A personal memoir interwoven with original research, Living with Leonardo takes us deep inside Leonardo da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp’s lifelong passion for the genius who has helped define our culture.
Each chapter considers a specific work as Kemp offers insight into his encounters with academics, collectors, curators, devious dealers, auctioneers, and authors— as well as how he has grappled with legions of “Leonardo loonies,” treaded vested interests in academia and museums, and fended off fusillades of non- Leonardos. Kemp explains his thinking on the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, retells his part in the identification of the stolen Buccleuch Madonna, and explains his involvement on the two major Leonardo discoveries of the last 100 years: La Bella Principessa and Salvator Mundi. His engaging narrative elucidates the issues surrounding attribution,the scientific analyses that support experts’ interpretations, and the continuing importance of connoisseurship.
Illustrated with the works being discussed, Living with Leonardo explores the artist’s genius from every angle, including technical analysis and the pop culture works he inspired, such as The Da Vinci Code, and his enduring influence 500 years after his death.
Martin Kemp is emeritus research professor in the history of art at Oxford University. He is a leading authority on Leonardo da Vinci and his bibliography on the artist includes Leonardo; Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment, Design; and La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci.