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Lifetime Learning invites you to join Francesca Fiorani, professor of art history at UVA, as she shares her new insight into Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man trained as an artist and later turned scientist. A lot has been said about Leonardo, but in Fiorani’s new book, she argues that we cannot understand him unless we see that he was a scientist all through his career. To understand his use of science, we must look closely at his shadow drawings as they taught him precisely how to paint the human soul; this is Leonardo’s true legacy and how he wanted to be remembered. For him, the ultimate expression of knowledge, even scientific knowledge, was painting. If he could paint something, it meant he understood it.
Professor of Art History, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Francesca Fiorani is a professor of art history at the University of Virginia, where she has served as associate dean for the arts and humanities and chair of the Department of Art. A leading authority on Renaissance art and its connections to science and technology, she is an expert on Leonardo da Vinci. In collaboration with UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, she created Leonardo da Vinci and His Treatise on Painting, a resource that scholars worldwide now access and use. She is the author of numerous books, including The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo How to Paint (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2020) and The Marvel of Maps: Art, Cartography and Politics in Renaissance Italy (Yale University Press, 2005).
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