Leonardo on Painting


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An Anthology of Writings by Leonardo da Vinci; With a Selection of Documents Relating to his Career as an Artist

Edited by Martin Kemp; Selected and translated by Martin Kemp and Margaret Walker

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Leonardo’s writings on painting—among the most remarkable from any era—were never edited by Leonardo himself into a single coherent book. In this anthology the authors have edited material not only from his so-called Treatise on Painting but also from his surviving manuscripts and from other primary sources, some of which were here translated for the first time. The resulting volume is an invaluable reference work for art historians as well as for anyone interested in the mind and methods of one of the world’s greatest creative geniuses.

“Highly readable. . . . Also included are documentary sources and letters illuminating Leonardo’s career; the manuscript sources for all of Leonardo’s statements are fully cited in the notes. The volume is skillfully translated and is illustrated with appropriate examples of drawings and paintings by the artist.”—Choice

“Certainly easier to read and . . . more convenient than previous compilations.”
—Charles Hope, New York Review of Books

“A chaotic assemblage of Leonardo da Vinci’s writings appeared in 1651 as Treatise on Painting. . . . [Kemp] successfully applies . . . order to the chaos.”—ArtNews

Martin Kemp is professor of the history of art at Oxford University. His publications include Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvelous Works of Nature and Man, Behind the Picture: Art and Evidence in the Italian Renaissance, and The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat. Margaret Walker lectures on Renaissance art and reviews books for Burlington Magazine.

"Kemp has produced a master's manual of thoughts about painting. . . . A great resource for painters and scholars."—Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide




"The illustrations are superb."—The Antique Collector

"Place[s] the author among the world's top Leonardo scholars. Students of Leonardo will look expectantly for which new direction Kemp's next Leonardo study will take."—Edward J. Olszewski, Sixteenth Century Journal 

ISBN: 9780300090956
Publication Date: August 11, 2001
336 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
Behind the Picture

Art and Evidence in the Italian Renaissance

Martin Kemp

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The Science of Art

Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat

Martin Kemp

View details