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Gioconda Paperback – November 1, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


  • Gioconda proposes an elegant solution to the problem of why the portrait of the wife of a silk merchant was never delivered ... Gioconda is a qualified success, scrupulous with its sources, careful with its conclusions -  Financial Times
  • An elegant, historical debut novel... cleverly constructed and imagined ... full of vivid characters and well-drawn incidents. Turner's careful research and graceful prose style make Gioconda a pleasure to read -  Tina Jackson, Metro
  • Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci's astonishing genius is brought to life in this vividly atmospheric novel. From his solitary childhood to the conception of his iconic masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, this richly imagined life story will inspire you to re-examine his ideas, drawings and paintings -  Easy Living
  • Lucille offers a fresh and intimate perspective on da Vinci's life ...From the first page she draws the reader in with such a natural easy style you feel you were observing Leonardo da Vinci as he really was -  Bournemouth Echo
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A solitary and unusual child, Leonardo's only intimate is Lisa Gherardini, the girl who spies on him in his workshop. Spurned by his tutor, he is sent by his despairing father to Florence as an apprentice. Under the guiding hand of Verrocchio, the master sculptor, he begins to make his name. But success requires sacrifice; Florence demands a level of conformity impossible for him. Forced to leave, Leonardo places himself at the service of the charismatic, power-thirsty Duke of Milan. His journey leads him back to Lisa and the portrait he has waited so long to paint, the culmination of his life's work.
From the glittering court of the Medici to the mortuaries of Milan and the battlefields of the Po valley, Lucille Turner's powerful novel vividly imagines Leonardo's lonely struggle to convince others of his vision of the world.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Granta (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,870,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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An interesting book. Very well written. We get into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci. I realize this is historical fiction, but it reads like a biography. A man full of ideas and ambitions. I expected a bit more from Leonardo's time in Milan.

The main story focuses on the relationship/friendship between Leonardo and Lisa (Mona Lisa), throughout his life and his quest for knowledge. I was intrigued with the explanations of his human dissections, particularly interesting was the dissection involving a young, pregnant woman. He treated the bodies he dissected with reverence and care, while learning all he could about human anatomy for the advancement of knowledge.

Leonardo's interest in medicine, weaponry and science are all explained in this book. The one thing left out, was the sodomy incident in Florence that clouded his early years. He wasn't convicted but it is still worth mentioning in any book featuring Leonardo.

I enjoyed reading this book and give it 4/5 stars,
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Turner spent most of the book inside Leonardo's head, but I never got the feeling that I was getting to know him any better. The many introspective moments she described left me wanting more detail. She has portrayed a man driven by his great ideas and lack of time to pursue them, but not the wonderful details of his brilliant conceptions.
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By CLBrown on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to reading this book as I love art and always love books that combine art with a story (The Swan Thieves is excellent). This story seemed particularly intriguing as it offered an insight into Leonardo da Vinci's life, and thought it was going to be nothing less than spectacular.

However, on finishing the book I realise that I read it from the wrong perspective. This book is very light reading, a fable made up to show a magical childhood link between Leonardo and Lisa Gioconda, the model for the Mona Lisa, and an enduring love for her he had through the years before he painted her portrait. Pure fabrication of course.

The story starts out with Leonardo stealing the portrait of Lisa that he has just finished (which in reality took 3 years and was even then not really finished). From there he flashes back to his childhood and where he first meets her. When the story catches up to the point where he finishes the portrait, it ends. (Yes it is as abrupt as that).

As a classist and historian this book could have been a LOT LOT LOT better with more facts and guts - where's the sodomy incident in Florence when Leonardo was 23/24? Where are Leonardo's students when he was painting the Mona Lisa? He didn't leave Salai in Milan - he took him with him when he left! Why is there no dating at the beginning of the chapters which begin each time he moves to a new town? We never have any idea what Leonardo's age is at any time - annoying!! The passing of time is not communicated well by the author, one particular instance that stunned me was on researching further I found that Leonardo spent 17 years in Milan. Perhaps this may have been a deliberate device of the author, I'm not sure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A hint of the amazing man and his thoughts. Vague recognition of his input re the wars with French and church. A tease to torment me to need more info on such an amazing man!
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