Cover image for The genius of Leonardo
The genius of Leonardo
Visconti, Guido.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Barefoot Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
40 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
A biography of the work, dreams, and wild inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, as seen through the eyes of his mischievous young assistant, Giacomo.
General Note:
"First published in Italy in 2000"--verso T.P.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 0.5 49391.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6923.L33 V57 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Leonardo smiled, and he explained that a person s life is just a moment in infinity. During that moment, no one can do and know all that they would like.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6, younger for reading aloud. What was Leonardo da Vinci really like? This engaging story blends Leonardo's words with the imagined observations of Leonardo's assistant, Giacomo. An easy-to-follow, third-person narrative describes Giacomo's experiences as he tags along with the master between activities (scientific discoveries, weapons design, and painting the Last Supper) and countries, from Italy to France. The story is woven around italicized quotes from Leonardo, which sometimes give the awkward impression that a voice is being channeled from beyond. Primary sources for the quotes are cited at the end of the book, though there are no other notes to help young readers separate fact from fiction. But even without such information, children unfamiliar with Leonardo will still pick up much about his life and work, and Bimba Landmann's stylized folk art paintings, although filled with odd angles and perspectives, offer intriguing, decorative scenes of Leonardo and Renaissance life. Well-designed and written, this lovely introduction to the master will work best when read with an adult who can help answer questions. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Intelligent as its text may be, this apprentice's-eye view of Leonardo da Vinci is overshadowed by the illustrations. The picture-book biography offers a glimpse of the master's later years, including his paintings of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Visconti incorporates comments from Leonardo's notebooks as he imagines exchanges between the great artist and an inquisitive but not always dependable young servant. Landmann, whose artwork was ideally matched to A Boy Named Giotto, here seems stylistically at odds with her subject. Her eerily elongated figures, with their mask-like Byzantine faces slanting down upon their necks, take on perpetually mournful postures. The greenish skin tones, the arid landscapes and the forceful stillness of the compositions contribute to a generally morbid air that the illustrator's splashes of silver ink do little to dispel. Landmann's renderings of Leonardo's sketches and of his Mona Lisa are swift gestures, a shorthand that implies the audience's foreknowledge. Readers who want to learn the details of the Italian Renaissance leader's life, scientific explorations and artwork would do better with Diane Stanley's Leonardo da Vinci. Ages 7-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-This picture-book biography offers a personal vision of the famous artist, engineer, inventor, and musician from Vinci as described through the voice of his mischievous, 10-year-old apprentice, Giacomo. While the boy's feelings are a fabrication, the events (including his lifelong relationship to Leonardo) are historically accurate. Quotes from the artist's journals are incorporated into the story and appear in italics. However, it is Landmann's stylized paintings that immediately confront readers with a sense of Leonardo's eccentricities and personality. The figures have elongated features and highly modeled faces with pensive expressions. The settings are dreamlike with curving perspectival lines. The objects and people are all influenced by the predominant color of the page, by turns bluish, golden, or peach. In addition, a series of Leonardo's original sketches opens and concludes the book and his drawings appear throughout. This emotive work would prove a fascinating contrast to Diane Stanley's elegant portrait of the man in Leonardo da Vinci (Morrow, 1996). Janis Herbert's Leonardo da Vinci for Kids (Chicago Review, 1998) provides in-depth information and related activities.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.