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 Last Supper-l | Bacchus (mk05) | Saint John the Baptist | The Virgin and Child with Anne (mk05) |
Related Artists:Mitchell Ken
about 1752-1845George Willison
Portrait painter who was born in Edinburgh in 1741 and returned there to spend his retirement.
He was a pupil of Mengs in Rome, before Mengs left for Madrid in 1761.
He painted "Boswell" in Rome in 1765 which is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Willison was in London from 1767 and exhibited at the Scottish Academy between 1767 - 1770, and at the Royal Academy in 1771 and 1772.
He left London for an opulent retirement in Edinburgh around 1784.
Flemish Baroque Era Painter ,
b. 1573, Antwerpen, d. 1647, Antwerpen
Antwerpen,was a Flemish Baroque painter and etcher of the Antwerp school. He was an apprentice in the workshop of Adam van Noort, who also trained many illustrious painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Hendrik van Balen. He also visited the workshop of the Antwerp painter Paul Bril in Rome around 1600. He was esteemed as one of the main painters of battle scenes, and works by Vrancx were in the collection of Peter Paul Rubens. As a collaborator he worked at times with Jan Brueghel the Elder. and together with Rubens, Frans Francken the Younger, van Balen, Frans Snyders and Joos de Momper the Younger on the Allegory of the Senses, two works commissioned on the occasion of the archduke Albert of Austria's visit to Antwerp. His best-known student is Pieter Snayers. Most of his pictures represent biblical scenes or scenes of war, such as the sack of towns, cavalry combats, genre paintings and allegorical subjects. Though occasionally vigorous in drawing, his paintings are dull and heavy in tone. He was at the same time a writer of poetry, comedies and tragicomedies for the chamber of rhetoric De Violieren. He was served as dean of the Antwerp painters' Guild of St. Luke, and was a district head and captain of the militia. His works can be found in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp,