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Leonardo Da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings Hardcover – February 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822817341
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822817346
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 3.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 19.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lying open, this unutterably wonderful book is almost the size of the Mona Lisa and about as hefty as a slab of The Last Supper's monastery wall. All 34 paintings are here (including what we know of the lost ones), many with huge and immensely illuminating details, plus 663 drawings. The reproductions are stunning, on paper sturdy enough to serve as wings on some of the flying machines depicted on pages 644 to 671. The precision of the images amazes: the delicate petals fingered by the larger-than-life-size baby Jesus in Madonna of the Carnation; the wailing, dismembered victims of Leonardo's scary scythed chariots; Mary's transparent drapery in the Annunciation; the bands of sunlight streaking each swirling curl of Ginevra de Benci; Mona Lisa's gossamer veil and intricately embroidered gown; even, unless my eyes deceive me, one of the fingerprints Leonardo famously left while daubing paint by hand.

The text by Frank Zollner (and Johannes Nathan, who discusses the drawings) teases out meanings and sketches historical context without overloading his scholarly brush. Without it, one might have overlooked the dim crucifix on which St. Jerome fixes his blazing gaze, and quite misunderstood the sexist Hippocratic delusions that inform The Sexual Act in Vertical Section: "A tube-like duct leads from the woman’s breasts to her womb, while the male organ is directly linked not only to the testicles but also…to the brain." (Zollner’s discussion of the erotic subtext of some of the artwork suggests that Leonardo's male passion was not necessarily so rational.) The brief accounts of Leonardo's esthetic combat with Michelangelo and Raphael suggest that you don't need a scythed chariot to cut off an opponent at the knees. The famous quotes by everyone from Nietzsche to Warhol are well selected, especially Freud diagnosing Leonardo's genius as residing in his childlike sense of play. That's a key to the spirit of this book: it's more fun than a week in the Louvre. –Tim Appelo

Review

"...the wealth of Leonardo's surviving drawings provide an extraordinary direct and intimate view of the artist's hand...." -- World of Interiors, London

"A scholarly work and a sensual delight...offering a moth's-eye-view and the ability to "enter" the works of art..." -- Associated Press, New York

"Sumptuously made and beautifully produced, is the most thorough Leonardo comprehensive survey ever published." -- Soloarte, London

"[N]o better catalogue raisonné of the paintings - scrupulous in every respect - it has no equal currently in print." -- Brian Sewell, The Evening Standard, London

"[S]tart making serious room on your bookshelf. The XXL tome features supersized blowups of Leonardo's works.... A truly sumptuous undertaking." -- artnet.com, New York

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I first saw this at the Met Museum in NY and immediately knew it was a "must buy" book.
Atlantic
Something else you see quickly is tht in fact Leonardo was someone who started a lot of projects, but finished very few.
Irving H. Tyler
Quality of printing and pages are wonderful and what you would expect from a Taschen volume.
DonnaRoy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Taschen has always done an amazing job on their high-end titles. They have, however, out done themselves on Leonardo Da Vinci. The book is huge, the binding and paper quality excellent. It is the reproductions though that are the most riveting. As mentioned in one of the above editorial reviews you can almost enter into the paintings, the detail is so close. I have spent hours looking into the works and find new detail each time I do. Highly recommended.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Leonardo Da Vinci epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. He possessed one of the greatest minds of all times. Painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist, Da Vinci personified creative genius and had an immeasurable effect on modern culture. This compilation of his work, probably the most complete collection ever made, is spectacular. The reproductions are riveting.
Taschen has reproduced here Leonardo Da Vinci's 34 paintings in glorious color. The paper quality is excellent as is the binding. From "The Last Supper" to the "Mona Lisa," the paintings' details, even Da Vinci's brushstrokes, are clearly visible and exquisite. This 700 page book measures 22" X 17" when open and many of the artist's masterworks are shown with full page or double page details.
Frank Zollner biographical text is beautifully written and the book's first ten chapters explore Da Vinci's life, with excerpts from his letters, contracts and diaries. His painting are also discussed and interpreted here. A complete catalogue of Leonardo's paintings is included in Part II. Da Vinci's extraordinary talent as a draftsman is documented in the six hundred and sixty-three drawings which are presented in Part III. The drawings are arranged by categories, i.e., figures, anatomy, architecture, etc. Johannes Nathan's has written excellent commentary on Da Vinci's drawings and the artist's sensitive lines, both fine and bold, are truly a feast for the eyes.
"Leonardo Da Vinci: The Complete Paintings and Drawings" is one of the most visually stunning books I have ever seen. This was a "must have/must own" item for me, and I have spent many leisurely hours reading, perusing and enjoying this phenomenal collection. I can't think of a better gift for anyone who admires this master's works. This is a very rare and special book.
JANA
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Francesco Lovecchio on August 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book of 600 pages is monumental in size and content. It covers all paintings and almost everything else Leonardo did in his lifetime, including what went lost. The author provides the meaning and the historical context of Leonardo's work, the publisher provides an outstanding outlet to showcase the immense work of Leonardo the painter, the engineer, the architect, the sculptor, the anatomist, the genius ahead of his time. The book is divided in three parts (each one a book in itself): Life and Work; the Complete Paintings; the Graphic Work. The book is beautiful to read and to watch and whatever is the price, take it! It is worth every cent. You will not be able to stop to watch its brilliant paintings and drawings. Highly recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Braiden on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
We saw this amazing book in Venice for 150 Euros but it was too heavy to take home in the plane. My husband really loved it. So when we got home I decided to get it for his birthday. The local bookshop had it for $A435 -too expensive. We then found a brand new copy for less than $A200, including freight, on Amazon. I was delighted and it arrived, as promised, ready to present to him on the morning of his birthday. He was really surprised and has been pouring over it ever since. Great book, great price and great service.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Paulybrooklyn VINE VOICE on July 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book with great reproductions, probably worth buying, but I found some of the design choices frustrating and baffling. The modern preoccupation with quick sketches determines much of the layout--tiny thumbnail scribbles are blown up to fill entire pages, while exquisitely detailed drawings are reproduced quite small; as a result, one can't appreciate either as they were meant to be seen. I had always wanted to see a complete collection of Leonardo's incredible drapery studies; this would've been an ideal place to show them at their best, but only a few are presented full size. Given the massiveness of the book, it would've been so logical to simply reproduce all of Leonardo's drawings at actual or near-actual size, but publishers often seem to go for flashy graphics instead of sensible presentations. An ambitious art director needed to make his mark on this product, and decided that his "vision" was more important than fidelity to the work of Leonardo da Vinci...what a shame...

The paintings look wonderful, although--again--the hyper-magnified closeups are pointlessly extreme--a full page reproduction with several actual-sized closeups of each painting would've been ideal. Final complaint: only one version of Madonna of the Rocks was shown with details; for some reason they used the later one, which was painted by assistants, rather than the master's original work. Considering that this is probably Leonardo's most complex, fully-realized surviving painting, such an omission seems criminal!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Atlantic VINE VOICE on May 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It doesn't matter if you have other Leonardo books or not, I guarantee you that they can't compare to this volume. I first saw this at the Met Museum in NY and immediately knew it was a "must buy" book. The pictures are stunning and give you an unrivaled view of his work. No 0other Leonardo book even comes close.

This book is huge(approx 18"H x 12"W x 3"D)which should tell you something. The pictures fill the pages and the close-up details are amazing too. Don't forget, this is complete, all drawings, paintings, studies, etc. It's fabulous!

You won't be sorry, and at the price listed today (5/25/05) of $80 you'd be foolish to pass it by -I'm just jealous I paid so much more, but still think I got my money's worth.
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