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Leonardo da Vinci, 2 Vol. Paperback – Aug 29 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 700 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen; Slp Rep edition (Aug. 29 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9783836529754
  • ISBN-13: 978-3836529754
  • ASIN: 3836529750
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 5 x 29.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Lying open, this unutterably wonderful book is almost the size of the Mona Lisa and about as hefty as a slab of The Last Supper's monastery wall. All 34 paintings are here (including what we know of the lost ones), many with huge and immensely illuminating details, plus 663 drawings. The reproductions are stunning, on paper sturdy enough to serve as wings on some of the flying machines depicted on pages 644 to 671. The precision of the images amazes: the delicate petals fingered by the larger-than-life-size baby Jesus in Madonna of the Carnation; the wailing, dismembered victims of Leonardo's scary scythed chariots; Mary's transparent drapery in the Annunciation; the bands of sunlight streaking each swirling curl of Ginevra de Benci; Mona Lisa's gossamer veil and intricately embroidered gown; even, unless my eyes deceive me, one of the fingerprints Leonardo famously left while daubing paint by hand.

The text by Frank Zollner (and Johannes Nathan, who discusses the drawings) teases out meanings and sketches historical context without overloading his scholarly brush. Without it, one might have overlooked the dim crucifix on which St. Jerome fixes his blazing gaze, and quite misunderstood the sexist Hippocratic delusions that inform The Sexual Act in Vertical Section: "A tube-like duct leads from the woman’s breasts to her womb, while the male organ is directly linked not only to the testicles but also…to the brain." (Zollner’s discussion of the erotic subtext of some of the artwork suggests that Leonardo's male passion was not necessarily so rational.) The brief accounts of Leonardo's esthetic combat with Michelangelo and Raphael suggest that you don't need a scythed chariot to cut off an opponent at the knees. The famous quotes by everyone from Nietzsche to Warhol are well selected, especially Freud diagnosing Leonardo's genius as residing in his childlike sense of play. That's a key to the spirit of this book: it's more fun than a week in the Louvre. –Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Frank Zöllner wrote his doctoral thesis on motifs originating from Antiquity in the history of art and architecture of the Medieval and Renaissance periods (1987). He is also the author of a postdoctoral treatise on motion and expression in the art of Leonardo da Vinci, published in 2010. He has published numerous works on Renaissance art and art theory, and on 20th-century art. Since 1996 he has been Professor of Medieval and Modern Art at the University of Leipzig. For TASCHEN he has authored the XL monographs on Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Johannes Nathan studied art history at New York University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1995 with a dissertation on the working methods of Leonardo da Vinci. He has taught at New York University and at the universities of Berne, Leipzig and Cologne. He is the author of a range of publications on art and works as an art dealer and freelance art historian in Berlin.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp TOP 100 REVIEWER on Nov. 26 2003
Format: Hardcover
LEONARDO DA VINCI: THE COMPLETE PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS is a mammoth undertaking in concept and the product of this undertaking is physically mammoth! The very large, heavy tome sets out to explore the history of one of the greatest minds, artists, thinkers, and seers of all time and in doing so we are presented with all of the paintings down to the brushstroke, all of the drawings which include notes and paper quality, and the many writings of this giant of a man. Frank Zollner is an entertaining writer as well as a fine scholar. The facts are all (mostly) here and they are related in an enormously readable fashion. No dry data crunching here, just elegant prose that accompanies more visuals than you could ever imagine.
The three parts of the book are presented with equal importance: Part One is Da Vinci's life and his place in the historic and retrospective setting and contains many of his writings. Part Two is the catalogue raissone for the paintings, both those well known and extant and some images of paintings that no longer exist. Part Three is devoted to the fascinating drawings of just about every subject imaginable. Each is presented with grace, a touch of humor, and a sense of profound respect.
Other books on Da Vinci may boast better/more correct color reproduction and choices of cropping and layout, but for the sheer splendor of this great artist's output and influence on the world of art, religion, sociology and science, this book is going to be the benchmark for years to come. A magnificent book for your table and a particularly elegant gift for your friends!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22 2004
Format: Hardcover
Not much more to add to what's already been said. This is a big investment of space as well as money, but I'm glad I have it, I've never seen an art book that compares, for Leonardo or any artist for that matter. Absolutely beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Sulkers on April 7 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is simply a stunning book. The pictures are of amazing quality and the text I found to be informative and easy to understand. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Some books are good. Some are great. This one is profound! This is a prodigious quantity of Da Vinci's works in mostly large format and astonishing color. The subtleties found in his technique, his drawing materials, the toning due to age, are all given an immediacy and a life-like quality that is rarely achieved in reproduction. The drawings and studies are particularly interesting and appealing because of this. One is left in awe both by Da Vinci's work and Taschen's bold efforts in printing this monumental book. Taschen, always a good choice for art books both for their quality and extraordinary price advantage, has with the production of this book, added significantly to the literature on Da Vinci that is available to the average consumer. In all honesty, I don't know how they can produce and sell this book for less than $500. Its overall dimensions must be seen to be believed, weighing in at about 22 pounds! Start re-enforcing your bookshelves now. This is a proud addition to any library.
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