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 | The Baptism of Christ | Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci | The Annunciation | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry |
Related Artists:Pierre Edouard Frere
(1819-1886), French painter, studied under Hippolyte Delaroche, entered the cole des Beaux-Arts in 1836 and exhibited first at the Salon in 1843. The marked sentimental tendency of his art makes us wonder at John Ruskin's enthusiastic eulogy which finds in Frere's work the depth of William Wordsworth, the grace of Joshua Reynolds, and the holiness of Fra Angelico. What we can admire in his work is his accomplished craftsmanship and the intimacy and tender homeliness of his conception. Among his chief works are the two paintings, Going to School and Coming from School, The Little Glutton (his first exhibited picture) and L'Exercice (in the 19th century this work was in John Jacob Astor's collection). A journey to Egypt in 1860 resulted in a small series of Orientalist subjects, but the majority of Frere's paintings deal with the life of the kitchen, the workshop, the dwellings of the humble, and mainly with the pleasures and little troubles of the young, which the artist brings before us with humor and sympathy. He was one of the most popular painters of domestic genre in the middle of the 19th century.Pontormo
Italian Mannerist Painter, 1494-ca.1556
Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the leading painter in mid-16th-century Florence and one of the most original and extraordinary of Mannerist artists. His eccentric personality, solitary and slow working habits and capricious attitude towards his patrons are described by Vasari; his own diary, which covers the years 1554-6, further reveals a character with neurotic and secretive aspects. Pontormo enjoyed the protection of the Medici family throughout his career but, unlike Agnolo Bronzino and Giorgio Vasari, did not become court painter. His subjective portrait style did not lend itself to the state portrait. He produced few mythological works and after 1540 devoted himself almost exclusively to religious subjects. His drawings, mainly figure studies in red and black chalk, are among the highest expressions of the great Florentine tradition of draughtsmanship; close to 400 survive, forming arguably the most important body of drawings by a Mannerist painter. Paul Troger
Austrian Painter, 1698-1762
was an Austrian painter, draughtsman and printmaker of the late Baroque period. Troger's illusionistic ceiling paintings in fresco are notable for their dramatic vitality of movement and their palette of light colors. Paul Troger??s style, particularly in his frescoes, dominated Austrian painting until the end of the 18th century and profoundly influenced significant artists of the next generation, notably Franz Anton Maulbertsch, Josef Ignaz Mildorfer, Johann Wenzel Bergl. Paul Troger was born on October 30, 1698, in Welsberg, in the Puster Valley of Tyrol (now Bolzano-Bozen, Italy). At the age of 16, under the patronage of the aristocratic Tyrolean von Firmian family, he visited Fiume and became a pupil of Giuseppe Alberti. He painted his first fresco ??Three Angels with the Cross and Putti??, in the Chiesa del Calvario, Kaltern am See/Caldaro al Lago, Bolzano, Italy (1722). In 1722, the prince-bishop of Gurk sent Paul Troger to Venice, where he discovered the works of Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, and Giovanni Battista Pittoni. Troger also studied in Rome with Sebastiano Ricci, in Naples with Francesco Solimena and in Bologna, the leading artistic centers of Italy at the time. On his return to Austria, Troger first worked in Salzburg from 1726 to 1728, where he painted the "Glory of Saint Cajetan" on the ceiling of St. Cajetan??s Church, Salzburg (1728). He afterwards established himself in Vienna, where the art of ceiling frescoes was, however, dominated by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Daniel Gran. Paul Troger became the favourite fresco painter in Lower Austrian monasteries in collaboration with the architect Josef Munggenast. In 1753, he joined the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.