Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo Da Vinci (Hardcover)
Mark Lankford has written a marvelously frenetic and compulsively readable speculative biography of the great Leonardo Da Vinci. The biographical details of Da Vinci’s life leave many gaps, which Lankford explores in an idiosyncratic, yet wholly credible way. Becoming Leonardo explores a variety of intriguing aspects of the life of this left-handed "Renaissance" man, ranging from the possible reasons for his perplexing amount of unfinished works to the inspirational fact that he did not begin to achieve real notoriety until he reached his mid-forties. -Greg— From Spring Booknotes 2017
"I found Mr. Lankford's writing thought-provoking and Mr. Isaacson's thought-stifling. Mr.Lankford proposes a great many insights...With immediacy and grace, Becoming Leonardo starts on a high note and gets better to the very end."--WALL STREET JOURNAL A Wall Street Journal 2017 Book of the Year
A Spectator 2017 Book of the Year Why did Leonardo Da Vinci leave so many of his major works uncompleted? Why did this resolute pacifist build war machines for the notorious Borgias? Why did he carry the Mona Lisa with him everywhere he went for decades, yet never quite finish it? Why did he write backwards, and was he really at war with Michelangelo? And was he gay? In a book unlike anything ever written about the Renaissance genius, Mike Lankford explodes every cliche about Da Vinci and then reconstructs him based on a rich trove of available evidence--bringing to life for the modern reader the man who has been studied by scholars for centuries, yet has remained as mysterious as ever. Seeking to envision Da Vinci without the obscuring residue of historical varnish, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of Renaissance Italy--usually missing in other biographies--are all here, transporting readers back to a world of war and plague and court intrigue, of viciously competitive famous artists, of murderous tyrants with exquisite tastes in art .... Lankford brilliantly captures Da Vinci's life as the compelling and dangerous adventure it seems to have actually been--fleeing from one sanctuary to the next, somehow surviving in war zones beside his friend Machiavelli, struggling to make art his way or no way at all ... and often paying dearly for those decisions. It is a thrilling and absorbing journey into the life of a ferociously dedicated loner, whose artwork in one way or another represents his noble rebellion, providing inspiration that is timeless.
About the Author
Mike Lankford is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and the author of Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer, a memoir about his years as a white drummer in a black R&B band. The book was an Amazon editor's pick, and was selected by eight major newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Austin Chronicle, as the best music book of the year.