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 :. | La Belle Ferronniere | The Virgin of the Rocks | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | The Madonna of the Carnation | Madonna of the Rocks |
Related Artists:MASTER of San Francesco Bardi
active 1240-1270 in FlorenceSimon Dequoy
Simon Dequoy (1655-1727)
Italian painter, Roman school (active 1640-1650 in Rome)
Italian painter. He is the only known pupil of Claude Lorrain other than Claude's long-standing assistant Giandomenico Desiderii (b 1620-24; d after 1657). Pascoli, the only biographer to record him, claimed in his life of Claude that Angeluccio was Claude's most able student but had died young and was able to work little. Angeluccio appears to have lived in Rome and, like Claude, was exclusively a landscape painter. About 25 paintings and 35 drawings, all dated 1640-45, comprise his entire oeuvre. Claude's influence can be seen in such paintings as Landscape with Figures and Bridge (priv. col., see 1983 exh. cat., no. 88). This is a composition with centrally placed foreground figures framed by trees in the middle ground, which in turn stand before a bridge and a distant vista, and was borrowed directly from such paintings by Claude as Pastoral Landscape (1644-5; Merion Station, PA, Barnes Found.). Although Angeluccio shared Claude's approach to landscape, he was not merely an imitator. His paintings form a coherent stylistic group of wooded landscapes, rich in foliage and undergrowth and characterized by a blue-green tonality, which indicates that he also embraced the tradition of landscape painting brought to Rome in the 17th century by Dutch and Flemish artists. The Landscape with Hunters (Rome, Pal. Barberini), painted on an intimate scale and aligned vertically, like most of Angeluccio's paintings, betrays the artist's debt to this tradition. In the painting the pockets of sunlight and the highlighted foliage, indicated with the abbreviated white brushstrokes typical of Angeluccio's manner, provide sharp contrast to a dark, tunnel-like wood. The resulting sense of the landscape closing in on the figures is an effect often found in the landscapes of the Flemish artist Paul Bril. The distant vista, however, is similar to those that appear in works by Claude. The romanticism evoked by this blending of borrowed elements gives Angeluccio's works their distinguishing quality. His paintings frequently also contain rustic genre figures.