Leonardo and the Last Supper Hardcover – 30 Aug 2012
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[A] richly entertaining tale of how Leonardo came to paint The Last Supper. King, who had previously written acclaimed accounts of Brunelleschi's Florentine dome and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, has an infectious relish for the gaudy, brutal and brilliant world of the Italian Renaissance (The Mail on Sunday)
King draws attention to overlooked iconographic details such as the supper menu, and he profits from the mural's misfortunes in a brilliant history of its afterlife as restorers perform cosmetic surgery on it (The Observer Books of the Year)
King deftly explains how Leonardo developed each element as well as his quirks and those of his patron Ludovico '"il Moro" Sforza. This account is a good deal more vivid than the ghostly fresco itself (The Guardian, Books of the Year)
The story of Leonardo's creation of the work has now found an ideal chronicler in Ross King ... King has the gift of clear, unpretentious exposition, and an instinctive narrative flair (Guardian)
Extraordinary (Sunday Times 'Must Reads')
Enthralling **** (Daily Mail)
Mr. King gives us a gripping account of how that painting was created and how it represents, in his view, one of the few times in Leonardo's life that he managed to "harness and concentrate his relentless energies and restless obsessions" ... King deftly deconstructs the ways the painter broke with tradition and stamped a familiar and much depicted subject with his distinctive vision (Michiko Kakutani, International Herald Tribune)
King writes evenly and engagingly . We learn a great deal about the middle-aged artist, and his persistent fear of failing to complete commissions . King deftly situates both his subject and the immense appeal of the work in our own day ... The book will bring new insights to all who have visited Milan, and will encourage others to make that pilgrimage (Church Times)
Forget Dan Brown's reading of the painting - King shows expertly how perspective and patronage shaped one of the most famous paintings in the world (Sunday Herald)
The Last Supper is an image familiar to everyone, the story of its execution is not. In Leonardo and the Last Supper, the best-selling author of Brunelleschi's Dome tells that extraordinary storySee all Product description
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While a great deal is known about Leonardo, there is also much that is unknown, and King frequently uses phrases like “Leonardo must have known”.
But the main part of the book - his analysis of the iconography of the painting, his descriptions of the techniques that Leonardo employed which contribute to the sad decay of the fresco and the history of the painting - are excellent.
I have read Ross King's other books, and this has the same readable style. The facts do not stop the story flowing, and this is a real page-turner.
The history of Europe as well as Italy during this period of time is interwoven with the story surrounding the creation of The Last Supper, and confirms my theory that Art History is a great way to teach both History and Geography!
I was sorry to finish it!
Highly Recommended for Art Lovers