Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King is not the kind of book I’m used to reading. Outside of my art history and general history classes in college, I’ve shied away from non-fiction since I’ve graduated. However, that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a well-written piece on one of my favorite artists. King’s analysis of Leonardo da Vinci’s life, techniques, and motivations had me missing the joy of learning something new.
King goes into great detail concerning da Vinci’s life. I learned about da Vinci’s different commisions leading up to the Last Supper, his background as an artist, and his general outlook on life. But King didn’t stop there. He added in pleasant tidbits about the different cities da Vinci worked in, what was going on politically at the time, and a lot about how art commissions worked during da Vinci’s days. I was surprised to learn that as great an artist as da Vinci was, that he rarely finished his commissions on time, or in some cases, at all.
My only real complaint is that sometimes the shear amount of information and foreign names that King discusses can be overwhelming. I sometimes found myself frustrated at trying to keep all the different dukes, kings, and other figures of royalty straight. Also, while I enjoyed most of the little details about the life of an artist during da Vinci’s days, after a few hundred pages, it became a little much to read. That’s not to say that the book wasn’t well-written, because it most certainly was. I just wished the author was a bit more concise at times.
Leonardo and the Last Supper really helps the reader learn about the life of da Vinci. It’s not just about the Last Supper, but rather an accurate account of the life of an artist who traveled about Italy. It’s about da Vinci looking to prove himself as an artist and an inventor. It’s about the thought process of one of history’s greatest minds. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves art history or just wants to know more about a wonderful artist. You won’t be disappointed.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Walker & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.