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 :. | Portrait of Ginerva de'Benci | Madonna with a Flower | Virgin of the Rocks (mk10) | Portrait of Ginerva de'Benci-u | Leda |
Related Artists:Augsburger Schule
painted Allegory of Remorselessness in between 1580(1580) and 1600(1600)
Jan Vermeer van Utrecht
(bapt. 16 February 1630, Schipluiden - c. 1696, Vreeswijk), was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Though he was born near Delft, there is no known relation between this painter and Johannes Vermeer.
His father died when he was 10 and he was raised by his step-grandfather in Rotterdam. According to Houbraken he travelled to Italy with Lieve Verschuier and became friends with Willem Drost and Johann Carl Loth.
He returned North in 1662, where he became member of the Utrecht Guild of St. Luke in 1663 and became deacon of the guild 1664-1666.Houbraken tells a curious story about Vermeer van Utrecht in his biography of Jan Davidsz de Heem. In this story, on his return from Italy, Vermeer marries a widow who owns a white lead factory. He is wealthy and has a carefree life until his wife dies and then his factory is burned by French soldiers. He manages to save a garland painting by De Heem that he once paid 2000 guilders for. This was an enormous sum of money, but Houbraken mentions that his grandfather had been a wealthy man, and until his factory was destroyed, Vermeer van Utrecht had been painting for pleasure, rather than professionally. The amount is meant as an indication of the fame and esteem of De Heem, rather than the wealth of Vermeer van Utrecht. Vermeer van Utrecht then applies to his benefactor, Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein, to give him a government post in return for this painting, which he offers to paint with the likeness of the young prince Willem III in the middle of the garland. The lord of Zuylestein was the governor of the young prince from 1659 to 1666, so this deal must have been done sometime between 1662 (Vermeer van Utrecht's return from Italy), and 1672 (the death of the lord of Zuylestein). Apparently, the deal is done, and several years pass, in which Vermeer van Utrecht did become an appointed member of the Utrecht regency (Vroedschap), but where he felt like a fifth wheel. In 1672 the Utrecht council takes pity on him, and gave him the post of Toll-collector and controller of the river lock at Vreeswijk, where he later remarried.Francken, Frans II
b. 1581, Antwerpen, d. 1642, Antwerpen
Painter, son of Frans Francken I. Of all the members of the Francken family, Frans II is the most important and still the most widely known. There are paintings by him in all large public collections in Europe. Besides altarpieces and painted furniture panels, he produced mainly small cabinet pictures with historical, mythological or allegorical themes. Frans II's rank as an artist is not so much derived from his extensive output as from his innovative subject-matter: his depictions of luxuriously decorated Kunstkammern and art galleries