Thursday, October 23, 2014

Leonardo and The Last Supper

Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King is just what it purports to be, a detailed history of Leonardo da Vinci and his most famous painting.

In the process, King gets into the politics of the day, the details of the renaissance as a movement, a set of ideals, a frame of mind.  There is a great deal of discussion of The Last Supper, but this book definitely contextualizes the work in the time and in Leonardo’s life.

Actual time spent on the painting is fleeting, but fascinating.  The long history of its decline, catastrophic “restorations,” its near destruction by a bomb in the Second World War, and its final, definitive and controversial restoration are treated, but only briskly.

This book is much more about Leonardo and his world than The Last Supper.  But it presents a fascinating painting and a fascinating world. 

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