Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered Carmen C. Bambach

Publication date:
30 Jul 2019
Yale University Press
2350 pages: 292 x 248mm
1,500 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A modern rethinking of the career and vision of one of the greatest artists of all time on the 500th anniversary of his death

The towering genius of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) has been celebrated—and remained undisputed—for hundreds of years. A groundbreaking, essential addition to scholarship, Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered continues this legacy while simultaneously reexamining the multifaceted artist’s life and work from the ground up. This authoritative, four-volume study marks the 500th anniversary of the great master’s death with a sweeping, up-to-date portrait of Leonardo as he has never been seen before.

Internationally renowned Leonardo specialist Carmen C. Bambach unfurls new narratives, largely based on the most important, yet most misunderstood, body of evidence available: the artist’s drawings, paintings, and manuscripts. In the manner of a biographer, Bambach combs through contemporary documents and more than 4,000 surviving sheets of Leonardo’s notes and drawings to extract details about his development as an artist and thinker that have never before been suggested. Some 1,500 illustrations portray the staggering, spectacular legacy that Leonardo left behind on paper and canvas. Through Bambach’s comprehensive research, Leonardo emerges as a figure who both embodies his era and completely transcends it, enduring as one of history’s greatest artists, scientists, and inventors.

More about this title

Emendations to the image captions in volume 2:
Pages 282-284

Carmen C. Bambach is curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 2019 she was awarded the Vilcek Prize for Excellence - created to honor immigrants who have had a profound impact on American society and world culture.

“A vast project spanning more than 1m words and 1,500 images . . . Bambach’s numerous discoveries include a small drapery study in the Royal Collection, where it was described as from Leonardo’s workshop.”—Dalya Alberge, Guardian

“awesomely ambitious”—Holland Cotter, New York Times

“A project nearly a quarter-century in the making, this monograph attempts to provide a comprehensive revisiting of the man so many know only as the painter of the ‘Mona Lisa’ and the ‘Last Supper.’”—Lauren Christensen, New York Times Book Review

“This outstanding work for Leonardo’s quincentenary is riveting. Across four sumptuous, scholarly volumes Bambach takes a fresh biographical approach, exploring especially through drawings and handwriting how Leonardo visualised knowledge in a new way. She humanises genius by showing the gap between his mysterious visions and staggering achievements.”—Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times

“The outstanding memorial to Leonardo’s quincentenary year: a new biographical approach across four riveting exquisite volumes, exploring through paintings, drawings, diagrams, handwriting, Leonardo’s attempt to visualise knowledge in a fresh way, and his sense of the gap between his mysterious imaginings and his intellectual and artistic achievements” — Financial Times (Books of the Year 2019)

“This extraordinary, monumental art historical achievement in four volumes, running to 2,350 pages, also doubles as a de facto catalogue raisonné for the ages.”—David Anfam, Art Newspaper

“Bambach's four-volume account of the artist's lifeand work is a feat of research and interpretation that has taken a quarter of a century to produce. As well as poring over Leonardo's drawings, paintings, and writings, Bambach considers the relevant scholarship and recent technical evidence”— Apollo Magazine

“In the case of 2019, there is no question about the most substantial commemoration of the year, with Carmen C Bambach’s toweringly authoritative four-volume Leonardo da Vinci Rediscoveredstanding head and shoulders above any of its rivals”David Ekserdjian, Evening Standard

“[. . .] Because only about a dozen surviving paintings are now generally accepted, the notebooks and drawings provide the main insight into [Leonardo’s] personality and development as an artist. But they also present formidable problems of dating, attribution and purpose, which are at the heart of Carmen Bambach's massive and extraordinarily impressive scrutiny”Charles Hope, London Review of Books

Winner in the PROSE Awards Art History and Criticism category, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers

Winner of the2020 PROSE Award for Excellence in Humanities, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers.

Winner of the 2020 PROSE Awards R.R. Hawkins Award, sponsored by The Association of American Publishers

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