NEW YORK (March 1, 2019) — To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death on May 2, 2019, Apollo Publishers will release a groundbreaking new study that lifts the veil on an enduring mystery: how did Leonardo, a painter of few works who died in obscurity in France while overshadowed by his rivals Michelangelo and Raphael, become the star icon that he is today? What propelled the incredible arc of his unlikely fame to make him the highest-selling artist today, while Salvator Mundi sold for nearly half a billion dollars?

The answer is provided by The Da Vinci Legacy, an illustrated color hardcover written by Leonardo experts, Professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts and art connoisseur, Dr. Christopher Brown. To unravel this mystery, the authors canvassed a vast array of sources, including the explosion of copper engravings in the 16th century, the rapid distribution of illustrated books during the Enlightenment, the “discovery” of Leonardo’s notebooks in the 19th century and the shift from Italy to France as the fulcrum of European art. As such, they are among the first to trace the incredible popularity of two of Leonardo’s works, the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, which were copied throughout Europe, though for different reasons.

“Were it not for nascent mass media, it is unlikely that many of us would know about Leonardo today,” said Dr. Isbouts.

Bookended by a minute-by-minute account of the sale of the Salvator Mundi in November of 2017, the authors trace the astonishing trajectory of Leonardo’s mystique through 19th century photography and 20th century Surrealism, up to the silkscreen canvases of Andy Warhol.

The release of the book will coincide with the broadcast of The Search for the Mona Lisa, a dramatized documentary produced by Pantheon Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., which optioned the rights to The Da Vinci Legacy. Scheduled for broadcast on Public Television in May of 2019, the film was shot on location in Italy and France with more than 60 actors and extras, including renowned Italian actor Alessandro Demcenko as Leonardo da Vinci. Pantheon Studios previously produced the feature-length documentary Walt: The Man Behind the Myth, the official biography of Walt Disney, now streaming on Netflix.

“The Da Vinci Legacy”

By Jean-Pierre Isbouts, Ph.D. and Christopher Heath Brown, MD

ISBN: 978-1948062-34-3 (print); 978-1-948062-30-5 (electronic)
Available April 2019 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press

About the authors:

Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a humanities scholar, bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, specializing in European history, the culture of the Near East and Renaissance art. A doctoral professor at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., he gained worldwide renown with his 2006 book, The Biblical World, which became an international bestseller and is now in its fourth print. This success led to a series of National Geographic books, including the bestsellers In the Footsteps of Jesus (2011) and The Story of Christianity (2014). Dr. Christopher Brown is the director of Brown Discoveries, LLC in North Carolina, devoted to studies of Renaissance art. The duo also has worked on The Mona Lisa Myth, 2013 and Young Leonardo, 2017. For media inquiries, including the complete EPK, please contact LAVIDGE, (480) 998-2600 or