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©2000 Sherwin B. Nuland; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Nuland's enthusiasm and knowledge make his story interesting and easy to read." (Seattle Times)
Husband, father, and friend. Catholic and Libertarian. Lawyer and mediator. Hoya and Wolverine.
This is an extraordinarily admiring biography of da Vinci, but the author's understandable admiration (particuarly for Leonardo's work in human anatomy) gets in the way. The best biographies let us experience the subject's life from his own point of view, so that as we see the various choices he makes we realize that we are actually watching the subject's own creation of self. Unfortunately, this book is not among the best biographies. Instead of presenting Leonardo the Renaissance Man, Nuland gives us Leonardo the 21st century man trapped in 15th century Italy. He seems not to relate to any of his contemporaries, and we get no sense that the burning curiosity within Leonardo was actually quite in keeping with the spirit of his age.
Furthermore, despite occasional references to Leonardo's studies in optics, astronomy, and math, we really only get to know his work in anatomy. Even his art is barely mentioned.
Hated it. He sais Leonardo is his hero, and that this book is about his genious, but he doesnt focus on the process of discovery, his passion, or how strongly he was pulled by his obsessions. Doesnt focus on his life at all. Just glosses over everything, and gives you little to admire. Goes over decades of accomplishments without naming them or explaining their genious.
He keeps reffering to his unfinished work on every page. Again, and again, but its ok, since everyone still thinks he's famous. As if THAT were the thing to amaze us.
This book misrepresents the power that was Leonardo da Vinci. The image he paints is one of an irresponsable, aloof slacker that had lots of potential, but nothing to show for it. He died a sad and unaccomplished UNLETTERED MAN.
if you want a REAL book to be awed and inspired by on ancient masters, try the unabridged version of "Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling"
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