'This book...rewards the serious student of Leonardo's writings with a sense of the richness of the artist's thoughts, their many sources of inspiration... Claire J. Farago's book brings us closer to realizing the comprehensiveness of Leonardo's musings.' Jane Andrews Aiken, Journal of Medieval Studies, 1995.
Leonardo da Vinci's arguments for the supremacy of painting over the arts of poetry, music, and sculpture address issues that have been relevant to debates over the nature of representation since the time Plato discussed imitation until today. This is the argument of Claire Farago in this critical analysis of the first important modern contribution to the comparison of the arts. Her study systematically examines 46 passages compiled in the mid-16th century from 18 of Leonardo's notebooks and their relationship to the artist's holograph writings on painting. It provides a critical transcription newly made from the "Codex Vaticanus Urbinas 1270" and a new English translation with extensive notes that take into account Leonardo's scientific terminology, the highly contrived form of his rhetorical argumentation, and the role played by his original editors.