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Da Vinci’s Ghost: The untold story of Vitruvian Man

Da Vinci’s Ghost: The untold story of Vitruvian Man

Author(s): Toby Lester

Location(s): Italy

Genre(s): Historical

Era(s): Various, late 1400s



In the richly rewarding history “Da Vinci’s Ghost,” Toby ­Lester, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, shows that Leonardo had long been fascinated by the concept of man as a microcosm of the universe. Before the Pacioli collaboration, the idea had inspired what has since become one of Leonardo’s most famous images, “Vitruvian Man” (circa 1490), a careful line drawing of a nude male figure whose outstretched arms and legs fit perfectly in the bounds of a circle and a square. “Vitruvian Man” has entered popular culture as an emblem of Leonardo’s genius – redolent of secret knowledge, referred to in the initial crime scene of “The Da Vinci Code” and reproduced on the face of the Italian one-euro coin. But as Lester points out, “almost nobody knows its story.” New York Times

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Lead Review

‘Hits the mark … a compelling portrait of Leonardo … leavens scholarship with storytelling and graceful prose.’ –FT

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