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Short Synopsis
Author Toby Lester cracks open Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man in order to explore the cultural explosion of Renaissance Europe.

Full Synopsis
Everybody knows the picture: a man, meticulously rendered by Leonardo da Vinci, standing with arms and legs outstretched in a circle and a square. Deployed today to celebrate subjects as various as the grandeur of art, the beauty of the human form, and the universality of the human spirit, the drawing turns up just about everywhere: in books, on coffee cups, on corporate logos, even on spacecraft. It has, in short, become the world's most famous cultural icon—and yet almost nobody knows about the epic intellectual journeys that led to its creation. In this modest drawing that would one day paper the world, da Vinci attempted nothing less than to calibrate the harmonies of the universe and understand the central role man played in the cosmos.

Journalist and storyteller Toby Lester brings Vitruvian Man to life, resurrecting the ghost of an unknown Leonardo. Populated by a colorful cast of characters, including Brunelleschi of the famous Dome, Da Vinci's Ghost opens up a surprising window onto the artist and philosopher himself and the tumultuous intellectual and cultural transformations he bridged. With sparkling prose, Lester captures the brief but momentous time in the history of western thought when the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance, art and science and philosophy converged as one, and all seemed to hold out the promise that a single human mind, if properly harnessed, could grasp the nature of everything.

"It's an exciting ride, for which narrator Stephen Hoye is well suited. He reads rather like a newscaster, lifting the ends of sentences and sounding upbeat, as if he's on the scene. Just right for a report from the end of one world and the start of another." ---AudioFile

"Lester braids intellectual threads---philosophy, anatomy, architecture, and art---together in a way that reaffirms not only Leonardo's genius but also re-establishes the significance of historical context in understanding great works of art." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Every once in a while that rare book comes along that is not only wonderfully written and utterly compelling but also alters the way you perceive the world. . . . Like a detective, Lester uncovers the secrets of an iconic drawing and pieces together a magisterial history of art and ideas and beauty." ---David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

"Da Vinci's Ghost is both a beautiful and a brilliant book." ---Howard Markel, author of An Anatomy of Addiction

"Narrator Stephen Hoye does a credible job of bringing this exciting historical period to life." ---Library Journal Audio Review
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New York Times Bestseller

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Da Vinci's Ghost

Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image

Author Toby Lester

Narrated by Stephen Hoye

Publication date Feb 7, 2012

Running time 7 hrs

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