The da Vinci Legacy
How an Elusive 16th-Century Artist Became a Global Pop Icon
by Jean-Pierre Isbouts; Christopher Brown
Pub Date 30 Apr 2019
For the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, an acclaimed art historian and an art connoisseur uncover how this elusive artist became a pop icon with megastar status in modern times.
Virtually everyone would agree that Leonardo da Vinci was the most important artist of the High Renaissance. Although he produced few finished works, it was Leonardo who singlehandedly created the defining features of Western art: a realism based on subtle shading; depth using atmospheric effects; and dramatic contrasts between light and dark.
What has never been told before, however, is how these revolutionary inventions were inserted into the bloodstream of Western art—and how they made Leonardo the internationally-renowned icon he is today. This is the great mystery of Leonardo’s legacy: if his tangible output was so limited, how did his mystique as a solitary genius survive five centuries of European history? And why does it continue to fascinate us in modern times?
The Da Vinci Legacy is the first book to unravel this mystery by taking an immersive journey through the art, literature, science, and politics of Europe, from the Renaissance to today. Through captivating text enhanced by one hundred color images, this book takes off where Walter Isaacson’s portrait of Leonardo left off. It captures not only the reason for the enduring allure of The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper but also explores the secrets of Leonardo’s creativity, and the strange phenomena that intervened to make sure Leonardo was not forgotten to the dusty pages of history.
The release of the book will coincide with the broadcast of The Search for the Mona Lisa, a dramatized documentary produced by Pantheon Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., which optioned the rights to The Da Vinci Legacy. Scheduled for broadcast on Public Television in May of 2019, the film was shot on location in Italy and France with more than 60 actors and extras, including renowned Italian actor Alessandro Demcenko as Leonardo da Vinci. Pantheon Studios previously produced the feature-length documentary Walt: The Man Behind the Myth, the official biography of Walt Disney, now streaming on Netflix.