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 :. | Jacopo Bellini | Waiter flat anatomy of the shoulder | Mona Lisa | The Adoration of the Magi | Mona Lisa (mk08) |
Related Artists:Henri Rouart
France (1833 -1912 ) - Painter
Braccesco, Carlo di
Italian, active 1478-1501George Knapton
George Knapton (1698-1778) was an English portrait painter and the first portraitist for the Society of Dilettanti in the 1740s. He became Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures from 1765-1778.
Knapton was born in London, the son of James Knapton, a Bookseller of Ludgate street. He studied art under Jonathan Richardson, then at the St. Martin's Lane Academy. He spent some years in Italy where he became known as a sound judge of the works of the "Old Masters". An account of his vist to Herculaneum was published in the "Philosophical Transactions" of 1740 (no. 458).
Knapton was an original member of the "Society of Dilettanti" and their first portrait artist. He painted many members of the society - mostly in fancy dress - including the Duke of Dorset, Viscount Galway, Sir Francis Dashwood, the Earl of Holdernesse, Earl of Bessborough and Sir Bourchier Wray. Knapton resigned his position at the society in 1763.
In 1750, the then Prince of Wales commissioned Knapton, together with George Vertue, to produce a catalogue of the pictures at Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and Windsor castle. In 1765, he succeeded Stephen Slaughter as Surveyor and Keeper of the King's Pictures; he was also in charge of Lord Spencer's collection at Althorp, Northamptonshire.
The Family of Frederick, Prince of Wales (1751)Knapton's largest painting was that of the widowed Princess of Wales and her family (1751). He also painted portraits of the Earl of Upper Ossory (with his brother and sister), the Earl of Burlington, Admiral Sir John Norris, Francis, Fifth Duke of Leeds, Admiral George Vandeput, Archibald Bower, Nicolas Tindal, Hildebrand Jacob, Admiral Edward Hawke, and the singers Carestini and Lisabetta du Parc.
Kanpton assisted his brothers, John and Paul - who had succeeded to and extended their father's business - in the production of several publications including works by Thomas Birch and "The History of England" by Nicolas Tindal and Paul de Rapin.
Knapton died in Kensington in December 1778 and was buried there on the 28th of that same month.