Leonardo Lately

Have you noticed that for a gentleman who hasn’t been around for five centuries, Leonardo da Vinci sure has been getting a lot of press lately? That’s not to say that it’s not well deserved. Here’s a 3 Minute Primer that gives just a glimpse of why he was such an amazing guy.

The Smile

Of course, one perennial reason for Leonardo’s ongoing popularity is certainly the never ending fascination with how he achieved Mona Lisa’s smile. This Newsy video is about just one study published a few years ago.

Here’s a recent short video from The Atlantic that further explains the fantastic techniques that Leonardo used to create the illusions that make the painting so enigmatic.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for an average person to actually experience the effect for themselves. In case you’ve never been to the Louvre and tried to see the original, here’s a 360° Video that will give you a sense of what you will probably encounter (skip to 2 minutes into video).

The Genius

One of the above videos was actually made to accompany a story by Walter Isaacson about Leonardo da Vinci in the latest issue of the The Atlantic, and that story is just a taste of the book Leonardo da Vinci that Isaacson has just added to his pantheon of biographies about geniuses (Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs).

Here’s an inspiring 2 minute video where Isaacson talks about Leonardo’s creativity.

Here’s another fun video where Isaacson visits CBS This Morning to discuss his newest book.

The Auction

It is certainly no coincidence that Isaacson’s book is neatly timed to coincide with the auction of Leonardo’s last painting in private hands — the Salvator Mundi is being auctioned at Christie’s on November 15th.

Here’s a 5 minute video from Christie’s that explains the importance of the painting.

In truth, though, the authenticity of the painting still remains controversial in some circles.
Mystery over Christ’s orb in $100m Leonardo da Vinci painting (Dalya Alberge, The Guardian)

The painting might go to a private bidder, so there’s no guarantee it will be exhibited in a museum. If you want to be sure to see it for yourself, then head to the pre-sale exhibition at Christie’s in London on October 24th to 26th or New York on October 28th to November 4th.

The Exhibit

If you’re a fan of Leonardo, but you can’t quite make it to Paris, London or New York, do not despair. There’s also a wonderful exhibit that’s been making the rounds over the last few years. The next stop is going to be next year at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque where it will run from February 10th through the end of July. Here’s a story about it from a local news station there (KRQE).

The exhibit made a stop at the Museum of Science here in Boston last year, and it was awesome! Another fan posted this great video that captured a sense of it.

The Movie

Good news — Leonardo is coming to a screen near you! Leonardo DiCaprio, who is named after da Vinci, is going to be starring in a movie about his namesake, and it will be based upon Isaacson’s book. Here’s a video from Wochit and a story from Variety published a few months ago about the project.


The Role Leonardo DiCaprio Was Literally Born to Play (Yohana Desta, Variety)

Given what Leonardo da Vinci himself documented about his own exotic exploits, well, that should be “interesting” — it would be hard to be boring. Okay, it has the potential to be pretty gruesome, but fascinating nonetheless.

If you want to know about Leonardo da Vinci, but can’t wait for the movie, here’s an older documentary entitled Leonardo’s Universe (National Geographic).

You can also find out a ton more about Leonardo on The History Channel, Britannica and of course, Wikipedia.

Find out more about the time I met Walter Isaacson at Harvard

Find out more about the arts and history