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The Genius of Leonardo by Guido Visconti
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The Genius of Leonardo (2000)

by Guido Visconti

Other authors: Bimba Landmann (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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What a beautiful introduction to Leonardo da Vinci! The illustrations glimmer and bring to life the brilliance of this great man through the eyes of his 10-year-old servant. We will be reading this again and again! ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
A fascinating picture-book "biography" of Leonardo da Vinci, as told by his apprentice Giacomo - a ten-year-old "liar, thief and greedy brute, (who) eats as much as two boys and causes as much trouble as four" - The Genius of Leonardo uses quotations from da Vinci's own journals to recreate an affectionate portrait of the great master, who, although not always understood by his servant, is admired and respected. da Vinci's many diverse interests, and his philosophical ideas - about the stupidity of war, or the cruelty in keeping birds caged - are captured in the brief narrative, which picks up when he is an older man, working for Count Ludovico of Milan, and concludes with his journey to France, where he was employed in the court of Francis I.

I enjoyed the narrative here, and appreciated the illustrated "lists," at front and back, of da Vinci's various activities, and many brilliant ideas and inventions. Bimba Lindmann's artwork - which can also be found in titles such as Clare and Francis (also by Guido Visconti) and A Boy Named Giotto - seems oddly ill-suited to a Renaissance story at fist glance, but will eventually win the reader over. The reviewer who mentioned that the style is more Byzantine here, than anything else, has a point, but the overall effect was actually very appealing. In any case, as the friend who recommended this one has pointed out, there are plenty of other children's books about da Vinci, for those who find this one less than compelling. For the rest of us, there is the pleasure of a well-told story and some gorgeous artwork! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 11, 2013 |
Tale of Leonardo and his 10 year old servant, Giacomo. The text flows beautifully, including quotations, drawings and biographical information. Illustrations are magnificent and large. Like Giacomo, young readers will be inspired by Leonardo's curiosity and passion. ( )
  MrsBond | Feb 20, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guido Viscontiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Landmann, BimbaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roberts, MarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"A person's life is just a moment in infinity" Leonardo da Vinci
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1490. Giacomo has come to live with me. He is ten years old. He is a liar, a thief, and a greedy brute. (pg. 1) [Manuscript C, Institute of France]
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 184148301X, Hardcover)

This engaging picture-book biography of Leonardo da Vinci is told from the perspective of his 10-year-old assistant, Giacomo. He looks on in wonder as Leonardo paints the Mona Lisa, designs a flying machine--and, less impressively, plays practical jokes on him. The basics of Leonardo's life are all here, including his habit of buying and releasing caged birds and his reluctant move, late in life, to the French court. But young readers will learn most about da Vinci's ideas--on painting, science, and the nature of time. Cleverly interleaved with short quotations from the master's own writings, The Genius of Leonardo leaves a vivid impression of what it must have been like for a child to be an apprentice to such a genius. A nice touch is that Leonardo doesn't know everything: Giacomo's last question, about the moon, is beyond him, and Leonardo's assistant is left to speculate about knowledge and inventions yet to come. As in the spectacular A Boy Named Giotto, Bimba Landmann's gorgeous paintings are melancholy and oddly--but strangely aptly--medieval looking. (Ages 9 and older) --Richard Farr

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

A biography of the work, dreams, and wild inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, as seen through the eyes of his mischievous young assistant, Giacomo.

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