Isaacson does not consider Leonardo as a genius in the same sense as Isaac Newton and Einstein who had brains beyond the realm of we mere mortals, rather he looks at Leonardo as more human, though a man of intense curiosity -- about everything -- who could assimilate imagination and technology, in essence one of the first renaissance men. Isaacson has focused on Leonardo's notebooks and he has traveled to all the archives where the originals are maintained – a definitive work on the life of Leonardo da Vinci.
This book is written as though one is talking a leisurely stroll with an art expert who is pointing out all the subtle details in each work. Early on Leonardo was an apprentice to Verrocchio. They worked together [collaborated] on “Tobia and the Angel” and on the “Baptism of Christ”. What is so astounding is that the use of modern X-ray analysis enables one to discern which part of the work was done by Leonardo and which part was done by Verrocchio. By the time of the “Baptism of Christ,” Leonardo was clearly surpassing his master.
Via this book, I feel as though I am taking a leisurely stroll through the works of the masters and obtaining a priceless art education. However I realize, that in order to best appreciate this book, one must have an adequate exposure to art, art history, history in general, the Bible, the classics, the Greeks, etc. One cannot just pick up this book and fully appreciate Leonardo without a fair understanding of what came before.
Wonderful. A great book for leisurely reading in a quiet reflective mood, one cannot race through it.