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Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius

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Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius by Fritjof Capra
English | 2013 | ISBN: 1609949897 | 384 pages | EPUB | 19 MB

Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius
eonardo da Vinci was a brilliant artist, scientist, engineer, mathematician, architect, inventor, writer, and even musician—the archetypal Renaissance man. But he was also, Fritjof Capra argues, a profoundly modern man. Not only did Leonardo invent the empirical scientific method over a century before Galileo and Francis Bacon, but Capra's decade-long study of Leonardo's fabled notebooks reveal him as a systems thinker centuries before the term was coined. He believed the key to truly understanding the world was in perceiving the connections between phenomena and the larger patterns formed by those relationships. This is precisely the kind of holistic approach the complex problems we face today demand. Capra describes seven defining characteristics of Leonardo da Vinci's genius and includes a list of over forty discoveries Leonardo made that weren't rediscovered until centuries later. Leonardo pioneered entire fields—fluid dynamics, theoretical botany, aerodynamics, embryology. Capra's overview of Leonardo's thought follows the organizational scheme Leonardo himself intended to use if he ever published his notebooks. So in a sense, this is Leonardo's science as he himself would have presented it. Leonardo da Vinci saw the world as a dynamic, integrated whole, so he always applied concepts from one area to illuminate problems in another. For example, his studies of the movement of water informed his ideas about how landscapes are shaped, how sap rises in plants, how air moves over a bird's wing, and how blood flows in the human body. His observations of nature enhanced his art, his drawings were integral to his scientific studies, and he brought art and science together in his extraordinarily beautiful and elegant mechanical and architectural designs. Obviously, we can't all be geniuses on the scale of Leonardo da Vinci. But by exploring the mind of the preeminent Renaissance genius, we can gain profound insights into how best to address the challenges of the 21st century.
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Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film

Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film by Robert Sitton
2014 | ISBN: 0231165781 | English | 496 Pages | EPUB | 9 MB
Iris Barry (1895–1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures, including Ford Maddox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Arthur Waley, Edith Sitwell, and William Butler Yeats. She fell in love with Pound's eccentric fellow Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis, and had two children by him.

In London, Barry pursued a career as a novelist, biographer, and critic of motion pictures. In America, she joined the modernist Askew Salon, where she met Alfred Barr, director of the new Museum of Modern Art. There she founded the museum's film department and became its first curator, assuring film's critical legitimacy. She convinced powerful Hollywood figures to submit their work for exhibition, creating a new respect for film and prompting the founding of the International Federation of Film Archives.

Barry continued to augment MoMA's film library until World War II, when she joined the Office of Strategic Services to develop pro-American films with Orson Welles, Walt Disney, John Huston, and Frank Capra. Yet despite her patriotic efforts, Barry's "foreignness" and association with such filmmakers as Luis Buuel made her the target of an anticommunist witch hunt. She eventually left for France and died in obscurity. Drawing on letters, memorabilia, and other documentary sources, Robert Sitton reconstructs Barry's phenomenal life and work while recasting the political involvement of artistic institutions in the twentieth century.

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