I, Leonardo*


Author: Ralph Steadman


Illustrator: Ralph Steadman



STEADMAN, Ralph. I, Leonardo. London: Jonathan Cape [1983]. Oblong 4o, [128]pp. Green boards with spine stamped in gold. Gray endpapers; b&w and color illustrations on every page. Spine ends and lower edge a tad rubbed, else a tight, clean copy in original color pictorial dust jacket (light creasing around edges and very small portion of jacket’s lamination peeling off at top of front panel near spine). With a bookplate signed by the author/artist, Ralph Steadman, laid in.

First edition. When Ralph Steadman started to paint Leonardo da Vinci's inventions, his drawings started taking a life of their own. Soon the inventor himself showed his face and began to demonstrate. Leonardo began to tell his own story, inventing things, of course, as he went along: outrageous things, wonderful things. The tableaux were flooded by the whole boisterous, miraculous vision of it all, but with a deluge of apocalyptic nightmares as well: with disappointment and self-doubt alongside exuberant achievement. Whatever it is that happened, however it happened when Ralph Steadman pursued his obsession with Leonardo da Vinci, the result is raucous, anarchic, exquisite, and moving. And, as is likely when genius meets genius – a triumph!