History Books

Alamy

Leonardo and the Last Supper: An Excerpt

The more I read of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, the more engagingly human and sympathetic he became. It's easy for us to imagine him as someone for whom success came easily, someone whose obvious talents meant he never tasted defeat or disappointment. But things didn't exactly work out that way for him. I was surprised to see him touting for prestigious commissions that he failed to land. Yes, Leonardo got turned down for a job. Somewhere in Piacenza a hiring committee got together, sifted through the hopeful applicants, and ended up tossing Leonardo's application in the rubbish bin.