Leonardo's Swans

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Leonardo's Swans
Leonardos swans cover.jpg
First Edition Book Cover, Doubleday
Author Karen Essex
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
January 9, 2006
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 358 pp
ISBN 0-385-51706-8
OCLC 60414415
813/.54 22
LC Class PS3555.S682 L46 2006

Leonardo’s Swans is an international bestseller[citation needed] by Karen Essex, published by Doubleday in 2006. The novel tells the story of the rivalry between the powerful Este sisters, Beatrice and Isabella, princesses of the House of Ferrara, as they competed for the attentions of both the Duke of Milan and Leonardo da Vinci when the artist was court painter in the High Renaissance. Also included are excerpts from Leonardo’s own journals and letters, which reflect the contents of each chapter. The Washington Post praised Essex’ portrayal of Leonardo. “Leonardo's character is one of the great surprises of this book, and in portraying him the author never seems to engage in post-Dan Brown opportunism. The reader may be constantly reminded of Leonardo's genius, but he is an understated figure, a brilliant but disorganized mind whose twitchy intelligence makes him interested in starting countless projects but able to finish few. One of the pleasures of reading this book is learning the secret history behind paintings like "The Last Supper" and "The Virgin of the Rocks."[1]

The novel was widely read and acclaimed in Italy[citation needed] and won the Premio Roma for Foreign Fiction in 2007.[citation needed] It is published in twenty-five languages.[2]


  1. ^ The Washington Post, March 12, 2006, Page BW05.
  2. ^ Author website, KarenEssex.com

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