Toby Lester (born November 2, 1964) is an American journalist, scholar and author. He received attention after writing two nonfiction works on the role of maps in the discovery of America and on Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian Man .
Tony Lester is the son of James Lester and Valerie Browne Lester and the brother of Alison Lester, all of whom are writers. Lester studied English and French at the University of Virginia, which he graduated from in 1987. He has worked as a refugee affairs officer for the United Nations, has helped with programmes in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and has undertaken Peace Corps work in Yemen. From 1995 to 2005, he worked for the American magazine The Atlantic in various capacities, including managing editor, and has contributed to several other journals. Topics of interest have included the reconstruction of ancient Greek music, the Qur'an and alphabets in Azerbaijan. Lester lives near Boston with his wife and three daughters.
Lester has written two widely reviewed works of nonfiction. The Fourth Part of the World (2009) investigates the role of the 15th century map compiled by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in the early years of exploration to the New World. He also looks at its place in the history of map-making from the days of the second-century Greek-Egyptian geographer Ptolemy and his treatise on geography.
His second book, Da Vinci's Ghost (2011), tells the story of the Vitruvian Man , Leonardo da Vinci's well-known drawing of a man inside a circle and a square. He explains how, in the first century BC, Vitruvius based his understanding of architecture on the principle that it should conform to the "members of a well-shaped man" and that it depended on squares and circles. Lester explores the relationships between Vitruvius' emperor Augustus and both Christ and God, explaining how geographical regions were considered to have been conceived within the embrace of figures symbolizing Christ or Adam. He also traces the part played by Arab scholars of science and medicine who continued to reveal classical texts at a time when western scholars considered them to be ungodly.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology. Leonardo is widely regarded to have been a genius who epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal, and his collective works compose a contribution to later generations of artists matched only by that of his younger contemporary, Michelangelo.
Vitruvius was a Roman architect and engineer during the 1st century BC, known for his multi-volume work entitled De architectura. He originated the idea that all buildings should have three attributes: firmitas, utilitas, and venustas. These principles were later widely adopted in Roman architecture. His discussion of perfect proportion in architecture and the human body led to the famous Renaissance drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.
The Vitruvian Man is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci in about 1490. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in ink on paper, depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square.
Leonardo's robot, or Leonardo's mechanical knight, was a humanoid automaton designed and possibly constructed by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1495.
Iacomo Andrea, also known as Giacomo Andrea de Ferrara, was an architect from Ferrara and the author on a commentary on Vitruvius. Very little is known about Andrea; his name did not appear on any buildings in Milan.
While there is significant variation in anatomical proportions between people, certain body proportions have become canonical in figurative art. The study of body proportions, as part of the study of artistic anatomy, explores the relation of the elements of the human body to each other and to the whole. These ratios are used in depictions of the human figure and may become part of an artistic canon of body proportion within a culture. Academic art of the nineteenth century demanded close adherence to these reference metrics and some artists in the early twentieth century rejected those constraints and consciously mutated them.
The Gallerie dell'Accademia is a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice, northern Italy. It is housed in the Scuola della Carità on the south bank of the Grand Canal, within the sestiere of Dorsoduro. It was originally the gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, the art academy of Venice, from which it became independent in 1879, and for which the Ponte dell'Accademia and the Accademia boat landing station for the vaporetto water bus are named. The two institutions remained in the same building until 2004, when the art school moved to the Ospedale degli Incurabili.
The Annunciation is a painting widely attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, dated to c. 1472–1476. Leonardo's earliest extant major work, it was completed in Florence while he was an apprentice in the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio. The painting was made oil and tempera on a large poplar panel and depicts the Annunciation, a popular biblical subject in 15th-century Florence. Since 1867 it has been housed in the Uffizi in Florence, the city where it was created. Though the work has been criticized for inaccuracies in its composition, it is among the best known portrayals of the Annunciation in Christian art.
The Madonna Litta is a late 15th-century painting, traditionally attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. It depicts the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the Christ child, a devotional subject known as the Madonna lactans. The figures are set in a dark interior with two arched openings, as in Leonardo's earlier Madonna of the Carnation, and a mountainous landscape in aerial perspective can be seen beyond. In his left hand Christ holds a goldfinch, which is symbolic of his future Passion.
De architectura is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect and military engineer Marcus Vitruvius Pollio and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus, as a guide for building projects. As the only treatise on architecture to survive from antiquity, it has been regarded since the Renaissance as the first book on architectural theory, as well as a major source on the canon of classical architecture. It contains a variety of information on Greek and Roman buildings, as well as prescriptions for the planning and design of military camps, cities, and structures both large and small. Since Vitruvius published before the development of cross vaulting, domes, concrete, and other innovations associated with Imperial Roman architecture, his ten books give no information on these hallmarks of Roman building design and technology.
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist, sometimes called The Burlington House Cartoon, is a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. The drawing is in charcoal and black and white chalk, on eight sheets of paper glued together. Because of its large size and format the drawing is presumed to be a cartoon for a painting. No painting by Leonardo exists that is based directly on this cartoon, though it may have been in preparation for a now lost or unexecuted painting commissioned by Louis XII. The drawing is the only extant larger-scale drawing by the artist.
Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance painter and polymath who achieved legendary fame and iconic status within his own lifetime. His renown primarily rests upon his brilliant achievements as a painter, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, being two of the most famous artworks ever created, but also upon his diverse skills as a scientist and inventor. He became so highly valued during his lifetime that the King of France bore him home like a trophy of war, supported him in his old age and, according to legend, cradled his head as he died.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was an Italian polymath, regarded as the epitome of the "Renaissance Man", displaying skills in numerous diverse areas of study. Whilst most famous for his paintings such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, Leonardo is also renowned in the fields of civil engineering, chemistry, geology, geometry, hydrodynamics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, optics, physics, pyrotechnics, and zoology.
Saint Jerome in the Wilderness is an unfinished painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, dated c. 1480–1490. The composition of the painting has been drafted in monochrome onto the primed wooden panel. At an unknown date after Leonardo's death, the panel was cut into five pieces before eventually being restored into its original form. Created during Leonardo's last years in Florence, or his first years in Milan, the work is now in the Vatican Museums.
An artistic canon of body proportions, in the sphere of visual arts, is a formally codified set of criteria deemed mandatory for a particular artistic style of figurative art. The word canon was first used for this type of rule in Classical Greece, where it set a reference standard for body proportions, so as to produce a harmoniously formed figure appropriate to depict gods or kings. Other art styles have similar rules that apply particularly to the representation of royal or divine personalities.
The portrait of a man in red chalk in the Royal Library of Turin is widely, though not universally, accepted as a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. It is thought that Leonardo da Vinci drew this self-portrait at about the age of 60. The portrait has been extensively reproduced and has become an iconic representation of Leonardo as a polymath or "Renaissance Man". Despite this, some historians and scholars disagree as to the true identity of the sitter.
Salvator Mundi is a painting attributed in whole or in part to the Italian High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, dated to c. 1499–1510. Long thought to be a copy of a lost original veiled with overpainting, it was rediscovered, restored, and included in a major exhibition of Leonardo's work at the National Gallery, London, in 2011–2012. Christie's claimed just after selling the work that most leading scholars consider it to be an original work by Leonardo, but this attribution has been disputed by other specialists, some of whom posit that he only contributed certain elements.
The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist is a lost composition by Leonardo da Vinci. The composition is known through a handful of paintings attributed to artists in Leonardo's circle. An original underdrawing by Leonardo may be preserved in a version in a private collection in Moscow, Russia.
The DaVinci International Film Festival(DIFF) is held annually in Los Angeles, California and is produced by the non-profit DaVinci Film Foundation Inc. The festival governs four key programs including their screenwriting competition series STORYLINE, presented by Final Draft, the DaVinci Film Institute, which honors beurgeoning filmmakers with screenings and scholarships held at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, sponsored by Coca-Cola, and documentaries at DIFFdocs.