In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began what would become one of history's most influential works of art-The Last Supper. After a decade at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point: at forty-three, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father, made with material expropriated by the military. The commission to paint The Last Supper was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it weren't promising: he hadn't worked on such a large painting and had no experience in the standard mural medium of fresco.
Amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations, Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. Ross King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting, and overturns many of the myths surrounding it. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, he presents an original portrait of one of history's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.
About the author
Ross King, born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, is the Canadian author of three books on Italian history and Art: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power and Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, which won the 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Nonfiction. His study of French Impressionism, The Judgment of Paris, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in Canada. He lives in England, near Oxford.
Other titles by Ross King
The Bookseller of Florence
The Story of Painting
How art was made
The Definitive Visual Guide
Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
Their Lives and Works
Score One for the Dancing Girl, and Other Selections from the Kimun ch'onghwa
A Story Collection from Nineteenth-Century Korea
A Geography of Metaphors
The Vatican: All the Paintings
The Complete Collection of Old Masters, Plus More than 300 Sculptures, Maps, Tapestries, and other Artifacts
The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven