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 :. | Madonna of the Rocks | The Battle of Anghiari | Adoration of the Magi | Virgin of the Rocks | The Last Supper |
Related Artists:Pietro Longhi
Pietro Longhi Galleries
Pietro Longhi was born in Venice in the parish of Saint Maria, first child of the silversmith Alessandro Falca and his wife, Antonia. He adopted the Longhi last name when he began to paint. He was initially taught by the Veronese painter Antonio Balestra, who then recommended the young painter to apprentice with the Bolognese Giuseppe Maria Crespi, who was highly regarded in his day for both religious and genre painting. He was married in 1732 to Caterina Maria Rizzi.
Among his early paintings are some altarpieces and religious themes. In 1734, he completed frescoes in the walls and ceiling of the hall in Ca' Sagredo, representing the Death of the giants. Henceforward, his work would lead him to be viewed in the future as the Venetian William Hogarth, painting subjects and events of everyday life in Venice. The gallant interior scenes reflect the 18th century's turn towards the private and the bourgeois.
Many of his paintings show Venetians at play, such as the depiction of the crowd of genteel citizens awkwardly gawking at a freakish Indian rhinoceros (see image). This painting chronicles Clara the rhinoceros brought to Europe in 1741 by a Dutch sea captain and impresario from Leyden, Douvemont van der Meer. This rhinoceros was exhibited in Venice in 1751. There are two versions of this painting, nearly identical except for the unmasked portraits of two men in Ca' Rezzonico version. Ultimately, there may be a punning joke to the painting, since the young man on the left holds aloft the sawed off horn (metaphor for cuckoldry) of the animal. Perhaps this explains the difference between the unchaperoned women.
Other paintings chronicle the daily activities such as the gambling parlors (Riddoti) that proliferated in the 18th century. In some, the insecure or naive posture and circumstance, the puppet-like delicacy of the persons, seem to suggest a satirical perspective of the artists toward his subjects. Nearly half of the figures in his genre paintings are faceless, hidden behind Venetian Carnival masks. Like Crespi before him, Longhi was commissioned to paint seven canvases documenting the seven Catholic sacraments.
Longhi is well-known as a draughtsman, whose drawings were often done for their own sake, rather than as studies for paintings. Pietro's son, Alessandro, was also an accomplished painter.
A paraphrase of Bernard Berenson states that "Longhi painted for the Venetians passionate about painting, their daily lives, in all dailiness, domesticity, and quotidian mundane-ness. In the scenes regarding the hairdo and the apparel of the lady, we find the subject of gossip of the inopportune barber, chattering of the maid; in the school of dance, the amiable sound of violins. It is not tragic... but upholds a deep respect of customs, of great refinement, with an omnipresent good humor distinguishes the paintings of the Longhi from those of Hogarth, at times pitiless and loaded with omens of change".George Dawe
George Dawe Locations
English painter and writer. He was the son of the mezzotint engraver Philip Dawe who taught him engraving. He continued to concentrate on engraving when he entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1796, producing portraits until 1802, when he turned to history painting. In 1803 he won a gold medal and the following year made his d?but at the Royal Academy, where he exhibited until 1818, often showing such anecdotal and literary works as Imogen Found in the Cave of Belarius (exh. RA 1809; London, Tate). He was elected an ARA in 1809 and an RA in 1814 and soon afterwards returned to portrait painting. In 1816 he painted a number of portraits of George IV daughter Princess Charlotte (e.g. London, N.P.G.), several of which were engraved. In 1817 he went to Brussels and was present at the review of the allied troops by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington in Cambrai. Soon afterwards he was invited by Tsar Alexander I of Russia to paint the portraits of all the senior officers who had taken part in the Napoleonic Wars. He travelled to St Petersburg in 1819 where, over the next nine years, he painted nearly 400 portraits. These were placed in a specially built gallery (destr.) in the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. He returned briefly to England in 1828 before travelling to Berlin, where he painted the portraits of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1828; London, N.P.G.) and Frederick William III, King of Prussia (1828; untraced). From Berlin he moved to St Petersburg and then to Warsaw before being forced by illness to return to England, where he died shortly afterwards. His book The Life of George Morland with Remarks on his Works (1807) is both a lively account of his godfather dissipated lifestyle and a fairly critical appreciation of his work.Matthias Stomer
Amersfoort ca.1600-Sicily after 1650