[KINDLE] ❆ Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind ❤ Charles Nicholl – Saudionline.co.uk

Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind chapter 1 Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, meaning Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, genre Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, book cover Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, flies Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind, Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind ee9726c19a0e4 In This Engaging And Thoroughly Researched Biography, Charles Nicholl Uncovers The Man Behind The Myth Of The Great Renaissance Master At Times A Painter, Sculptor, Inventor, Draftsman, And Anatomist, Leonardo S Life Cannot Easily Be Summarized And Yet, Nicholl Skillfully Traces The Artist S Early Days As An Illegitimate Child In Tuscany His Apprenticeship With Verrocchio In Florence His Service With Some Of The Most Powerful Renaissance Families His Relationships With Michelangelo And Machiavelli And His Final Days At The French Royal Court In Addition, Nicholl Looks Beyond The Well Known Stories Of Leonardo S Famous Masterpieces, And Gives Us A Glimpse Into The Artist S Everyday Life We Learn Of Leonardo S Penchant For Jokes, His Fascination With Flight, His Obsessive Note Making, And Even What He Ate Nicholl Weaves These Details Together In A Fascinating Portrait That Goes Far Towards Revealing The Enigmatic Figure Who Continues To Fascinate Present Day Readers


10 thoughts on “Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind

  1. says:

    To write a biography of Leonardo that does not make the reader feel uselessly unaccomplished and inadequate, or dewy eyed with adoration, is quite a feat Of course Leonardo considered himself something of a failure, but that s just poppycock on his part though it is worth pondering why he was so unsatisfied with his countless accomplishments, just as it is to ask why Thomas Aquinas near the end of his life considered all his writings to be so much straw This is a portrait in the Leonardo manner a refined and patient attention to details that are then subsumed by a mystery engendering sfumato in the larger composition thousands of details closely observed funnel into the mind to be formed into a larger project, but which are instead caught up in whirlpools of a restlessly ramifying intellect, and never quite totally coalesce, which in the end is probably closer to reality anyway And Leonardo was first and foremost interested in reality, so we shouldn t begrudge him his many incomplete projects Reality and the human mind are endless Nicholl does not channel his energies into overt psychological analysis leaving that to Freud or an over interpretation of the art works Instead he fleshes out terse decidedly un literary notebook entries into a living portrait, a roughly day to day Leonardo Nicholl pored over these notebooks and found in rather innocuous entries lists of books owned, lists of people known, even simple word lists insight into Leonardo s character This approach is anatomized in the introduction where he shows his method by focusing on a late notebook entry on serious artistic scientific matters that is interrupted by Leonardo telling himself that he better go eat because his soup is getting cold Leonardo always had one eye on the heavens and one eye on the bowl of soup in front of him.Without being cloying or excessive, or too far fetched, Nicholl brings Leonardo down to earth though Leonardo s down to earth is decidedly dandyish how his hands smelled of rose water is mentioned a few times through cautiously speculative extrapolation of notebook entries and historical mentions of Leonardo but he only brings him down to earth in order to clearly show how his imagination soared This is not Leonardo as genius or magus, but Leonardo as a man not to say that he wasn t a genius or even a magus, but what is delivered here is a Leonardo as hypothetically known by an intimate personal companion, and through this hypothetical companion I now have the illusion that I actually know Leonardo, however much the numerous residual mysteries overwhelm my knowledge With a deft tweak of interpretation these two monumentally aberrant self appraisals can begin to sound inspirational to us common folk they can tell us that accomplishments do not in the end matter, that what matters is the individual and his her own apprehension of truth and authenticity, and living a life as such, which is ever fluctuating or should be , while works and accomplishments are like limited snapshots but still, we d all like to actually do something, right , to give some kind of shape to the entangled whirlwinds of our emotional and intellectual lives.


  2. says:

    All biographers secretly want to annex and channel the sex lives of their subjects , writes Julian Barnes in his novelesque biography of Flaubert and continues, you must make your judgment on me as well as on Flaubert Apparently, writing Leonardo da Vinci biography, Charles Nicholl wasn t aware of that Though being a different kind of a biography reader, I did not intend to make any judgment on Mr Nicholl Until I finished his book with, I must confess, a little a lot of skimming As every devoted Leonardo researcher Charles Nicholl, of course, has his own views, theories and interpretations of every known and enigmatic event in Leonardo s life It s only natural that writing a book on the subject he wants to share them with his audience and add something to already too huge Leonardo discourse There s nothing wrong with that What is wrong though is that a main focus of Mr Nicholl s attention is Leonardo s relationship with his father, ser Piero, and Leonardo s relationship with men b instead of nicely putting his assumptions in one chapter, Mr Nicholl scattered them through the whole book That said, if Sigmund Freud who as you may know wrote his own essay on the subject, called Leonardo da Vinci, A Memory of His Childhood was alive now, he d been immensely happy to get acquainted with Charles Nicholl s book Probably he even would ve written something on Leonardo s biographer s memories of childhood as well I have to emphasize here, before I continue, that my complaints have nothing to do with Leonardo s possible homosexuality or the influence his father s figure might have had on Leonardo s life and art Undoubtedly, these are the topics to be discussed in a decent da Vinci biography, but these are not the only topics to be discussed, not the only way to look at the man who created the greatest masterpieces of all time Mr Nicholl, however, tries to interpret everything Leonardo did from the perspective of either a confused man with suppressed desire or an illegitimate child equal to an unloved child in this case In some cases Mr Nicholl goes bold and blends both a man and a child As a result, reader has not a glimpse of Leonardo personality, let alone his sparkling genius According to the book, Leonardo was mostly a doubtful, restless person who kept fighting against his nature in many ways In between these acts of inner struggle he painted a few things However you wouldn t be told why these things are considered to be magnificent and insightful, but you certainly would be told how these paintings, drawings and murals prove that Leonardo preferred men to women and suffered from his childhood father related trauma I ll give you an example According to Mr Nicholl, Leonardo worked for notorious Cesare Borgia not because he was at that time a powerful and wealthy ruler of a huge domain not because Cesare employed Leonardo at last as military architect and engineer certainly not because Cesare gave da Vinci an unlimited pass to every bit of his empire which also meant that Leonardo could not worry about his safety No Cesare Borgia was a strong, handsome man, a father lover figure poor confused homosexual illegitimate child was bound to cling to.The other thing Mr Nicholl is obsessed with is Leonardo s expenses He goes into exquisite detail describing oh so many times what Leonardo bought and what the cost for each item was Surely this helps to estimate how wealthy da Vinci was and how he preferred to spend his income, it just needs some structure Again, why not devote the whole chapter to how, when and on what Leonardo spent his money Why scatter Apparently, Mr Nicholl believes in magical power of blending things and making one continuous never ending narrative The same goes for giving some background information Sometimes I asked myself if I was still reading the book about da Vinci or a book about Renaissance Florence Lorenzo Medici The house of Sforza The problem is that be it a book on any mentioned topic, it wouldn t get any better, because wealthy families, conflicts and other painters were represented in a way too na ve and biased manner Moreover, almost every other creative person be it a painter, or a poet, or an architect mentioned in the book somehow influenced Leonardo or was influenced by him despite the fact that some connections are not obvious and it s not enough to live in one town or one period of time to influence one another In the preface Mr Nicholl writes that his intention was to show Leonardo da Vinci as a human being, not a demigod epitome of a so called Renaissance Man Indeed, he succeeded I d say he surpassed his original idea, and in this case it means to utterly fail Nonetheless, Mr Nicholl obviously loves his hero At the very end of the book he even goes lyrical, saying that no matter what happened to Leonardo s body, liable to rot, his restless mind was set free It would have been a nice way to finish Leonardo da Vinci biography if this biography in question was at least not that bad and chaotic If this book is to be your first Leonardo da Vinci biography or if you consider buying this book in paper, put it down very slowly Go for Martin Kemp first Or Ross King Or Wikipedia page at least it s free I know what I m talking about this book was my long awaited birthday treat to myself a year ago If this book is a part of your collection of Leonardo biographies my case then go for it and form your own opinion.


  3. says:

    I strongly discommend this book If you re looking for a good, comprehensive book on Leonardo da Vinci, I d recommend you to continue your search.I ve read a number of reviews on a number of different books on Leonardo, to find the right one for me, and ended up with this one because of its high average rating However I must admit that it was a huge disappointment, for the following reasons 1 Even though Leonardo led a pretty chronological life, the author skillfully manages to mess up the timeline so much that one is left with confusion regarding the dates of paintings, Leonardo moving to different places, meeting different people, doing different things The author jumps from A to C, then back to B, then to K, then back to B, and then to O 2 The vast majority of paintings, drawings and architectural structures the author talks about is not represented in the book One has to google them, and most of the time will not find the right image, as many drawings paintings by various artists have the same name, or because the reference by the author is vague e.g drawing in Paris MS 10 3 There s as much psychology in this book as arts The author tries to explain pretty much everything Leonardo says paints with some subconscious motives, referring many times to Freud He sees patterns where there are none, and tries to link a painting done by Leonardo when he was 50 with a dream he had when he was a little kid, because the shadow in the painting looks like a bird, and Leonardo had this strange dream about a bird when he was a kid This highly resembles for example people who see the face of Jesus in everything, from toasts to rock formations.4 The way the book is written distracts consistently from the main points The author keeps dropping names just to show that he has done his research Leonardo attended this fair, where also was present, A, B, C, D, E, F whom Leonardo has met before , G, H, I, J, K and L Possibly also M, N and O With no link whatsoever to their importance in Leonardo s life Another example is the shopping lists the author just keeps throwing in Leonardo s shopping lists he bought A for 5 soldi, B for 7 soldi, C for 2 ducats, D for 13 soldi, E for 5 ducats And each time, the reader is left with the question so what It s nice to see some small, mundane details once a while, but the author just keeps repeating and repeating them.5 In combination with the points above, the literary way this book is written makes reading this book an actual struggle It s definitely not easy to read, and I ve considered many times just putting it down, despite my great motivation to learn as much as possible about Leonardo I finished this book just for the sake of finishing the book.6 As mentioned by another reader below, this book mostly focuses on Leonardo as a painter, and even fails in that massively It s technical analysis of the paintings is extremely limited, most of it being incorrect interpretation, or mentioning that there are preparatory sketches of a particular painting, or that it was probably done by someone else while Leonardo supervised Regarding Leonardo s other achievements, the book provides just a brief description, mainly focusing on just Leonardo s sketches for manned flight.7 The book is full of hypotheses and Freudian misinterpretations An example Leonardo traveled to Milan, with him was A and B It s possible that C was also with him, we don t know it Also with him could be D and E, again we don t know It could be that Leonardo met F in Milan just because F happens to live in Milan , but again we don t know G and H could have come to visit him, but it s also possible that G and H were somewhere else A daunting amount of maybe s, possibly s could be s, without any substantiation whatsoever just proves that this book is mainly based on guesswork to make it dramatic romantic or to try to link Leonardo to as many people as possible.8 Finally, the short review on the books cover says that the book brings Leonardo down from his lonely pedestal , because apparently many people feel bad about themselves after reading about Leonardo s achievements The book succeeds in this so much, that one is actually left with the feeling that Leonardo is an underachiever just another ordinary painter from the 15th 16th century no big deal This provides an extremely incorrect image and is even disrespectful of a great artist and intellectual, a true homo universalis.


  4. says:

    Really loved this I can t imagine there being a exhaustive book on da Vinci Nicholl goes over all that is known about his life and works and while managing to give all the facts, also indulges in a lot of what if s and context, all of which brings what could otherwise be an overly dry and academic book to life The world that he lived in is vividly described and the broader cultural and political movements are all given full consideration And where gaps in the knowledge exist, he gives plausible descriptions of what things might have been like based on what we know of other, similar circumstances from the same time That, and da Vinci is just a fascinating man full of contradictions and complexity, undeniably a genius, yet also deeply flawed and imperfect In some ways that was what I enjoyed most about this book One can tend to think of genius as springing up fully formed, yet it is the failings and shortcomings and struggles that form the ground for that genius to emerge.A really great book While maybe a bit too academic for some people, if you are at all a history buff like me, or are simply interested in da Vinci, I highly recommend it.


  5. says:

    Leonardo da Vinci s biography with a very detailed description of his work A stream of citations and details that mostly, if not only, concern those who want to study da Vinci in detail rather than read about him Several published reviews claimed that this is an easy book to read, while in fact it is anything but I d recommend it to students and teachers who deal with the subject and da Vinci s era but not amateur da Vinci readers.


  6. says:

    How could you describe this heart without filling a whole book written by Leonardo under an anatomical drawing of the human heart.EDIT This book changed my life, and when I reread an earlier version of the review I felt like I didn t do it enough justice This book brings you back to Quattrocentro Italy at the start of the renaissance, which not only fostered new ideas and innovations, but also meant the crumbling of basically all conventional beliefs and knowledge Leonardo was born out of wedlock in a modest little stone house rented by his grandfather to farmhands From there, Nicholl shows us Leonardo s humble, unlettered origins and takes us on a wonderful journey through his life that charmingly portrays him as a full and real human being, as far away as possible from the coldness of the term genius In this book, Leonardo da Vinci, polymath and genius was a young boy caught up in the complicated family dynamics of step parents and siblings A young man ashamed of his own sexuality An old man haunted by the works he never completed, convinced that he was never productive enough to leave a lasting impact on the world He was the guy with clever word games, fun picture puzzles A guy who wrote dirty jokes he happened to hear on the street, bought dandy clothes, who got angry and sad and disappointed, and who was, in many instances, a victim of circumstances like the rest of us The book itself is masterfully written and well researched Aside from Leonardo s own journals, Nicholl references many other contemporaries, from the diary of Florentine apothecary Luca Landucci to Niccolo Machiavelli and Marsilio Ficino, along with other general insights into life in Quattrocento Italy People who enjoy learning about history would love this book, though I highly urge everybody to read it, if only just to see that they do share a vulnerable, tender part of themselves with one of the most famous and brilliant people in the world.In short absolutely beautiful, rich, and memorable I ve read it like 3 times already and am still amazed by it GO READ IT.


  7. says:

    This Book Is EVERYTHING.I actually just had to force myself not to cry, because I m so overwhelmed And maybe because he dies at the end of the book Well, duh Y know, all those fandom trash people will probably understand me Don t you sometimes think about that one fandom in that strange way which suddenly makes you realise that all of this is not real and will never ever be And then you get really sad or hit by that really heavy melancholy This is what Leonardo da Vinci feels like for me Of course he was real, but that was half a century ago and he ll never be real for me.Or when you re a huge fan of an actor, author, singer, whatever and you want to meet them so badly and then maybe you get the chance to meet them and you think you re about to lose your mind when you realise oh, snap I m going to see their face right in front of me For me, this person is Leonardo da Vinci and reading this book is the closest I could ever get to a Meet and Greet, or a signing, or simply a wave and a hello because you recognised them on the street Unless y know someone has a time machine in their basement attic wherever and would be prepared to tell me about it because I d certainly be prepared to pay I m kidding I know time travel is impossible Which made this book both, better and worse, is that the author made everything so vivid Better, because it was sometimes written like a novel and I could see everything in my head like a movie which I usually do, but I didn t expect it from a biography And worse not really, actually, this book is perfection because I grew even attached to that guy On an emotional basis when, before that, it was on that artsy and science y basis.And you do understand that, amirite We re all book people here, that s what we do, we get attached to someone who is nowadays a bunch of words on a dead tree.And just like Leonardo dreamed of being able to fly his whole life, I ll dream of that time machine and I m not kidding this time If there was time travel, I would definitely take my laptop and show him videos of planes and helicopters and people skydiving and all that stuff Aaand I would have to do a language course in Italian first.


  8. says:

    Leonardo da Vinci was truly a fascinating man and this book does an excellent job of highlighting his unique brilliance In an age of the Renaissance man, da Vinci managed to stand out, not an easy thing to do among the other famous men of his day Michelango, Raphael, Bramante, Cesare Borgia, three different popes, etc He lived through tumultuous times with the exile of the Medici and Sforza in Florence and Milan, respectively, and then their return years later The French and the young violent Borgia also caused havoc in the region and it seems that everyone that was anyone was vying for Leonardo s attentions for paintings, engineering, sculpting, architecture, etc Nicholl does a wonderful job explaining the significance of his works and his eccentricity of trying to make man fly and his bravery to go against the Pope in his anatomical studies and dissections The problem I had with the book is that so much of it is conjecture Leonardo left a wealth of information about his works, but not about himself In his infinite notebooks there are jottings of his feelings, especially as he was aging, but they are not diaries in the normal sense When he is in the service of the Borgia he says nothing, he says nothing about the discovery of the Americas and Caribbean The book is full of probably, maybe, perhaps, etc There just isn t enough personal information to tell a real story I couldn t come away with any real ideas of his personality, was he dreamy arrogant Practical despite his creative inventions science fiction even All in all I did learn a lot and I am very impressed by Nicholl s research, his bibliography is extensive and his passion is evident It just wasn t as cohesive as a narrative as I was hoping and at times I felt bored with the lists of household expenses and the constant wondering if this person was really that person.


  9. says:

    It was a bit of a slog to make it through this biography The overall outline of Leonardo s life and works was interesting, and I appreciate the author s frequent citations of contemporary sources, but I was less than impressed with how he went about interpreting the sources and filling in the details.The author was definitely most interested in Leonardo Da Vinci as a painter He speculates about the origins, possible models, and hidden meanings of Leonardo s paintings ad nauseum while giving a competent, but relatively brief treatment of most of Leonardo s other accomplishments He also indulges in rampant speculation often of an absurd Freudian nature regarding Leonardo s childhood, relationship with his parents, and alleged homosexuality On occasion he even dismisses statements by Leonardo s acquaintances and contemporaries because they don t line up with his own pet theoriespersonally, I would think those sources should be taken seriously than conjectures by later scholars, but that s just me.Overall There is an amazing amount of detail in this book, but unless you are primarily interested in Leonardo da Vinci as a painter or in trying to deduce details of his family relationships through Freudian analysis, you might want to find a different biography.


  10. says:

    After I came back from Italy I became obssessed with anything to do with Leonardo Da Vinci On my bookshelf I must have 10 or so books about him This is my least favorite book as it is not a true picture of the man as a whole This book only deals with his life in art, not in technology, religion of the mysteries surrounding his involvement in the Iluminati I can recommend better books.


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