Walter Isaacson, author of the bestselling biographies Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, and Steve Jobs, delivers Leonardo da Vinci, an engrossing portrayal of the world’s most creative genius.
Using thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Isaacson weaves a narrative connecting his art and science and emphasizes that his creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. Isaacson describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings. The artist peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper.
Leonardo also seemed at ease with being a bit of a misfit: he was illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, and easily distracted. Isaacson illustrates how Leonardo’s genius stemmed from skills we can improve in ourselves—passionate curiosity, careful observation, and a playful imagination. His life should remind us of the importance of being bold enough to think differently.
Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine.
Tickets purchased the day of the event do not include a book.