LEONARDO da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
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 :. | Madonna with the Yarnwinder (detail) dft | The Annunciation | Saint jean-Baptiste | Study fur the adoration of the Konige | The Virgin and Child with St Anne |
Related Artists:William Henry Shelton
A nineteenth century painter, etcher and illustrator.
American , 1840-1932
John Brett (1831-1902) was an artist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement (although is not considered to be a Pre-Raphaelite painter himself), mainly notable for his highly detailed landscapes. Brett was born near Reigate on 8 December 1831, the son of an army vet. In 1851 he began lessons in art with James Duffield Harding, a landscape painter. He also studied with Richard Redgrave. In 1853 he entered the Royal Academy schools, but was more interested in the ideas of John Ruskin and William Holman Hunt, whom he met through his friend the poet Coventry Patmore. Inspired by Hunt's ideal of scientific landscape painting Brett visited Switzerland, where he worked on topographical landscapes and came under the further influence of John William Inchbold.
(1612/15 - 1676) worked in a Baroque manner in his native Siena and in Rome, finding patronage above all in the Chigi family.
Briefly a pupil of the Sienese draughtsman and cartographer Giuliano Periccioli, where he learned the art of engraving, Bernardino passed to the studio of the painter Rutilio Manetti and probably also served in the workshop of Francesco Rustici.
He painted in and around Siena, where his work came to the attention of Cardinal Fabio Chigi, who, once elected pope as Alexander VII (1655), called Bernardino Mei to Rome in 1657. There Bernardino came under the influences of Mattia Preti, Andrea Sacchi and Pier Francesco Mola, and of Guercino, to the extent that until the 20th century Bernardino's fresco of Aurora in Palazzo Bianchi Bandinelli was attributed to Guercino himself. Through the fast friendship that bonded him to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose studio he frequented, he applied that sculptor's sense of theatrical action to his own mythological and allegorical subjects. He died in Rome in 1676.