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The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  40,436 ratings  ·  192 reviews
This definitive translation of Leonardo's notebooks brings together into one volume the famous reflections and speculations of the greatest mind of the Renaissance. It is a result of a lifetime of study and research by the outstanding authority on the life and works of the great Florentine. Because of the unique and diverse character of Leonardo's achievements, the reissue ...more
Hardcover, 1180 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Konecky & Konecky (Olld Saybrook, CT) (first published 1519)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci‬‭, Leonardo da Vinci

The collection of writings and art in this magnificent book are drawn from his notebooks.

The book organizes his wide range of interests into subjects such as human figures, light and shade, perspective and visual perception, anatomy, botany and landscape, geography, the physical sciences and astronomy, architecture, sculpture, and inventions.

Nearly every piece of writing throughout the book is keyed to the piece of artwork it describes.

تار
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Roy Lotz
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.
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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
Jerecho
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, art
This is so nice. Given the luxury of time I want to reread this one...
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
Mar 18, 2012 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. ...more
Rob Lewis
Jul 13, 2010 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. ...more
Lily
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
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Fed
Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leonardo's work is outstanding, this book is good, but the presentation could have been a bit more powerful ...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
Barb
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Sundeep Supertramp
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goldeen
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
Castles
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
I approached this book with great awe stricken respect and it took me a long time, years actually, to feel ready and worthy to read it. I love the Renaissance, the art and the history and of course, the main characters and artists that made that era so interesting.

I must honestly say that I was a bit disappointed. I'm not sure most of the parts of this book were meant to a reader other than da Vinci himself (though some definitely did). I've found some parts quite boring, detailing painting mat
...more
Devlin Scott
Dec 16, 2011 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
...more
Heather Wednesday
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.
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Brion O'quigley
Aug 11, 2011 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.
Ecem Dilan
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
touching the big papers is really exciting. He has a big brain so he has lots o thing about everything . amazing.
Matthew Kowalski
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Harry Allagree
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 genius, not just ...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
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Akshay Bade
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 08, 2012 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.
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Dave Brace
Aug 19, 2014 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.
Jen
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Zav ♥azxlad00♥ the reader
A complete human. One of the most illustrated man that has ever existed. A compilation of the greatest human that has ever existed.
description
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Alan Cook
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many books have been written about Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks. I had a hard time finding this one on Goodreads. He filled many notebooks with his mirror writing and wrote on a lot of subjects. He spent a lot of time writing about painting, and reading this book is a course in perspective, light, getting proportions of people correct, color, and other subjects of interest to the artist. He was also an expert on anatomy and compared man with animals. There isn't much information on some of the ...more
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!
Rick Sam
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, architecture
A Masterpiece to learn and understand Renaissance Man. Although, I'm not a painter -- I got a glimpse of Leonardo's life through his journal entries.

"A Painter is not admirable if he is not universal." This seems to strike chords with thinkers of School of Salamanca, who viewed Knowledge holistically and didn't take positivist approach of segmenting branches of Knowledge.


--Deus Vult
Gottfried
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Robin
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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1,278 followers
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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