LEONARDO da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
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 :. | Anatomical study of the brain and the scalp | Portrait | The embryo in the Uterus | The Virgin and Child with St Anne (detail) s | Leda (detail) ghk |
Related Artists:Lorens Gottman
(1708 -1779 ) - Painter
Antwerp of Leiden
(October 14, 1427??August 29, 1499) was an Italian early Renaissance painter.
Baldovinetti was born in Florence to a family of a rich merchant. In 1448 he was registered as a member of the Guild of St. Luke: "Alesso di Baldovinetti, dipintore."
He was a follower of the group of scientific realists and naturalists in art which included Andrea del Castagno, Paolo Uccello and Domenico Veneziano. Tradition says that he assisted in the decorations of the church of S. Egidio, however no records confirm this. These decoration were carried out during the years 1441 - 1451 by Domenico Veneziano and in conjunction with Andrea del Castagno. That he was commissioned to complete the series at a later date (1460) is certain.
In 1462 Alesso was employed to paint the great fresco of the Annunciation in the cloister of the Annunziata basilica. The remains as we see them give evidence of the artist's power both of imitating natural detail with minute fidelity and of spacing his figures in a landscape with a large sense of air and distance; and they amply verify two separate statements of Vasari concerning him: that "he delighted in drawing landscapes from nature exactly as they are, whence we see in his paintings rivers; bridges, rocks, plants, fruits, roads, fields, cities, exercise grounds, and an infinity of other such things," and that he was an inveterate experimentalist in technical matters.
His favourite method in wall-painting was to lay in his compositions in fresco and finish them a secco with a mixture of yolk of egg and liquid varnish. This, says Vasari, was with the view of protecting the painting from damp; but in course of time the parts executed with this vehicle scaled away, so that the great secret he hoped to have discovered turned out a failure. In 1463 he furnished a cartoon of the Nativity, which was executed in tarsia by Giuliano de Maiano in the sacristy of the cathedral and still exists. From 1466 date the groups of four Evangelists and four Fathers of the Church in fresco, together with the Annunciation on an oblong panel, which still decorate the Portuguese chapel in the basilica of San Miniato, and are given in error by Vasari to Piero Pollaiuolo. A fresco of the risen Christ between angels inside a Holy Sepulchre in the chapel of the Rucellai family, also still existing, belongs to 1467.
In 1471 Alesso undertook important works for tile church of Santa Tr??nita on the commission of Bongianni Gianfigliazzi. First, to paint an altar-piece of the Virgin and Child with six saints; this was finished in 1472: next, a series of frescoes from the Old Testament which was to be completed according to contract within five years, but actually remained on hand for fully sixteen. In 1497 the finished series, which contained many portraits of leading Florentine citizens, was valued at a thousand gold forms by a committee consisting of Cosimo Rosselli, Benozzo Gozzoli, Perugino and Filippino Lippi; only some defaced fragments of it now remain.