The book offers an exhaustive account of this unique human, artistic and intellectual adventure through a comprehensive and up-to-date art historical analysis of Leonardo's work. Accompanied by spectacular illustrations.
In the Quattrocento, an era when the representation of the human figure was dominated by timeless images based on Botticelli's example, Leonardo worked with light and colour to achieve a modelling that would restore three-dimensionality to the face and soften the rigours of perspective in a misty landscape, no longer a mere backdrop but a vivid pictorial transposition of careful scientific studies and refined psychological analyses. In Leonardo's pictures, it is the changing atmospheric conditions that complement and breathe life into the delicate rendering of the forms and the emotional experiences of the subjects. Thus the artist created powerfully expressive religious pictures and secular portraits that have a modern and disquieting quality in which the faces are true 'windows of the soul', highlighting a silent psychological dialogue between the painting's subject and the observer. Artistic innovations are sustained by a new sensitivity, as well as by study of the refraction of colour, to which much space is dedicated in the Florentine master's theoretical writings.
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