Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In writing Leonardo da Vinci: The Universal Genius, Iris Noble also created a cultural and social history of the late Italian Renaissance. Although she focuses on the life of Leonardo, she includes realistic details depicting daily life during this time period. She also refers to the political turmoil in Italy during the fifteenth century and explains how the Renaissance style of art evolved from the style common during the Middle Ages.

Using a narrative form, Noble chronicles the life of Leonardo from his boyhood to his death. The first five chapters depict Leonardo as a young man from fifteen to twenty years old, chapters 6 through 9 describe his young adulthood, and the final six chapters deal with his life from the age of thirty-one until his death at the age of sixty-seven. The book begins in the village of Vinci and then moves to Florence. The second half of the book shows Leonardo’s life in Milan, Florence, Rome, and Amboise, France.

As a boy, Leonardo was influenced by his father, a lawyer who wanted his son to become successful in the eyes of the world, and by his uncle Francesco, who encouraged his nephew to develop his varied talents. He lacked contact with his mother, who was a peasant woman, and continued throughout his life primarily in the company of men. As Leonardo matured, he found various patrons and friends who continued to influence his conflict between worldly success and self-realization. Leonardo moved from...

(The entire section is 435 words.)