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Book Review: Leonardo da Vinci on Painting

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Leonardo on Painting

The Bottom Line

An invaluable collection of all Leonardo da Vinci's surviving writings on painting.
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  • All Da Vinci's writings on painting in one book.
  • Contains relevant drawings and paintings.
  • Comprehensive index makes it easy to find a topic.


  • Sometimes hard to figure out what Da Vinci meant.
  • No explanations of unclear passages.
  • Have to refer to glossary for Italian terms.


  • Subtitle: Anthology of Writings with a Selection of Documents Relating to His Career as an Artist.
  • Paperback: 336 pages.
  • Publisher: Yale University Press, 2001
  • Edited: by Martin Kemp, professor of history of art at Oxford University.
  • ISBN: 0-300-0905-1

Guide Review - Book Review: Leonardo da Vinci on Painting

Leonardo da Vinci was a prolific writer, recording his thoughts and observations. This book collects all his writings on paintings into one comprehensive volume, grouped together under subjects: General Principles, The Science of Vision in Painting, The Human Body (proportions, anatomy, motion, posture, expression, draperies), The Depiction of Nature (light in the countryside, distances, water, horizons, mountains, trees), The Painter's Practice, and Leonardo's Artistic Career. The headings throughout the text make it easy to dip into, while the comprehensive index enables you to easily find Leonardo's writings a specific subject. It makes one of art's most creative minds accessible to every painter.
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