This story was originally published in French in 2016. Translated from French to English by Illanga Itoua.
Leonardo da Vinci lived for sixty-seven years, producing approximately fifteen pieces of artwork. Raphaël lived for thirty-seven years, and left behind around eighty. In his eighty-eight years, Michelangelo produced forty sculptures, a dozen paintings (including his work inside the Sistine Chapel), and a dozen architectural works.
Why was da Vinci, a man considered to be the authentic genius of the Renaissance, so relatively unproductive?
This essay is no art history thesis: I wish, rather, to discuss Ralph Steadman’s speculative book on this most influential of artists and thinkers.
A British illustrator born in 1936, Steadman was so fascinated with the creative and scientific genius of Leonardo da Vinci, he decided to follow in his footsteps; he lived where Leonardo had lived; he redrew his aforementioned inventions. And finally, he wrote and illustrated this imagined autobiography.