Leonardo Da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
Florentine Renaissance man, genius, artist in all media, architect, military engineer. Possibly the most brilliantly creative man in European history, he advertised himself, first of all, as a military engineer. In a famous letter dated about 1481 to Ludovico Sforza, of which a copy survives in the Codice Atlantico in Milan, Leonardo asks for employment in that capacity. He had plans for bridges, very light and strong, and plans for destroying those of the enemy. He knew how to cut off water to besieged fortifications, and how to construct bridges, mantlets, scaling ladders, and other instruments. He designed cannon, very convenient and easy of transport, designed to fire small stones, almost in the manner of hail??grape- or case-shot (see ammunition, artillery). He offered cannon of very beautiful and useful shapes, quite different from those in common use and, where it is not possible to employ cannon ?? catapults, mangonels and trabocchi and other engines of wonderful efficacy not in general use. And he said he made armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the serried ranks of the enemy with their artillery ?? and behind them the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed, and without any opposition. He also offered to design ships which can resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon, and powder and smoke.
The large number of surviving drawings and notes on military art show that Leonardo claims were not without foundation, although most date from after the Sforza letter. Most of the drawings, including giant crossbows (see bows), appear to be improvements on existing machines rather than new inventions. One exception is the drawing of a tank dating from 1485-8 now in the British Museum??a flattened cone, propelled from inside by crankshafts, firing guns. Another design in the British Museum, for a machine with scythes revolving in the horizontal plane, dismembering bodies as it goes, is gruesomely fanciful.
Most of the other drawings are in the Codice Atlantico in Milan but some are in the Royal Libraries at Windsor and Turin, in Venice, or the Louvre and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Two ingenious machines for continuously firing arrows, machine-gun style, powered by a treadmill are shown in the Codice Atlantico. A number of other sketches of bridges, water pumps, and canals could be for military or civil purposes: dual use technology.
Leonardo lived at a time when the first artillery fortifications were appearing and the Codice Atlantico contains sketches of ingenious fortifications combining bastions, round towers, and truncated cones. Models constructed from the drawings and photographed in Calvi works reveal forts which would have looked strikingly modern in the 19th century, and might even feature in science fiction films today. On 18 August 1502 Cesare Borgia appointed Leonardo as his Military Engineer General, although no known building by Leonardo exists.
Leonardo was also fascinated by flight. Thirteen pages with drawings for man-powered aeroplanes survive and there is one design for a helicoidal helicopter. Leonardo later realized the inadequacy of the power a man could generate and turned his attention to aerofoils. Had his enormous abilities been concentrated on one thing, he might have invented the modern glider. Related Paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci :. | Mona lisa | The Virgin of the Rocks | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | The Annunciation-o | Horses with horsemen |
Related Artists:Paul Buffet
French, 1864-1941Semyon Shchedrin
(1745-1804) was a Russian landscape painter, the uncle and mentor of Sylvester Shchedrin.
He was born in St. Petersburg into the family of a life guard. In 1759, he entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, and in 1765 graduated with a gold medal and grants to study abroad. Shchedrin ventured to Paris, then to Rome. In Paris he studied the works of old and contemporary painters. Under the influence of Rousseau's idea that beauty exists not only in classic patterns of arts but also in everyday life and nature, Shchedrin worked much en plein-air, otherwise known as painting in outdoor environments. In Rome, however, he fell under the influence of classicism, the idea that art should reflect the works of antiquity and thus prolong their successes.
Shchedrin returned to St. Petersburg in 1776 and became a professor of landscape painting in the Academy of Arts. He was assigned to draw views of the palaces and parks of Catherine the Great, which brought into existence such works as View of the Large Pond Island in the Tsarskoselsky Gardens (1777), View of the Large Pond in the Tsarskoselsky Gardens (1777), View of the Farmyard in the Tsarskoye Selo (1777). After 1780, Shchedrin also participated in the restoration of pictures in the Hermitage, and in 1799 he headed a new class of landscape graphics.
The pinnacle of his art career came in the 1790s. The most famous of his works of the period are views of parks and palaces in Pavlovsk, Gatchina, and Petergof: The Mill and the Peel Tower at Pavlovsk (1792), View of the Gatchina Palace from the Silver Lake (1798), View of the Gatchina Palace from Long Island (1798), The Stone Bridge at Gatchina (1799-1801), View of the Kamennoostrovsky Palace through Bolshaya Nevka from the Stroganov Seashore (1803). The composition of all of his works is the same in accordance with the rules of academic classicism.