You can walk into any bookstore or museum gift shop and buy many, many, many books on Leonardo da Vinci. Some are more cost effective than others. You may find a book of his paintings, or just the drawings, or even a book of his much sought after notebooks. I know because I have these things on my own bookshelves at home, purchased where and when I could at significant cost. It’s a side effect of being an art major with a love of the Renaissance and an absolute devotion to the work of Leonardo. You know what you will likely not find? A paper book of his complete works, at least not one you can afford easily. The man was prolific, and such a book is beyond reach of the average art student.
This is one of those times when the advantages of the ebook comes to light. This particular book has all of things I’ve mentioned – literally his complete works – including several detail portraits of those works, history and explanation of each work, a photo of the house where he was born, the maestro’s thoughts on art and life (translated, of course), criticisms of his work by the likes of Sigmund Freud and others, and not one, but TWO biographies. All of that for a couple of dollars.
Delphi impressed me a while back with the Complete Works of Michelangelo book, so I went a bit nuts and picked up the entire collection of these from Amazon’s Kindle library. I’ve been going through them all slowly, and relishing every moment. An instructor I had once reminded me that seeing a picture in a book isn’t anything close to seeing the original in front of you on a wall, and that’s so true. But seeing these works digitally reproduced and backlit is certainly an improvement on substandard reproductions in a paper book in most cases. Where the book is superior, it’s probably oversized with a price tag to match, and likely incomplete. No matter how you look at it, and no matter what level of expertise or enthusiasm you have, this entire series is a great deal. It’s like having a digital art museum to visit during your lunch break.