks, Isaacson mines the master’s work itself for insight into various periods of his subject’s life, analyzing paintings for both the history they convey and the invaluable glimpses they offer into da Vinci’s artistic techniques. The book is generous with illustrations, illuminating not just Isaacson’s portrait but also serving as an immediate reference to Leonardo’s brilliance.

Leonardo da Vinci By Walter Isaacson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501139154
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 17th, 2017

Becoming Leonardo - Mike Langford

Staff Pick
Mike Lankford’s Becoming Leonardo might seem like a pure flight of fancy, but it does rest on the foundation of prior research and makes a serious attempt to dig through the layers of mythmaking that surround Leonardo da Vinci. It is indeed not a conventional biography, but Lankford’s wry humor, his sharp conclusions, and his pure brilliance when it comes to getting inside people’s minds will convince you that perhaps Leonardo himself would have enjoyed this one.
Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci By Mike Lankford Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612195957
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Melville House - March 28th, 2017

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies - Ross King

Staff Pick

From Brunelleschi’s Dome to Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling to The Judgment of Paris, Ross King’s award-winning books have interwoven history, art history, and biography, telling great stories in each category. With Mad Enchantment (Bloomsbury, $30)—the title taken from a French critic extolling the buoyancy of Claude Monet’s work—King chronicles the final years of that artist’s life. By 1910 , Monet (1840-1926) was wealthy and well-known, but, like Impressionism itself, he was “in danger of becoming an anachronism,” too old fashioned for the rising avant-garde and too merely pretty to be relevant amid Europe’s rising tensions. King, however, complicates both the easy surface appeal of the Giverny images and the role of art in uncertain times. If the Great War tested France’s resources, Monet’s seemingly endless labor on his Grand Décoration—the monumental series of water-lily paintings—was no less taxing. Measured in yards and feet, the series eventually included nearly 300 canvases; while they caught the play of light and passing currents, the works also reflect Monet’s personal tribulations—deaths of family members and fellow painters, his “loss” of colors, distance, and vision itself due to cataracts—and those of his country as the Germans invaded and whole villages were bombed off the map. Sustaining heavy cultural damage as well as staggering numbers of casualties, France needed its artists, and Monet was supported through his dark periods by his longtime friend, George Clemenceau, France’s prime minister from 1917 to 1920, even as Clemenceau sought moral support for his country from one of its greatest painters.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies By Ross King Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632860125
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 6th, 2016

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies By Ross King Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632860132
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 12th, 2017