Jonathan Jones is the art critic of the Guardian. He appears in the BBC television series Private Life of a Masterpiece and gives talks at the Tate and other galleries. In 2009 he was a judge for the Turner Prize. Jonathan lives in London with his wife and daughter.
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THE LOST BATTLES by Jonathan Jones
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My Life in 8 Words
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. I came, I saw, I stayed to look
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Freshly made Pesto a la Genovese on spaghetti
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I've made a New Year's resolution to stop saying "fantastic".
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. It would be Leonardo da Vinci and I would tell him his science is still admired five centuries after his lifetime. He would know his art lives on - but he would be delighted to hear that his inventions also survive.
April 09, 2010Looking at Leonardo da Vinci's drawings in the new exhibition Italian Renaissance Drawings, at the British Museum from 22nd April, is like peering through magic windows into one of the greatest minds that ever existed. I got a sneek preview of these sketches, raising protective paper to look at them under the blue dome of the museum's Reading Room where the show is being installed, and there could be no nicer way to celebrate the publication of my book The Lost Battles than such a close encounter with Leonardo's imagination. In his study for The Adoration of the Magi, this master of every Renaissance method uses the still-new invention of... see more
March 23, 2010It's spring at last, and even in the modern industrial world, our hearts leap in time with nature. The intensity of this year's cold and harsh winter makes the promise of flowers and new buds all the more welcome - and this might make us think for a minute about what it was to live in a medieval world where everything - food or famine - depended on the seasons. In researching the world of fifteenth and sixteenth century Florence for my book The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance, I discovered how intensely this culture cherished spring. It was the season of love, the time of courtship: some of the... see more
March 08, 2010There's a Monty Python sketch in which a fawning television presenter addresses a celebrity as "more a god than a man". That might seem an attitude to fame that is very much of modern times. Ever since Andy Warhol made his silkscreen paintings of Marilyn and Elvis in the 1960s we have become ever more fixated on stars and celebrities and we tend to think - often in a pessimistic and critical frame of mind - this is something unique to our age. But consider the case of Michelangelo, the great sixteenth century artist whose rise to fame is chronicled in my forthcoming book The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined... see more
February 08, 2010You may have seen a news story recently about a proposal to exhume the body of Leonardo da Vinci. It is hard to imagine this ever being allowed, partly because - at least according to reports - the scientists involved think they can find out if the Mona Lisa is really a self-portrait. This is such a daft idea that it surely undermines their claim to be trusted with such a weighty task. And yet, there are things you could learn from Leonardo's skeleton. His sixteenth century biographers claimed he was handsome and athletic as well as brilliant. Could his bones confirm if he had a great body to house his great mind? In my book The Lost Battles, published... see more
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