Leonardo Da Vinci
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 Emine | Saint John the Baptist | The Annunciation | The Battle of Anghiari | The Virgin and Child with Anne (mk05) |
Related Artists:John Seymour Lucas
(21 December 1849 - 8 May 1923) was a Victorian English historical and portrait painter as well as an accomplished theatrical costume designer. He was born into an artistic London family, and originally trained as a woodcarver, but turned his attention to portrait painting and entered first the St. Martin's Lane Art School and later the Royal Academy Schools. Here he met his French wife, fellow artist Marie Cornelissen, whom he married in 1877. Lucase artistic education included extensive travels around Europe, particularly Holland and Spain, where he studied the Flemish and Spanish Masters. He first started exhibiting in 1872, was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy in 1876 and a full Royal Academician in 1898.
John Seymour Lucas was first and foremost a historical genre painter with a particular talent for realism in the depiction of costumes and interiors. Inspired by van Dyck and particularly Diego Velezquez, he excelled in depicting scenes from the English 16th to 18th century Tudor and Stuart periods, including in particular the Spanish Armada, Preparing for the Voyage, the English Civil War and the Jacobite rebellions.
His first major work to achieve widespread public acclaim was Rebel Hunting after Culloden, executed in 1884. It was praised not only for the obvious tension between the muscular blacksmiths and the redcoated forces of law and order (or repression) but for the extraordinary realism in the depiction of the rough smithy and glowing horsehoe on the anvil. In 1885 his next major work whas "Preparing for the Voyage".
As his reputation grew, Lucas increasingly mixed in society circles, and became firm friends with the famous society portrait painter John Singer Sargent who was his almost exact contemporary. A portrait of Lucas executed by John Singer Sargent is displayed in Tate Britain. Towards the 1890s John Seymour Lucas executed a number of major works for prestigious public buildings or royal clients. These include: The Flight of the Five Members (Houses of Parliament), The Granting of the Charter of the City of London (Royal Exchange), Reception by HM King Edward VII of the Moorish Ambassador (Royal Collection), HRH the Prince of Wales in German Uniform (Royal Collection)
Apart from executing over 100 major oil paintings and a host of drawings, Lucas was renowned as a set and costume designer for the historical dramas popular on the late Victorian and early Edwardian stages. One of his more unusual commissions was the "Duke of Normandy" costume for the ill-fated prince Alfred of Saxe Coburg-Gotha for the Devonshire House Ball in 1897. Lucas was also a prolific watercolour painter and was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1877.
During most of his artistic career, John Seymour Lucas lived in a purpose-built studio in South Hampstead, London, designed for him by his friend and fellow artist, architect Sydney Williams-Lee.
He retired from painting towards the end of World War I, and moved to Blythburgh, Suffolk, where re-designed a house next to the church known as 'The Priory'. Lucas died in 1923 and is interred in Blythburgh church yard. His son, Sydney Seymour Lucas, was also an artist, and illustrator.
French Painter, known ca.1495-1531VELDE, Willem van de, the Younger
Dutch painter (b. 1633, Leiden, d. 1707, London).
was a Dutch marine painter. Willem van de Velde was baptised on 18 December 1633 in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic. A son of Willem van de Velde the Elder, also a painter of sea-pieces, Willem van de Velde, the younger, was instructed by his father, and afterwards by Simon de Vlieger, a marine painter of repute at the time, and had achieved great celebrity by his art before he came to London. In 1673 he moved to England, where he was engaged by Charles II, at a salary of £100, to aid his father in "taking and making draughts of sea-fights", his part of the work being to reproduce in color the drawings of the elder van de Velde. He was also patronized by the Duke of York and by various members of the nobility. He died on 6 April 1707 in London, England. Most of Van de Velde's finest works represent views off the coast of Holland, with Dutch shipping. His best productions are delicate, spirited and finished in handling, and correct in the drawing of the vessels and their rigging. The numerous figures are tellingly introduced, and the artist is successful in his renderings of sea, whether in calm or storm.