Leonardo's Notebooks
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Leonardo's Notebooks

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  13,524 ratings  ·  78 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...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (first published June 1st 1939)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Alex
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...more
Lynde
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
Murugan
"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
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.
Heather
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.
Matthew Kowalski
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
Amalie
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...more
CJ Bowen
"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...more
Devlin Scott
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...more
Mohammed Al-Garawi
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...more
Barb
Mar 06, 2009 Barb rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ecem Dilan
touching the big papers is really exciting. He has a big brain so he has lots o thing about everything . amazing.
Brion O'quigley
Short punchy excerpts that provide insight into a genius making his way in the world over 500 years ago.
Fed
Leonardo's work is outstanding, this book is good, but the presentation could have been a bit more powerful
Sundeep Supertramp
Review:

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...more
Remo
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.
Dave Brace
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.
Ahmad
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

Emily
It is truly fascinating to get an insight into da Vinci's mind. He combined art, science, mathematics, and philosophy together beautifully.
Akshay Bade
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...more
Sharayu Gangurde
One of the very few books where I keep wanting to read more and more and more. Its a small book, only 220 pages or so but something in it which captures my attention often. I was thrilled to get an insight into Da vinci's mind, his drawings, thoughts, his philosophies on art and most important as a human. His Moral precepts for the student of painting is so useful for art students and artists alike.

Everything is precise and yet detailed in his notes. This book is my reference guide. Oh and he c...more
Roxana
A very interesting book for anybody who likes arts, specially painting, by the hand of one of the most universal man that ever existed. Leonardo Da Vinci, tells us in simple words the secret to achieve if you want to be a good artist.
The secret to learn when you want to paint is to look around, led nature be our teacher. This is the main advice in this extraordinary essay.
I must confess, I never read essays, but this one was out of the ordinary and yes, I enjoyed it. It has many interesting tho...more
Joshua Thibodeau
it is a really good book i like it
Clayton Chase
So much to say about Leonardo. Truly the quintessential renaissance man. Reading his complete notebooks made me realize that the breadth and depth of his curiosities and goings-on are much greater than is commonly known. Many of his writings were discovered after the inventions he wrote about were re-created by others, but this collection still puts any modern blogger to shame. Keep your journals, you never know who might be interested!
Cynthia
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.
Mloy
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.
Brandelion
Reading entries from his journals, I almost felt as if I could hear the artist shouting at me about my artistic misconceptions. "You're not doing it right!" - Leonardo

I learned a lot from reading, along with the full-color prints of Leonardo's artworks accompanying the texts. Definitely recommended for art fans, art students, Leonardo fans, and general know-it-alls.
Robin
I love his drawing in this book. He comments on his process of learning about the human body and a great deal of other stuff. Wish he could have lived in an age where he could have been recorded. Great for any art student and others as well. Three stars because I have a hard time reading and understanding some of his comments. Not a reflection of the great man himself.
Trak
I read the notebooks some time ago and they certainly stuck with me. I love how you have an insight into this amazing mind, that here on paper you can almost feel that you are with the great man himself. There is a great deal to take in and you find yourself pondering some of his thoughts and marvelling in his insights.
A really good read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rembrandt, 1606-1669: The Mystery of the Revealed Form
  • Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • Vincent Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings: Etten, April 1881-Paris, February 1888 (Taschen Specials)
  • The Lives of the Artists
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind
  • The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
  • The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren
  • ARh+
  • Sister Wendy's Story of Painting (Enhanced and Expanded Edition)
  • Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 100 Great Drawings Analyzed, Figure Drawing Fundamentals Defined
  • The Art Spirit
  • History of Art
  • Arcimboldo (Taschen Basic Art)
  • Edvard Munch: 1863-1944 (Basic Art)
  • Gustav Klimt: 1862-1918
  • The Power of Art
  • Van Gogh: The Life
  • Dali: The Paintings
13560
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
More about Leonardo da Vinci...
The Complete Paintings and Drawings The Complete Works The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci Volume 1 Leonardo Drawings: 60 Illustrations Thoughts on Art and Life

Share This Book

“All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of Experience, the mother of all Knowledge.” 93 likes
“Man has much power of discourse which for the most part is vain and false; animals have but little, but it is useful and true, and a small truth is better than a great lie.” 26 likes
More quotes…