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 :. | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | Study of a child | Mona Lisa | The Battle of Anghiari | Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist |
Related Artists:BORSSUM, Anthonie van
Dutch painter (b. 1630/31, Amsterdam, d. 1677, Amsterdam)Pavlosky, Vladimir
American, 1884-1944thomas creswick
Thomas Creswick (5 February 1811 - 28 December 1869) was an English landscape painter and illustrator, born in Sheffield, son of Thomas Creswick and Mary Epworth and educated at Hazelwood, near Birmingham.
At Birmingham he first began to paint. His earliest appearance as an exhibitor was in 1827, at the Society of British Artists in London; in the ensuing year he sent to the Royal Academy the two pictures named Llyn Gwynant, Morning, and Carnarvon Castle. About the same time he settled in London; and in 1836 he took a house in Bayswater. He soon attracted some attention as a landscape painter, and had a career of uniform and encouraging, though not signal success. In 1842 he was elected an associate, and in 1850 a full member of the Royal Academy, which, for several years before his death, numbered hardly any other full members representing this branch of art.
In his early practice he set an example, then too much needed, of diligent study of nature out of doors, painting on the spot all the substantial part of several of his pictures. English and Welsh streams may be said to have formed his favourite subjects, and generally British rural scenery, mostly under its cheerful, calm and pleasurable aspects, in open daylight. This he rendered with elegant and equable skill, color rather grey in tint, especially in his later years, and more than average technical accomplishment; his works have little to excite, but would, in most conditions of public taste, retain their power to attract.
Creswick was industrious and extremely prolific; he produced, besides a steady outpouring of paintings, numerous illustrations for books. He was personally genial, a dark, bulky man, somewhat heavy and graceless in aspect in his later years. He died at his house in Bayswater, Linden Grove, after a few years of declining health. Among his principal works may be named England (1847); Home by the Sands, and a Squally Day (1848); Passing Showers (1849); The Wind on Shore, a First Glimpse of the Sea, and Old Trees (1850); A Mountain Lake, Moonrise (1852); Changeable Weather (1865); also the London Road, a Hundred Years ago; The Weald of Kent; the Valley Mill (a Cornish subject); a Shady Glen; the Windings of a River; the Shade of the Beech Trees; the Course of the Greta; the Wharfe; Glendalough, and other Irish subjects, 1836 to 1840; the Forest Farm Frith for figures, and Ansdell for animals, occasionally worked in collaboration with Creswick.