Hello readers! Have you enjoyed reading about Leonardo? What do you think of this man whose curiosity knew no bounds? We know it’s a large book, but hopefully, you’ve been able to find some downtime during your summer to read! This man was an amazing scholar for his time, questioning and achieving so much, even though most of his findings weren’t shared with the world for centuries. Here are some discussion questions for you, plus some other great reading suggestions (Isaacson is a fabulous biographer!). Also, this month’s Leonardo Book Club Artwork was done by Normandie Luscher, one of our current interns! She is beyond talented and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase her work here!
- Isaacson questions the label of “genius” for many famous people but truly believes Da Vinci is one individual who deserved and earned it. Why and how was he a genius?
- The author also paints Leonardo in such a human light, exposing all his foibles and weaknesses – “quirky and obsessive and playful and easily distracted,” as Isaacson says. Did this “ruin” your idea of who da Vinci was, or do you relate to and esteem him more because of it? Did any of his shortcomings seem incredibly unexpected or surprising?
- “There was always something more to be learned, another stroke to be gleaned from nature that would make a picture closer to perfect.” What most impressed you about Leonardo da Vinci, his lifestyle, or his love of learning? Of the lessons that the author believes can be learned from his life, which ones can you apply to yourself? (ie. Retain a childlike sense of wonder. Create for yourself, not just for patrons. See things unseen.)
- Did the author’s background and insight on significant works like Virgin of the Rocks, Mona Lisa, or The Last Supper help you gain more appreciation for them?
- Isaacson describes a “fundamental theme” in Leonardo’s art and science: “the interconnectedness of nature, the unity of its patterns, and the analogy between the workings of the human body and those of the earth.” Though he lived centuries before us, was da Vinci really any different from us? How do we in the 21st-century search for and try to learn the same things?
Download the Leonardo Book Club Artwork HERE
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If you enjoyed Leonardo da Vinci, you might like…
Leonardo’s Notebooks: Writing and Art of the Great Master edited by H. Anna Sun
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson