Ross King - Leonardo and the Last Supper (2)

I left off The Glass Bead Game thinking I’d like to read a true story about a person who had chased “perfection” and artistic achievement.

I’ve never read one of King’s books, and the Leonardo Da Vinci one caught my eye:

After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. 

Favourite Scene/ Quote

It’s actually the one referenced in the synopsis: the notion that one of history’s most influential artists didn’t achieve success until his later years (at an age when most people had already passed away) is AMAZING. Enough with the memoirs and biographies of people who achieve peak influence in their twenties. More of these older geniuses, please. 


The book was okay, but it moved around a lot between art history, art theory, Leonardo’s biography, and Italian history. I love every one of those topics, but it was inconsistent. Some parts were thrillingly thought-provoking, while other times my mind wandered. Caveat: the pacing of the audiobook may have had something to do with it. Worth reading, but not life-altering.

What’s Next?

My non-fiction itch isn’t scratched, but I have a hankering for something with a more prominent female character and something lighter, to cleanse my palate of Italian religious history and warfare.