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 :. | Lady with Ermine | A full-scale composition of the Virgin and Child with St Anne and the infant St John the Baptist | Drawing of an Infant | Madonna in the cave | Madonna with the Yarnwinder tw |
Related Artists:Sienese school
The Sienese School of painting flourished in Siena, Italy between the 13th and 15th centuries and for a time rivaled Florence, though it was more conservative, being inclined towards the decorative beauty and elegant grace of late Gothic art. Its most important representatives include Duccio, whose work shows Byzantine influence; his pupil Simone Martini; Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti; Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo; Sassetta and Matteo di Giovanni. Unlike the naturalistic Florentine art, there is a mystical streak in Sienese art, characterized by a common focus on miraculous events, with less attention to proportions, distortions of time and place, and often dreamlike coloration. In the 16th century the Mannerists Beccafumi and Il Sodoma worked there. While Baldassare Peruzzi was born and trained in Siena, his major works and style reflect his long career in Rome. The economic and political decline of Siena by the 16th century, and its eventual subjugation by Florence, largely checked the development of Sienese painting, although it also meant that a good proportion of Sienese works in churches and public buildings were not discarded or destroyed by new paintings or rebuilding. Siena remains a remarkably well-preserved Italian late-Medieval town.
William Frederick Yeames,RA
English painter. The son of a British consul in Russia, Yeames was sent to school in Dresden after the death of his father in 1842. He also studied painting there. The collapse of the Yeames family fortune resulted in a move to London in 1848, where Yeames learnt anatomy and composition from George Scharf (1788-1860). He later took lessons from F. A. Westmacott. In 1852 he continued his artistic education in Florence under Enrico Pollastrini and Raphael Buonajuto, from whom he learnt the methods of the Old Masters. He drew from frescoes by Ghirlandaio, Gozzoli and Andrea del Sarto and painted in the Life School at the Grand Ducal Academy. He then went to Rome and made landscape studies and copied Old Masters, including Raphael's frescoes in the Vatican. His extensive study of Italian art gave him a precision and facility that assisted his artistic success upon his return to London in 1859. There he set up a studio in Park Place and became involved with the ST JOHN'S WOOD CLIQUE. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution from 1859 and became an ARA in 1866. Jean-Francois Portaels
(3 April 1818 - 8 February 1895) was a Belgian orientalist painter and director of the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
Portaels was born in Vilvoorde. His father, a rich brewer, sent him to study at the Royal Academy, whose director, François Navez, took him on soon after in his own workshop. About 1841 Portaels went to Paris, where he was well received by Paul Delaroche.
The Rose VendorAfter his return to Belgium, he won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1842. He then travelled through Italy, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, the Lebanon, Judaea, Spain, Hungary and Norway. On his return to Belgium in 1847 Portaels succeeded H. Vanderhaert as Director of the Academy in Ghent. In 1849 he married the daughter of his first teacher, Navez, and in 1850 he settled in Brussels; but when he did not get the post of director of the Brussels academy, and wished, nevertheless, to carry on teaching as his father-in-law had done, he opened a private studio-school, which became one of great significance in the development of Belgian art. Once more he went on his travels, spending time in Morocco; he returned to Brussels in 1874, and in 1878 became Director of the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts which had so long been the object of his ambition. He died in Schaerbeek.