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 :. | The Benois Madonna | Six studies fur naked or clothed men | Anatomical drawing of the stomach and the intestine | Funf studies of grotesque faces | The Virgin and Child with St Anne |
Related Artists:Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy
(1611C1665), French painter and writer on his art, was born in Paris, son of an apothecary.
He was destined for the medical profession, and well educated in Latin and Greek; but, having a natural propensity for the fine arts, he would not apply to his intended vocation, and was allowed to learn the rudiments of design under Perrier and Vouet. At the age of twenty-one he went off to Rome, with no resources; he drew ruins and architectural subjects.
After two years thus spent he re-encountered his old fellow-student Pierre Mignard, and by his aid obtained some amelioration of his professional prospects. He studied Raphael and the antique, went in 1633 to Venice, and in 1656 returned to France. During two years he was now employed in painting altar-pieces in the château du Raincy, landscapes, etc. His death was caused by an attack of apoplexy followed by palsy; he expired at Villiers-le-Bel, near Paris. He never married.
His pictorial works are few; they are correct in drawing, with something of the Caracci in design, and of Titian in colouring, but wanting fire and expression, and insufficient to keep his name in any eminent repute.
He is remembered now almost entirely as a writer rather than painter. His Latin poem, De arte graphica, was written during his Italian sojourn, and embodied his observations on the art of painting; it may be termed a critical treatise on the practice of the art, with general advice to students. The precepts are sound according to the standard of his time; the poetical merits slender enough. The Latin style is formed chiefly on Lucretius and Horace.John Martin
John Martin Gallery
His first exhibited subject picture, Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion (now in the St. Louis Art Museum), was hung in the Ante-room of the Royal Academy in 1812, and sold for fifty guineas. It was followed by the Expulsion (1813), Paradise (1813), Clytie (1814), and Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still upon Gibeon (1816). In 1821 appeared his Belshazzar's Feast, which excited much favorable and hostile comment, and was awarded a prize of £200 at the British Institution, where the Joshua had previously carried off a premium of £100. Then came the Destruction of Herculaneum (1822), the Creation (1824), the Eve of the Deluge (1841), and a series of other Biblical and imaginative subjects. The Plains of Heaven is thought to reflect his memories of the Allendale of his youth.
Martin's large paintings were inspired by "contemporary dioramas or panoramas, popular entertainments in which large painted cloths were displayed, and animated by the skilful use of artificial light. Martin has often been claimed as a forerunner of the epic cinema, and there is no doubt that the pioneer director D. W. Griffith was aware of his work." In turn, the diorama makers borrowed Martin's work, to the point of plagiarism. A 2000-square-foot version of Belshazzar's Feast was mounted at a facility called the British Diorama in 1833; Martin tried, but failed, to shut down the display with a court order. Another diorama of the same picture was staged in New York City in 1835. These dioramas were tremendous successes with their audiences, but wounded Martin's reputation in the serious art world.william holman hunt,o.m.,r.w.s
English painter. He worked as an office clerk in London from 1839 to 1843, attending drawing classes at a mechanics' institute in the evenings and taking weekly lessons from the portrait painter Henry Rogers. Holman Hunt overcame parental opposition to his choice of career in 1843, and this determined attitude and dedication to art could be seen throughout his working life. In July 1844, at the third attempt, he entered the Royal Academy Schools. His earliest exhibited works, such as Little Nell and her Grandfather (exh. British Institution, 1846; Sheffield, Graves A.G.), reveal few traces of originality, but the reading of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in 1847 was of crucial importance to Holman Hunt's artistic development. It led him to abandon the ambitious Christ and the Two Marys (Adelaide, A.G. S. Australia) in early 1848, when he realized its traditional iconography would leave his contemporaries unmoved. His next major work, the Flight of Madeline and Porphyro during the Drunkenness Attending the Revelry (1848; London, Guildhall A.G.), from John Keats's 'Eve of St Agnes', though displaced into a medieval setting, dramatized an issue dear to contemporary poets and central to Holman Hunt's art: love and youthful idealism versus loyalty to one's family. His first mature painting, it focuses on a moment of psychological crisis in a cramped and shallow picture space.