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Leonardo's Notebooks

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  23,295 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
An all-new, jewel-like, reader-friendly format gives new life to this relaunch of an international best-seller.

Leonardo da Vinci—artist, inventor, and prototypical Renaissance man—is a perennial source of fascination because of his astonishing intellect and boundless curiosity about the natural and man-made world. During his life he created numerous works of art and kept v
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Black Dog & Leventhal (first published 1519)
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Da Vinci was very specific.

On depicting a battle:
"The air must be full of arrows in every direction." (There follows several pages more of instructions, including bits like, "There must not be a level spot that is not trampled with gore.") (p. 26-28)

And his bits on anatomy are famous enough without me. The distance between the corner of your eye and your ear is the same as the height of your ear. Now you know.

But then, on the less specific side, there's this: "Of grotesque faces I need say nothi
Sep 15, 2015 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mind of a painter must resemble a mirror, which always takes the color of the object it reflects and is completely occupied by the images of as many objects are in front of it.

I picked up this book on a whim, and read it for the same reason. My edition is an attractively bound selection of Leonardo’s most interesting notes and drawings, arranged to give the reader an appreciation of the breadth of this quintessential Renaissance man’s interests, and the great scope of his imagination.

I mu
Yes, I just added a "homeschool" shelf. Why? Because I am supplementing a bit. Even private schools don't cut the mustard at this point. I have highly creative children--one of which is a constant stream of inventions. He spews out ideas with dry erase markers to windows, takes garbage from the recycling bin as if it is a golden treasure. He even CRIES because he thinks I am wasting a precious gem by recycling a cardboard box or an egg crate. Because "mom--can't you SEE that THIS is CLEARLY an A ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Murugan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Let no man who is not a Mathematician read the elements of my work" - a live testimony that analytical and creative abilities are not as simply polarised as the left-right brain theory.
Rob Lewis
Jul 13, 2010 Rob Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I see the grammar police rear their ugly head, I'll remember LDV wrote backwards in an indecipherable scrawl and with an akward form of shorthand.
Mohammed Al-Garawi
Jul 08, 2013 Mohammed Al-Garawi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
No you don't get it. Those are the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci. The ones he carried around all the time. They contain his thoughts on painting, sculpturing, anatomy, architecture, philosophy, and many more intriguing subjects. They also showcase some of his scribbles and initial designs for inventions and paintings of people and scenery.

Reading the notebooks gives you the privilege of diving into the mind of the Grand Designer. I never thought I'd be lucky to experience this.

Absolutely a favo
Mar 06, 2009 Barb rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: artists
Such a look at the way da Vinci thought. Usually, we see his visual works. This book translates and organizes his written journals to provide us a look at his thoughts on art and the world around him. Very enjoyable to browse, though not necessarily a work to be read straight through.
CJ Bowen
Sep 16, 2009 CJ Bowen rated it liked it
"Force arises from dearth or abundance; it is the child of physical motion, and the grandchild of spiritual motion, and the mother and origin of gravity." 186

"Science is the observation of things possible, whether present or past. Prescience is the knowledge of things which may come to pass, though but slowly." 252

"Wisdom is the daughter of experience." 288

"Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, so study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing tha
Devlin Scott
Jan 30, 2012 Devlin Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the original text and sketches have of course been lost either by time or by Leonardo's own design (he deliberately corrupted his own texts to keep his competitors from stealing his works). It is a true shame that this knowledge is lost.

Any free kindle edition is easily worth 4 stars. It is a rare treat to see Leonardo's mind at work. He was one of the most gifted intellects ever created and just watching how he 'pieced' the workings of life and the known universe together is worth the t
Apr 29, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
One of the defining periods of my life was when I read Leonardo's notebooks. His awareness, curiosity, and maddening drive towards perfection of his understanding of reality is beautiful.

You really get a grasp of his personality from the notebooks. He suffered greatly from the thought that he'd die before I got it all figured out.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci / a new selection by: Pamela Taylor. New York: New American Library, 1960=1339
کتاب در 253 صفحه، 16 صفحه تصویر، تصاویر بدون صفحه شمار بین صفحات 128 تا 129 آمده، کتابنامه از صفحه 239 تا 240، موضوع: سرگذشتنامه لئوناردو داوینچی (1452 تا 1519 میلادی)، به زبان انگلیسی

Ecem Dilan
Jan 25, 2012 Ecem Dilan rated it it was amazing
touching the big papers is really exciting. He has a big brain so he has lots o thing about everything . amazing.
Brion O'quigley
Aug 11, 2011 Brion O'quigley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short punchy excerpts that provide insight into a genius making his way in the world over 500 years ago.
Jan 06, 2013 Fed rated it liked it
Leonardo's work is outstanding, this book is good, but the presentation could have been a bit more powerful
Lily Calder
Holy gods. Read this. READ IT. Da Vinci was a bloody genius.

Given that Leonardo never had much of a formal education, and that his intelligence was borne out of observation and imagination, what this book contains is truly astonishing. It blurs what modernity would consider the lines between the arts and the sciences, but I don't think that matters. What really matters is the hard evidence that a self-taught scientist figured out things that were taught to me in my science lessons at school. I'l
Harry Allagree
Sep 20, 2014 Harry Allagree rated it really liked it
Editor H. Anna Suh has provided a wonderful glimpse of a genius & one of history's greatest artists, Leonardo da Vinci, through the medium of reproductions from his notebooks. Despite some drawbacks, I felt as though I were sitting with a venerable old expert who was personally sharing in snippets the fruit of a long life of observation & practical experience. For one who had no formal schooling -- "book learning" -- as so many of his colleagues had, the warmth & accuracy of his geni ...more
Matthew Kowalski
Mar 30, 2013 Matthew Kowalski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
On occasion I do as I am doing now which was choosing a book or a source close to the one I have read. So that I might have some reference to the work that has interested me. I read this work in two forms a little red book at my community college the other being on the project gutenberg website. I think it's one of the best website ever created it serves the commons and I hope the commons serves it. Right now their is a war over the domain of information and this is a concern, because their are ...more
Sundeep Supertramp

I never knew who da Vinci was. It was only after watching the movie, The Da Vinci Code, I came to understand that Leonardo da Vinci was a person who creates puzzles for his time pass. He also drew few paintings like Mona Lisa and The Last Supper (during that time, I didn't even know what was the significance of the painting).

Slowly, there after I came to learn Leonardo was no puzzler (person who creates puzzles), but an artist. It is only after I read this book, I came to understand the r
Oct 29, 2011 Amalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-artist
If you ever wondered what the GREAT Leonardo thought, then this is the book to get. In here are the words written by Leonardo of his philisophical ideas, lives of where he lived and his surroundings, his theories on color, perspective, proportion, architecture, foliage, physiology and so many other things that the Great One was curious about.

One weakness though, the pictures were randomly arranged, sometimes I wondered why some were even there because it has no connection to the article on the p
Akshay Bade
Aug 19, 2013 Akshay Bade rated it really liked it
If you ever wondered what the GREAT Leonardo thought, then this is the book to get. In here are the words written by Leonardo of his philosophical ideas, lives of where he lived and his surroundings, his theories on color, perspective, proportion, architecture, foliage, physiology and so many other things that the Great One was curious about.
Any free kindle edition is easily worth 4 stars. It is a rare treat to see Leonardo's mind at work. He was one of the most gifted intellects ever created a
May 14, 2013 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
I will add more on this later if I have time. Found the most complete collection published in the 1970s in a used bookstore in 2 volumes. This current edition might be unabridged - I did not check. The sections on art and painting are exquisite and the moral tales, as well. I did not read it cover to cover but scanned and read what seemed to be of interest to me. I use it as reference and source material.
Resumen de todos los libros y anotaciones del polifacético genio renacentista, que trata un montón de temas: pintura, escultura, arquitectura, urbanismo, fábulas, máximas, física, anatomía... Sorprende (leer) la claridad de ideas que tenía este señor allá por el s. XV. Es increíble. Muchos de los temas están recortados en exceso, pero es el precio que hay que pagar por una edición barata.
Aug 08, 2012 Mloy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was an awesome collection of notes. Makes one appreciate Da Vinci's genius more. He had a lot of interesting insights not only on art but also in war and politics, human and animal behaviour as well as some fascinating and humorous anecdotes. His mind was simply amazing, his grasp on almost everything makes it seem he can almost predict the future. Totally worth reading.
Sep 17, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it
This is a very beautiful book. It's over-sized and would be lovely on a coffee table for browsing. There is a very good, very short introduction to the book, but the book really speaks for itself. It has photos of his notebooks and translations of his notes.

What I liked:

The pages of his notebooks, some were just so fascinating to study, even though I can't read Italian (even if you could read Italian he writes in in reverse and you would need a mirror to read it).

I was surprised by some of his n
Dave Brace
Aug 19, 2014 Dave Brace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fine read for those interested in the great de Vinci. His penmanship is second to none and the drawings are true works of art.
The range of subjects covered by this book are fascinating from a historical and cultural point of view.
This makes an excellent coffee table book and I would quite happily hang many of the drawings on my walls.
Feb 16, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Five stars for the illustrations and the genius of the author. I didn't understand all of the text -- a lot of it is technical instructions for painting, sculpture, and various inventions, but I understood enough to appreciate the the mind of Leonardo da Vinci was extraordinary.
Jul 13, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing
It is truly fascinating to get an insight into da Vinci's mind. He combined art, science, mathematics, and philosophy together beautifully.
Joshua Thibodeau
Apr 11, 2014 Joshua Thibodeau rated it it was amazing
it is a really good book i like it
Mazen Alloujami
Dec 05, 2015 Mazen Alloujami rated it it was ok
Da Vinci is a great artist an scientist, but mediocre philosopher. This collection is merely a popular wisdom than real literature
ترجمة بعنوان الاعمال الأدبية لليوناردو دافينتشي. لا شك أن دافينشتي كان فناناً ورجل علم عظيم، لكنه فيلسوف وأديب سيء. هذا الكتاب هو مجموعة من الحكم الشعبية من عصر النهضة لا ترتقي إلى أي مستوى أدبي
Jessica Healy
Dec 31, 2015 Jessica Healy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got my copy of this free because the cover is upside down. (Or... the book is upside down inside the cover...?) I think this makes it at least 10x better. Anyway I love it. It feels like owning a tiny piece of history.
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It was on April 15, 1452, that Leonardo was born in the town of Vinci, Republic of Florence, in what is now in Italy, the illegitimate son of a notary and a barmaid. It is from his birthplace that he is known as Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo seemed to master every subject to which he turned his attention: he was a painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer, wrote poetry and stories: the p ...more
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“All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of Experience, the mother of all Knowledge.” 116 likes
“I awoke only to find that the rest of the world was still asleep.” 61 likes
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