Aphorisms, Section I, 1. Plato ancient Athenian philosopher BC ; pupil of Socrates; teacher of Aristotle "Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish" Aristotle - B.
Paperback Based on the life and times of the sisters Isabella and Beatrice d'Este, "Leonardo's Swans" is one of those historical novels that by casting two genuine personages as its protagonists adheres closely to authenticity in the portrayal of their lives and in providing plenty of details on the period.
Whereas Isabella is intelligent, refined and ambitious, the younger Beatrice is wayward and somewhat tomboyish. Already rumours are circling that the opposing temperaments of the sisters mean each would have been better off marrying the other's husband.
Sure enough, Isabella finds herself attracted to Ludovico though much less comes of this than the blurb would have you believeand somewhat jealous of Beatrice's elevation into wealth and status, that Isabella feels she could have handled better.
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But Beatrice has her own plans to win her husband's heart and become a keen political player in her own right.
Stretching over a period of several years, the sisters face the threat of war, the accumulation of worldly possessions, the infidelity of their husbands, and the onset of motherhood. Flitting in and out of their lives is the already infamous Leonardo da Vinci in the prime of his career and producing some of his most famous works of art under the patronage of Ludovico.
Isabella is desperate to have her image immortalized by the great artist, and makes it her life's ambition to sit for "the Magistro.
The inclusion of several inserts from his journal helps add to the portrayal of an extraordinary individual.
Although entertaining and diverting throughout, there is something missing in its depiction of its characters, particularly the sisters themselves. I think this has mainly to do with the way in which the novel is narrated, with the unusual technique of present-tense to describe either woman in repose, reflecting back on the past few years.
What happened in the interim between this interlude and the last is conveyed in past tense, in what unfortunately comes across as one large info-dump that inevitably relies on "telling" rather than "showing.
It also prevents us from really ever getting inside the heads of Isabella and Beatrice. We do not experience their lives at the same time they do, we only hear about it in hindsight which leaves us detached from the action. Likewise, because the gaps in time are so great, character development takes leaps and bounds over the pages: Isabella goes from an envious sister to a stanch ally to Beatrice, whereas Beatrice goes from a frightened child to a powerful political force in no time at all.
Both characters are lightly sketched, with more emphasis on their circumstances than the women themselves, but because Essex is constrained by the actual events of history, many of the plotlines she raises most obviously the one that speculates that the sisters are rivals over Ludovico's affection are nipped in the bud before anything really comes of them.
This leads to several contradictory passages, as in the following snippet when Isabella thinks of Ludovico: And yet I do love you, which you also know.
The setting and culture of the Renaissance is richly portrayed, and the research into the political machinations is no doubt extensive, but the characters never really come to life.LEONARDO'S SWANS is historical fiction at its finest.
It is the perfect blend of story and history, and sent me searching the internet for hours afterward to learn about the characters and the works of Leonardo da Vinci.
If you are an art or history enthusiast, or if you enjoy writing in the style of Philippa Gregory, you will love LEONARDO'S. Find great deals on eBay for leonardos. Shop with confidence. Leonardo's Swans has 5, ratings and reviews.
Tina said: I'm on the fence about this book. the excerpts from Da Vinci's notebooks - I really wanted to understand how these added to the story, but that to more. flag 3 likes · Like · see review.
Jun 20, Great for learning more about Leonard's art but is too dense. The /5(). VARGAS AND BRAZIL STUDIES OF THE AMERICAS Edited by James Dunkerley Institute for the Studies of the Americas University of London School of Advanced Study Titles in this series are multidisciplinary studies of aspects of the societies of the hemisphere, particularly in the areas of politics, economics, history, anthropology, sociology, and environment.
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