"Leonardo is a glimpse into the mind of an almost mythical genius. Kemp offers us a way of considering how artists and scientists have intuited visual truths in the past, reminds us that the past and the present are connected, and warns us against the potential tyranny of the newest digitized images that, though often beautiful and beguiling, are still man-made and not infallible."--Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Scientific American
Leonardo da Vinci
Experience, Experiment, and Design
Here, the world's leading authority on Leonardo da Vinci takes us to the heart of the Renaissance master's genius--his visual thinking. Probing the mystery of how da Vinci thought graphically, on paper, Martin Kemp traces not only his approach to modeling but also fascinating efforts by modern engineering to build his inventions. Could these inventions have worked? We see da Vinci visualizing mighty ideas from the arts of peace to the science of war--great visions of the earth, the mystery of mathematical proportion in the design of the universe, detailed observations on the motion of waters, and meticulous reconstructions of how heart valves function, as well as his flying machine, tank, and giant crossbow.
No one ever used paper as a laboratory for thinking on the scale of Leonardo da Vinci. No one graced pages with such an impetuous cascade of observations, visualized thoughts, brainstormed alternatives, theories, polemics, and debates concerning virtually every branch of knowledge about the visible world.
This lavishly illustrated and elegantly written book examines 200 extraordinary pages from da Vinci's notebooks, some virtually unknown, to illuminate the most fundamental aspect of his work.
Published on the occasion of an exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment, and Design provides unrivaled insight into the workings of the artist's visual mind. Leonardo da Vinci never lost his sense of awe over the wonders of natural design. With this book, we can experience a comparable sense of awe when faced with the enduring grandeur and freshness of his vision.
Martin Kemp is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford. His numerous books include the biography Leonardo and The Oxford History of Western Art, and he is the originator of the Universal Leonardo project, which is generating exhibitions and events across Europe in 2006.