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Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

by Diane Stanley Illustrated by Diane Stanley

In this stunning pictorial biography, acclaimed author/artist Diane Stanley introduces young readers to one of the most compelling personages of all time: Leonardo Da Vinci. Kept out of university and the "noble" professions because of his out-of-wedlock birth, he was apprenticed to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio, who was supposedly so intimidated by Leonardo's genius that he himself never painted again. Details such as this enliven the already fascinating narrative, which follows Leonardo from his childhood through his apprenticeship and work under various patrons to his death at the age of 67. Stanley elaborates on the artistic processes he used, sharing Leonardo's enthusiasm for planning and preparation as an essential component of any creative work. To give a clear sense of Da Vinci as a person, she draws on his own writings: his famous notebooks (some of which have been, tragically, lost) showed that, in addition to being a painter, he was a scientist and engineer with a powerful imagination and brilliant mind. His ideas will inspire budding inventors, while his mirror-image handwriting will delight amateur detectives.

Fascinating though the material may be, what makes Stanley's book such a unique joy to experience is her artwork, which takes inspiration from (and often incorporates details of) Leonardo's own work. Full-page pictures in colored pencil, gouache, watercolors, and photo-collage show the man at work, while sketches from the notebooks illustrate text pages, which also feature borders attributed to Da Vinci. Working seamlessly with the text, the illustrations help readers visualize the man, his work, and his time. A visual triumph, the book is also an unqualified success as literature and biography. Bibliographic notes highlight the author's scholarship and point readers to other resources.

9, 10, 11
Interest Level
Grades 4 - 6
Tandem Library
Number of Pages
Biography and Autobiography

About the Author and Illustrator

Diane Stanley
Diane Stanley

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