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 :. | The Last Supper | Study of a child | The Virgin of the Rocks | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | The Madonna of the Carnation |
Related Artists:CECCO DEL CARAVAGGIO
Italian Baroque Era Painter, active ca.1610-1620
Painter active in Italy. His nationality is not known. He was a follower of Caravaggio, and his rare works reveal a highly original and idiosyncratic response to that artist's naturalism. Agostino Tassi mentioned him as involved, with several French artists, in the decoration of the Villa Lante at Bagnaia between 1613 and 1615,Christian Rohlfs
German Painter, 1849-1938
German painter and printmaker. He studied painting at the Kunstschule in Weimar (1870). Prolonged illness forced him to interrupt his studies, which he resumed in 1874 under Ferdinand Schauss (1832-1916) and Alexandre Struys (1852-1941). Through visits to Paris in the 1870s, he came into contact with the art of the Barbizon school, painting en plein-air on his return to Weimar. Under the influence of Struys he painted figurative works, such as Roman Builders (1879; Menster, Westfel. Landesmus.), and nudes in the tradition of academically enlightened Realism. In 1881 Rohlfs worked in a studio under Max Thedy (1858-1924). From c. 1883 he painted mainly landscapes with the approval of Ludwig von Gleichen-Russwurm (1836-1901), who was studying with Theodor Hagen (1842-1919), and was influenced in an indirect way by Albert Brendel (1827-95), who had taught at Weimar from 1875. He often chose formats that were unusually large for landscape paintings in this period, presenting landscape in a similar way to history painting. Atmosphere and light played an important role even in these early pictures, for example Sawmill at Ehringsdorf on the Ilm (930x780 mm, 1883; Weimar, Schlossmus.). From 1884 he worked as an independent painter. After 1885 colour became increasingly important for its own sake; light and shade were suggested purely by colour, which was applied in impasto spots and brushstrokes to create chiaroscuro values that determined the form, for example Wild Garden near Weimar (1888; Weimar, Schlossmus.). By the end of the 1880s he had developed an independent style parallel to Impressionist painting. When he saw works by Monet exhibited in Weimar in 1897, these corroborated his own efforts.ARALDI, Alessandro
Italian Painter, ca.1460-1530
He apparently assisted with contemporary Cristoforo Caselli (il Temperello). His work shows the influences of early Venetian Renaissance painters such as Giovanni Bellini and Vivarini, but also Lorenzo Costa from Ferrara. He painted frescoes in the Benedictine monastery of San Paolo. He also painted two scenes with the story of St. Catherine, the Dispute before the emperor Maximilian and St. Catherine and St. Jerome, including an odd Annunciation (1514), for the abbess Giovanna da Piacenza (1514). Antonio Allegri (Correggio) would complete his own masterpiece frescoes for the abbess in a strikingly different, and for the age, more modern, style.