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 :. | Bacchus | Studies for a Nativity | Christ's Head | Virgin and Child with St Anne | Portrait of a Lady at the Court of Milan (san05) |
Related Artists:Joachim von Sandrart
(12 May 1606 - 14 October 1688) was a German Baroque art-historian and painter, active in Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age.
Sandrart was born in Frankfurt, but the family originated from Mons. According to Houbraken (who used his Teutsche Akademie as a primary source), he learned to read and write from the son of Theodor de Bry, Johann Theodoor de Brie and his associate Matthäus Merian, but at age 15 was so eager to learn more of the art of engraving, that he walked from Frankfurt to Prague to become a pupil of Gillis Sadelaar (also known as Aegidius Sadeler of the Sadeler family). Sadelaar in turn urged him to paint, whereupon he travelled to Utrecht in 1625 to become a pupil of Gerrit van Honthorst, and through him he met Rubens when he brought a visit to Honthorst in 1627, to recruit him for collaboration on part of his Marie de' Medici cycle. Honthorst took Sandrart along with him when he travelled to London. There he worked with Honthorst and spent time making copies of Holbein portraits for the portrait gallery of Henry Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel.
Making all of those copies only served to arouse more curiosity in the young adventurer, and in 1627 Sandrart booked a passage on a ship from London to Venice, where he was welcomed by Jan Lis (whose Bentvueghels bent name was "Pan"), and Nicolaas Ringnerus. He then set out for Bologna, where he was met by his cousin on his father's side Michael le Blond, a celebrated engraver. With him, he crossed the mountains to Florence, and from there on to Rome, where they met Pieter van Laer (whose bent name was "Bamboccio"). Sandrart became famous as a portrait-painter. After a few years he undertook a tour of Italy, traveling to Naples, where he drew studies of Mount Vesuvius, believed to be the entrance to the Elysian fields described by Virgil. From there he traveled to Malta and beyond, searching for literary sights to see and paint, and wherever he went he paid his way by selling portraits. Only when he was done traveling did he finally return to Frankfurt, where he married Johanna de Milkau.
Afraid of political unrest and plague, he moved to Amsterdam with his wife in 1637.
DUPLESSIS, Joseph Siffrein
French Painter, 1725-1802Alexander Ignatius Roche
painted Italian Peasant Girl in 1861-1921