Synopses & Reviews
Everybody knows the picture: a man, meticulously rendered by Leonardo da Vinci, standing with arms and legs outstretched in a circle and a square. Deployed today to celebrate subjects as various as the grandeur of art, the beauty of the human form, and the universality of the human spirit, the drawing turns up just about everywhere: in books, on coffee cups, on corporate logos, even on spacecraft. It has, in short, become the world's most famous cultural icon—and yet almost nobody knows about the epic intellectual journeys that led to its creation. In this modest drawing that would one day paper the world, da Vinci attempted nothing less than to calibrate the harmonies of the universe and understand the central role man played in the cosmos.
Journalist and storyteller Toby Lester brings Vitruvian Man to life, resurrecting the ghost of an unknown Leonardo. Populated by a colorful cast of characters, including Brunelleschi of the famous Dome, Da Vinci's Ghost opens up a surprising window onto the artist and philosopher himself and the tumultuous intellectual and cultural transformations he bridged. With sparkling prose, Lester captures the brief but momentous time in the history of western thought when the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance, art and science and philosophy converged as one, and all seemed to hold out the promise that a single human mind, if properly harnessed, could grasp the nature of everything.
"Lester braids intellectual threads---philosophy, anatomy, architecture, and art---together in a way that reaffirms not only Leonardo's genius but also re-establishes the significance of historical context in understanding great works of art." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"It's an exciting ride, for which narrator Stephen Hoye is well suited. He reads rather like a newscaster, lifting the ends of sentences and sounding upbeat, as if he's on the scene. Just right for a report from the end of one world and the start of another." ---AudioFile
Author Toby Lester cracks open Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man in order to explore the cultural explosion of Renaissance Europe.
About the Author
Toby Lester is the author of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award finalist The Fourth Part of the World. He is a contributing editor to and has written extensively for the Atlantic, and his work has been featured on the radio show This American Life. He is an invited research scholar at Brown University's John Carter Brown Library and a former Peace Corps volunteer and United Nations observer. Toby lives in the Boston area with his wife and three daughters. Stephen Hoye has won thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards, including one for the New York Times bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. A graduate of London's Guildhall and a veteran of London's West End, Stephen has recorded many other notable titles, such as Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong and The Google Story by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.