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 :. | Study fur a women head | Female head (La Scapigliata) wt | Madonna in the rock grottos | Equestrian monument | The Annunciation |
Related Artists:HELST, Bartholomeus van der
Dutch Baroque Era Painter, 1613-1670
Dutch painter. He was the son of a Haarlem inn-keeper and presumably undertook part or all of his training in Amsterdam. His earliest works suggest that the painter Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy was his master. Although van der Helst had probably already established himself as an independent master by the time he married Anna du Pire in Amsterdam in 1636, his earliest known work, a portrait of The Regents of the Walloon Orphanage, Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Maison Descartes), dates from 1637. Stylistically it is close to the work of Pickenoy. His portrait of a Protestant Minister of 1638 (Rotterdam, Boymans-van Beuningen) reveals the influence of Rembrandt. The young artist must have risen rapidly to fame in Amsterdam, for as early as 1639 he received the prestigious commission for a large painting for the Kloveniersdoelen (Arquebusiers' or Musketeers' Hall): The Civic Guard Company of Capt. Roelof Bicker and Lt Jan Michielsz. Blaeuw (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), which formed part of the same series as Rembrandt's 'Night Watch' (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). Van der Helst may not have completed this commission until 1642 or 1643. The ingenious arrangement of the figures in a broad composition shows the artist's special talent for composing large groups. Pickenoy's influence is less noticeable here than in the portrait of 1637; the self-assured poses of the individual figures were to become a characteristic feature of van der Helst's work. The successful execution of this portrait established van der Helst's reputation: from 1642, when he began to receive an increasing number of commissions for individual portraits, until 1670 he was the leading portrait painter of the ruling class in Amsterdam. From 1642 his technique in portrait painting gradually became more fluent and the rendering of costume materials more detailed. Some typical portraits of his earlier period are those of Andries Bicker (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), his wife Catharina Gansneb Tengnagel (Dresden, Gem?ldegal. Alte Meister) and their son Gerard Bicker (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), all of 1642, and the Portrait of a Young Girl (1645; London, N.G.). In 1648 van der Helst painted a second civic guard portrait, The Celebration of the Peace of M?nster at the Crossbowmen's Headquarters, Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), a superbly composed and well painted portrait that, until the late 19th century, was considered one of the masterpieces of the Golden Age but later lost popularity because of its smooth and modish execution. It can nevertheless still be regarded as one of the most important group portraits of the 17th century.James Ensor
Belgian painter, printmaker and draughtsman. No single label adequately describes the visionary work produced by Ensor between 1880 and 1900, his most productive period. His pictures from that time have both Symbolist and Realist aspects, and in spite of his dismissal of the Impressionists as superficial daubers he was profoundly concerned with the effects of light. His imagery and technical procedures anticipated the colouristic brilliance and violent impact of Fauvism and German Expressionism and the psychological fantasies of Surrealism. Ensor most memorable and influential work was almost exclusively produced before 1900, but he was largely unrecognized before the 1920s in his own country. His work was highly influential in Germany, however: Emil Nolde visited him in 1911, and was influenced by his use of masks; Paul Klee mentions him admiringly in his diaries; Erich Heckel came to see him in the middle of the war and painted his portrait (1930; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus.); Alfred Kubin owned several of his prints, while Marc Chagall and George Grosz also adapted certain elements from Ensor. All the artists of the Cobra group saw him as a master. He influenced many Belgian artists including Leon Spilliaert, Rik Wouters, Constant Permeke, Frits van den Berghe, Paul Delvaux and Pierre Alechinsky.Hercules Seghers
Hercules Seghers Gallery
Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers or Segers (c. 1589 ?C c. 1638) was a Dutch painter and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age. Segers is in fact the more common form in contemporary documents, and was used by the painter himself (modern use is about equally divided between the two). He was "the most inspired, experimental and original landscapist" of his period and an even more innovative printmaker.
He was probably best known to his contemporaries for his paintings of landscapes and still-life subjects; his paintings are also rare, with perhaps only fifteen surviving (one was destroyed in a fire in October 2007 ). The Stadholder, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange bought landscapes in 1632. Many of his painted landscapes are fantastic mountainous compositions, whereas in his prints it is often the technical approach rather than the subject which is extreme. His painted landscapes tend to show a wide horizontal view, with emphasis on earth rather than sky; two in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin had strips of sky added at the top later in the century to meet a changed taste. Apart from Coninxloo, Seghers drew from the Flemish landscape tradition, perhaps especially Joos de Momper and Roelandt Savery, but also the "fantastic and visionary aspects of Mannerist" landscape painting. A 1680 inventory of Jan van der Capelle, who owned five paintings by Seghers, describes one as view of Brussels, which if correct would presumably mean Seghers travelled there, probably when young, when his style shows most Flemish influence (in so far as the chronology of his work is clear).