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 :. | St John the Baptist t | Reverse side of the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci | Female head (La Scapigliata) wt | Portrait de femme,dit a tort La belle ferronniere | Small devotional picture by Verrocchio |
Related Artists:FERNANDES, Vasco
Portuguese painter (active 1500-1542 in Viseu)
Portuguese painter. He was the leading painter of northern Portugal during the first half of the 16th century, and it is probable that he received his training abroad. Fernandes is the best-documented Portuguese artist of the period; there are nearly 100 works attributed to him, some of which are securely documented and record his activity either alone or in collaboration with the Viseu painter GASPAR VAZ. Fernandes's most important work was carried out in Lamego and in Viseu, where the term Gr?o ('Great') used in praise of him is first recorded (Ribeiro Botelho Pereira). In 1753 the Director of the Dresden Gallery, Pietro Guarienti, first used the epithet when he referred to Fernandes by the name of Gran Vasco. The many myths about the painter and his work developed from this date and were not clarified until 1846REIJSSCHOOT, Pieter Jan van
b. 1702, Ghent, d. 1772, Ghent
Jan van der Heyden
Jan Van Der Heyden Gallery
Van der Heyden grew up in Gorcum, but the family moved to Amsterdam around 1650. They lived on Dam Square. As a young guy he witnessed the fire in the old townhall which made a deep impression on him. He later would describe or draw 80 fires in almost any neighborhood of Amsterdam. When he married in 1661 the family was living on Herengracht, the most fashionable canal in Amsterdam. In 1668 Cosimo II de' Medici bought one of his paintings, a view of the townhall with a manipulated perspective. Van der Heyden often painted country estates, like Goudestein, owned by Joan Huydecoper II. He was not good in drawing figures and used for his paintings a metal plate for bricks, a sponge or moss for the leaves. Johannes Lingelbach, Adriaen van de Velde und Eglon van der Neer assisted him drawing the figures. Jan van der Heyden also introduced the lamp post and in 1672 impoved the design of the fire engine. He died in wealth as the superintendent of the lighting and director of the (voluntary) firemen's guild at Amsterdam.
Van der Heyden was a contemporary of the landscape painters Hobbema and Jacob van Ruisdael, with the advantage, which they lacked, of a certain professional versatility; for, whilst they painted admirable pictures and starved, he varied the practice of art with the study of mechanics. Until 1672 he painted in partnership with Adriaen van de Velde. After Adrian's death, and probably because of the loss which that event entailed upon him, he accepted the offices to which allusion has just been made. At no period of artistic activity had the system of division of labour been more fully or more constantly applied to art than it was in Holland towards the close of the 17th century.
Van der Heyden, who was perfect as an architectural draughtsman insofar as he painted the outside of buildings and thoroughly mastered linear perspective, seldom turned his hand to the delineation of anything but brick houses and churches in streets and squares, or rows along canals, or "moated granges," common in his native country.
He was a travelled man, had seen The Hague, Ghent and Brussels, and had ascended the Rhine past Xanten to Cologne, where he copied over and over again the tower and crane of the great cathedral. But he cared nothing for hill or vale, or stream or wood. He could reproduce the rows of bricks in a square of Dutch houses sparkling in the sun, or stunted trees and lines of dwellings varied by steeples, all in light or thrown into passing shadow by moving cloud.
He had the art of painting microscopically without loss of breadth or keeping. But he could draw neither man nor beast, nor ships nor carts; and this was his disadvantage. His good genius under these circumstances was Adrian van der Velde, who enlivened his compositions with spirited figures; and the joint labour of both is a delicate, minute, transparent work, radiant with glow and atmosphere.