I know Leonardo was a genius I know Leonardo was a great artist I know Leonardo had ideas that were far ahead of his time And I like the way Ross King, in his work Leonardo and the Last Supper reminds me that I know all that However, I like even how King points out the things Leonardo did that perhaps belie his genius, or at least humanize the man My particular favorite is how Leonardo used to write backwards script most of the time, not to encrypt his journals as I had previously read , but because he was left handed and it was just easier to write that way I m left handed, and despite all the corrections from the nuns that peppered my childhood, I routinely rotate the page 90 degrees and write top to bottom because it is easier Sometimes when I feel like it I write backwards because it is even easier I understand What makes this my favorite Leonardo is human fact is how on one occasion when he did wish to encode a few words in his journal Leonardo wrote those words backwards relative to his usual backwards script he wrote them forwards Ecin I also empathize with how Leonardo seemed to have difficulty finishi Early In , Leonardo Da Vinci Began Work In Milan On What Would Become One Of History S Most Influential And Beloved Works Of Art The Last Supper After A Dozen Years At The Court Of Lodovico Sforza, The Duke Of Milan, Leonardo Was At A Low Point Personally And Professionally At Forty Three, In An Era When He Had Almost Reached The Average Life Expectancy, He Had Failed, Despite A Number Of Prestigious Commissions, To Complete Anything That Truly Fulfilled His Astonishing Promise His Latest Failure Was A Giant Bronze Horse To Honor Sforza S Father His Tons Of Bronze Had Been Expropriated To Be Turned Into Cannons To Help Repel A French Invasion Of Italy The Commission To Paint The Last Supper In The Refectory Of A Dominican Convent Was A Small Compensation, And His Odds Of Completing It Were Not Promising Not Only Had He Never Worked On A Painting Of Such A Large Size High X Wide But He Had No Experience In The Extremely Difficult Medium Of Fresco In His Compelling New Book, Ross King Explores How Amid War And The Political And Religious Turmoil Around Him, And Beset By His Own Insecurities And Frustrations Leonardo Created The Masterpiece That Would Forever Define Him King Unveils Dozens Of Stories That Are Embedded In The Painting Examining Who Served As The Models For The Apostles, He Makes A Unique Claim That Leonardo Modeled Two Of Them On Himself Reviewing Leonardo S Religious Beliefs, King Paints A Much Complex Picture Than The Received Wisdom That He Was A Heretic The Food That Leonardo, A Vegetarian, Placed On The Table Reveals As Much As Do The Numerous Hand Gestures Of Those At Christ S Banquet As King Explains, Many Of The Myths That Have Grown Up Around The Last Supper Are Wrong, But Its True Story Is Ever Interesting Bringing To Life A Fascinating Period In European History, Ross King Presents An Original Portrait Of One Of The World S Greatest Geniuses Through The Lens Of His Most Famous Work 3 starsOne of the major events in the Passion of Christ is his last meal with his disciples He prepares them for his departure, institutes the Eucharist, and identifies Judas as his betrayer.During puberty, I usually ate supper looking at a print of Leonardo s The Last Supper on the opposite wall, so I can attest that for me any mention of Christ s last meal will always project an image of Leonardo s painting, as it undoubtedly has for many millions of others in the last five centuries It is a tribute to Leonardo s genius that the memory of his painting is brighter than the sad remnants left of his masterpiece.For me, the best aspect of this book is how the painting is placed in the historical context how it came to be commissioned in that specific location, why Leonardo was assigned to paint it, and why he choose to paint it in that manner There are some interesting digressions on Leonardo s character, his aspirations, his sexual orientation and the milieu but we are always brought back to the why and the how of the painting Finally, we are told of the tragedy of Leonardo s fate at the moment when he has finally completed an acknowledged masterpiece. 2.5 stars.I have lots of conflicting feelings about this book The writing was good throughout The parts about the gospels were excellent The discussions about symbolism were all quite good The science of 15th century painting was interesting The many parts unrelated to The Last Supper were hard for me to get through Lodovico Sforza, King Charles VIII of France and so many others that contributed nothing to the story The vague references about Leonardo s possible homosexuality were unnecessary and contributed nothing to the story The vague suggestion that Leonardo may have been a pederast was annoying and unsubstantiated and contributed nothing to the story The parts that debunked Dan Brown s The Da Vinci Code were so annoying Is it really necessary to debunk that book Just read the friggin thing and see how preposterous it is on its face Perhaps my problem with the book is of my own making I came to read it based on two other books by the author that I really enjoyed Brunelleschi s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope s Ceiling and I thought it would focus on the creation of The Last Supper It mostly did but the gratuitous distractions made me wish I read a different book on the subject instead. The brilliant Ross King is at it again No one does readable art history for the masses better This time he takes on Leonardo DaVinci and the painting of the Last Supper King doesn t truck in hype and rumor, this is the real story covering everything from his treatment of drawing hands to the food portrayed He is a careful and scrupulous writer and his Leonardo is full of lesser known tidbits and humanizing facts King s books aren t always the easiest to read but they are always worth the effort. I read this book in preparation for an actual viewing of Leonardo da Vinci s Last Supper in Milan I wanted to know the details surrounding the mural s origins, it s purpose, and the meaning behind the images chosen by Da Vinci To this end, Ross King created a book that fulfilled all of these interests, and.King uses da Vinci s mural as the center of a story that reaches out in all directions Milanese history, biblical foundations, da Vinci s life, religious practices, social norms, and pop culture by way of Dan Brown s contributions to the subject all find their way back to the painting And while this extensive view seems a bit too detailed at times, the omission of any given detail would have introduced the risk of something important to some particular reader being left out of the book King could not choose his readers, but he could choose to be thorough and thoughtful on the subject And these two qualities lead to a nearly complete impression of a 500 year old piece of art that has embedded itself into the fabric of Western culture. History and Italy are two of my greatest loves, so when I got my eager little fingers on Leonardo and the Last Supper I was already excited for what was to come And Mr King did not disappoint This is the first work from Ross King I have read and I have already added a few of his other similar works to my wish list.King perhaps from experience or sheer talent has a wonderful ability of covering numerous aspects regarding the life of Leonardo himself, the purpose and creation of the famous painting, while incorporating the details of the historical happenings that influenced both the man and the art piece It was a perfect balance of all three elements, compared to many art history books that have tilted too far on one side and leaving the overall picture a little blurry.I had always known that Leonardo was remembered as a genius with interesting quirks but Leonardo and the Last Supper provides an in depth and detailed exploration of a man beyond his time Some of the highlights of the book include the discussions of Leonardo s personal fashion taste he was well known for wearing bright pink tights , his wide variety of obsessions including aerial flight and the begrudging manner in which he supported his mischievous apprentice Salai and the somewhat high maintenance and short attention span Leonardo possessed that often caused his projects to take years to complete and angered those waiting for their pricy paintings While admired for his artistic abilities, he was a social misfit in his own way.I think it s safe to say that the theme of a misfit Leonardo is a prevalent one through numerous aspects of the book and his artistic career Leonardo was certainly an artist with eccentricities He was notorious for not completing works on time or even starting them sometimes and for using his own artistic preferences When the fellow artists commissioned to create murals in the Santa Maria delle Grazie refectory were using the fresco art style, Leonardo refused to do so and instead painted in his preferred method, oil Yet, it was the very quirks that artistically differentiated Leonardo from other artists of the time that added to his creative genius King offers a fascinating glimpse into how much time and thought Leonardo put into his paintings, such as the hours he spent making sketches of the facial expressions and hand gestures of people in markets and plazas A full chapter of the novel is dedicated to deciphering who were the artistic muses for the members dining with Christ in the painting King, who has experience with artistic criticism, offers an intriguing examination of how Leonardo painted and how his mind created what are no considered masterpieces.History lovers will not be disappointed either During Leonardo s lifetime Italy was a bed of intrigue and fascinating characters, one of whom was Leonardo s main benefactor Lodovico Sforza, the self proclaimed Duke of Florence, was a ruthless man and sought to legitimize his political claim in numerous ways One was through the arts, but he was also meddling constantly in the affairs of other Italian dukes and leaders, along with those beyond Italian borders such as the French King and the Holy Roman Emperor The actions of Sforza and other powerful Italian men influenced everything around them, including the lives and commissioned works of artists, including Leonardo who spent most of his life at Sforza s court creating sets for theatrical plays and working on a giant equestrian statue that would never see completion.Nothing about Leonardo and the Last Supper is dull King makes topics that might seem monotonous such as painting techniques and historic details captivating with his suspenseful and witty writing style He entwines the topics of artistic techniques, history and interesting characters together to create an enjoyable novel that any art or history fan will enjoy immensely.Devon athousandbooklifePlease come check out of my reviews at my blog I like Ross King I really enjoyed Michelangelo and the Pope s Ceiling so I knew I would like this one equally as well and this book did not disappoint.Everything you wanted to know about Michaelangelo life, how he painted this, how the colors are made, are all discussed Then he delves into the mind of Michaelangelo to interpret how and after whom the faces are drawn What the apostle s may have been thinking at the time and even the placement of hands and positions of the bodies are all analyzed for what he thinks the subtle hidden means are So much insight Highly recommend. From BBC Radio 4 Leonardo and the Last Supper tells the fascinating story of what went on behind the scenes when Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint what became one of history s greatest masterpieces.
See this thread for information.Ross King born July 16, 1962 is a Canadian novelist and non fiction writer He began his career by writing two works of historical fiction in the 1990s, later turning to non fiction, and has since written several critically acclaimed and best selling historical works.King was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada and was raised in the nearby village of North Portal He received his undergraduate university education at the University of Regina, where in 1984 he completed a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in English Literature Continuing his studies at the University of Regina, he received a Master of Arts degree in 1986 upon completing a thesis on the poet T.S Eliot Later he achieved a Ph.D from York University in Toronto 1992 , where he specialized eighteenth century English literature.King moved to England to take up a position as a post doctoral research fellow at University College, London It was at this time that he began writing his first novel.For Michelangelo and the Pope s Ceiling, King was nominated in 2003 for a National Book Critics Circle Award Brunelleschi s Dome was on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the recipient of several awards including the 2000 Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year.He lectures frequently in both Europe and North America, and has given guided tours of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.King currently lives in Woodstock, England with his wife Melanie
- 336 pages
- Leonardo and the Last Supper
- Ross King
- 09 April 2019 Ross King