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 :. | Adoration of the Magi | The Virgin of the Rocks | Portrait of Ginerva de'Benci | Portrait of Cecilia Gallarani | The Baptism of Christ |
Related Artists:Master of the Schotten Altarpiece
was a German painter, active in Nuremberg during the 14th and 15th centuries. His name is derived from an altarpiece dated to about 1390, which once stood in the church of St. Mary in Schotten. The altarpiece was dismantled in 1828.
American Sculptor, 1883-1952,was an American sculptor of Russian-Jewish descent. Although he specialized in realistic, intense portrait busts, Davidson did not require his subjects to formally pose for him; rather, he observed and spoke with them. He worked primarily with clay, while the final products were typically cast in terra-cotta, marble and bronze. Born in New York City, Davidson attended Yale University before moving to Paris to study sculpture at Ecole nationale superieure des beaux arts in 1907. After returning to the United States, he was befriended by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who purchased some of Davidson's work. In 1911 Davidson secured his first solo gallery shows; in 1934 he won the National Academy of Design Maynard Prize, and in 1947 the American Academy of Arts and Letters hosted a retrospective featuring nearly 200 of his works. He was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949. Among Davidson commissions are a design for a United States War Industries badge, a collection of pieces for the Government of France to commemorate the first victory of the Troupes de Marine and bronze busts of the leaders of the Allies. His portraits of world leaders and celebrated personalities gained him international acclaim, and included such luminaries as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Andrew Mellon, Will Rogers, John D. Rockefeller, Joseph Conrad, Anatole France, Lincoln Steffens, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Marshall Ferdinand Foch, General John J. Pershing, John Marin, Rabindranath Tagore, Frank Harris, Israel Zangwill, Charlie Chaplin, Robert M. La Follette, Clarence Darrow, Emile Coue (who was also a sculptor in his spare time), H. G. Wells, Robinson Jeffers, Andre Gide. George Bernard Shaw, James Barrie, Arthur Conan Doyle,D. H. Lawrence, W. Averell Harriman, Madame Chiang Kai shek, Dolores Ibarruri, aka La Passionaria, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ida Rubinstein, Albert Einstein, Carl Sandburg, Marshall Tito, E. W. Marland and Walt Whitman. Will Rogers statue is a full-body bronze portrait erected at the United States Capitol in 1939. Walt Whitman portrait is also a full-body bronze, and stands in Bear Mountain State Park, New York. Some of Davidson's work is in the National Gallery of Art and in the Capitol Building where he has placed two works, Will Rogers of Oklahoma and Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin in the National Statuary Hall, and busts of two vice presidents, Henry A. Wallace and Charles G. Dawes, all of which are located in Washington, D.C.. He also designed a statue of Henry D. Thoreau, the author of WALDEN. The statue is located at Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, MA. In 2006, The Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery opened a permanent exhibition, Jo Davidson: Biographer in Bronze, showcasing fourteen Davidson works in terracotta and bronze, including portraits of Gertrude Stein and Lincoln Steffens. Lorenzo Costa
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Italian painter of the Ferrarese and Bolognese schools. Trained in the manner of such painters as Tura and Cossa, he modified the strident Ferrarese style when he became a partner of Francia. Among his paintings are the Madonna and Child with the Bentivoglio Family and the Triumphs of Petrarch in San Giacomo Maggiore, the Madonna with Saints in San Petronio, and the Madonna in San Giovanni in Monte, all in Bologna. His Three Saints is in the Metropolitan Museum.