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 :. | Virgin of the Rocks (mk10) | The Battle of Anghiari | The Virgin of the Rocks | Regisol | Christ's Head |
Related Artists:BASSA, Arnaldo
(c. 1350-1400)Gaspard Dughet
French Gaspard Dughet Location
Italian painter. He was one of the most distinguished landscape painters working in Rome in the 17th century, painting decorative frescoes and many easel paintings for such major Roman patrons as Pope Innocent X and the Colonna family. He is associated with a new genre of landscape, the storm scene, although of some 400 catalogued works little more than 30 treat this theme. His most characteristic works depict the beauty of the scenery around Rome, particularly near Tivoli, and suggest the shifting patterns of light and shade across a rugged terrain. Dughet drew from nature, yet his landscapes are carefully structured, and figures in antique dress suggest the ancient beauty of a landscape celebrated by Virgil. Very few can be securely dated; his development may be inferred from his few dated fresco paintings and from the wider context in which he was working. Most writers, following Pascoli, have divided Dughet career into three periods. His first landscapes were a little dry (Pascoli); in his second period he developed a more learned style, closer to that of his teacher, Nicolas Poussin; his late works were more intimate and more original.
Italian Baroque Era Painter, ca.1616-1656
Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the most individual and most poetic painter active in Naples during the first half of the 17th century. He painted mainly small cabinet pictures, on canvas or on copper, for dealers and for highly cultivated private patrons; he had few public commissions and apparently never painted any large-scale decorations for private or ecclesiastical patrons. His subject-matter is largely derived from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha, Tasso and from Roman history and mythology. Documentary evidence for his life and work is almost non-existent, and he remains enigmatic and elusive as a historical figure. Yet as a painter he is strikingly distinctive, uniting a refinement and virtuosity of brushwork with an intensely naturalistic observation of surfaces, and complex and dramatic compositions with an extraordinary brilliance of palette. Only eight pictures are signed, initialled or inscribed with Cavallino's name. No works are documented and only five may be tentatively identified with pictures in mid-18th-century Neapolitan collections described by Bernardo de Dominici.