NONFICTION

Leonardo and The Last Supper

Walker. Nov. 2012. c.320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802717054. $28. FINE ARTS
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OrangeReviewStarKing (Brunelleschi's Dome) celebrates Leonardo da Vinci in this engaging biography centered on the artist's creation of one of his masterpieces, The Last Supper, in Santa Maria della Grazia in Milan. He touches upon some of the major forces of Leonardo's time: Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, who commissioned the painting to glorify the Sforza dynasty; Charles XIII of France, whose troops invaded and, for a time, ruled parts of Italy; as well as the ecclesiastic fabric of Renaissance life, which supported the creation of many great works of art. King explores Leonardo's painting techniques and explores many factors that may have figured into its creation such as the divinely inspired proportion of the golden section (knowledge derived from Leonardo's relationship with the mathematician Luca Pacioli) as well as an explication of the various poses of the figures in the painting itself, which King speculates might be based on gestures commonly used by 15th-century Italians.
VERDICT A fascinating and in-depth story of one of the world's most famous works of art that will appeal to general readers as well as academics. Highly recommended.
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