The word "genius" gets thrown around a lot in casual conversation. Even when you weed out subsets — like "managerial geniuses" or "musical geniuses" — there are some transcendent figures we typically file under the genius category. Leonardo da Vinci would certainly rank among these people, who transformed the ways in which we view the world.
Writer Mark Lankford doesn’t necessarily consider himself a genius, but he has written a book, "Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci," which gives us some uncommon insights into the man behind "The Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper." Lankford points to one particular attribute which made da Vinci unusual for artists of his era.
"The critical thing there is to recognize that at that time, it was the emergence of the modern individual. One of the remarkable things about Leonardo is that he is one of the first stand-alone individuals in art. So, he had a sense of himself that was distinct from other people," he says.
Lankford will be in Milwaukee on Friday, Sept. 7, for a Boswell Book Company event at the Charles Allis Art Museum.