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 :. | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry | Christ's Head | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | The Annunciation | Leda |
Related Artists:Helel Allingham,RWS
was a well-known watercolour painter and illustrator of the Victorian era. Helen Mary Elizabeth Paterson was born in Swadlincote in Derbyshire, England. Her sister and her father, a doctor, died of diphtheria in 1862, and the rest of the family went to live in Birmingham. In 1867 she went to study art at the "Female School of Art", a section of what became the Royal College of Art in London, and became an illustrator of children's books. She was a great friend of Kate Greenaway. On 22 August 1874, she married William Allingham, who was almost twice her age. At the time, she was employed in illustrating some of the novels of Thomas Hardy, and they were attracted to one another when they met. Helen Allingham illustrated several books, including Six to sixteen: a story for girls (1876), Happy England (1903) and The homes of Tennyson (1905), written with her brother Arthur Paterson. After her marriage to Allingham, she became a watercolour painter, and she was the first woman to become a full member of the Royal Watercolour Society.Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Art Galleries
Born in Lyons on Dec. 14, 1824, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes belonged to the generation of Gustave Courbet and ??douard Manet, and he was fully aware of their revolutionary achievements. Nevertheless, he was drawn to a more traditional and conservative style. From his first involvement with art, which began after a trip to Italy and which interrupted his intention to follow the engineering profession that his father practiced, Puvis pursued his career within the scope of academic classicism and the Salon. Even in this chosen arena, however, he was rejected, particularly during the 1850s. But he gradually won acceptance. By the 1880s he was an established figure in the Salons, and by the 1890s he was their acknowledged master.
In both personal and artistic ways Puvis career was closely linked with the avant-grade. In the years of his growing public recognition, when he began to serve on Salon juries, he was consistently sympathetic to the work of younger, more radical artists. Later, as president of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts - the new Salon, as it was called - he was able to exert even more of a liberalizing influence on the important annual exhibitions.
Puvis sympathy to new and radical artistic directions was reflected in his own painting. Superficially he was a classicist, but his personal interpretation of that style was unconventional. His subject matter - religious themes, allegories, mythologies, and historical events - was clearly in keeping with the academic tradition. But his style eclipsed his outdated subjects: he characteristically worked with broad, simple compositions, and he resisted the dry photographic realism which had begun to typify academic painting about the end of the century. In addition, the space and figures in his paintings inclined toward flatness, calling attention to the surface on which the images were depicted. These qualities gave his work a modern, abstract look and distinguished it from the sterile tradition to which it might otherwise have been linked.
Along with their modern, formal properties, Puvis paintings exhibited a serene and poetic range of feeling. His figures frequently seem to be wrapped in an aura of ritualistic mystery, as though they belong in a private world of dreams or visions. Yet these feelings invariably seem fresh and sincere. This combination of form and feeling deeply appealed to certain avant-garde artists of the 1880s and 1890s. Although Puvis claimed he was neither radical nor revolutionary, he was admired by the symbolist poets, writers, and painters - including Paul Gauguin and Maurice Denis - and he influenced the neoimpressionist painter Georges Seurat.
During his mature career Puvis executed many mural paintings. In Paris he did the Life of St. Genevieve (1874-1878) in the Panth??on and Science, Art, and Letters (1880s) in the Sorbonne. In Lyons he executed the Sacred Grove, the Antique Vision, and Christian Inspiration (1880s) in the Mus??e des Beaux-Arts. He painted Pastoral Poetry (1895-1898) in the Boston Public Library. These commissions reflect the high esteem with which Puvis was regarded during his own lifetime. Among his most celebrated oil paintings are Hope (1872) and the Poor Fisherman (1881). He died in Paris on Oct. 10, 1898.MOLA, Pier Francesco
Italian Baroque Era Painter, 1612-1666
Painter and draughtsman, son of (1) Giovanni Battista Mola. His most characteristic works are small, intensely romantic scenes from mythology, the Bible, and from works by the poet Torquato Tasso, set in landscapes inspired by Venetian art. Yet he also received important public commissions for frescoes and altarpieces, and in his mature work he achieved an impressive synthesis of 17th-century Roman gran maniera painting with the stronger chiaroscuro and richer palette of the 16th-century Venetian style. He was a prolific and versatile draughtsman, who drew for pleasure as well as in preparation for commissions; he was also a witty caricaturist, who mocked himself and his friends as much as more typical targets