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 :. | Our Lady and St Anne | The Madonna of the Carnation (detail) sg | Study fur the adoration of the Konige | Madonna and Child | Aurelio Luini attributed, profile of an old man |
Related Artists:Robert Hills
British Painter, 1769-1844
English painter and etcher. After taking drawing-lessons from John Alexander Gresse (1740-94), he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1788. Village and rural scenes, and in particular studies of animals, occupied him throughout his working life; his favourite subjects were cattle, sheep, donkeys, pigs and above all deer, which he stalked for the purpose of sketching. As well as making plein-air drawings, Hills carried out careful anatomical studies of animal bones and joints. Between 1798 and 1815 he issued an extensive series of Etchings of Quadrupeds; the British Museum holds the artist's collection of his own etchingsSimon de Vlieger
Dutch painter, draughtsman, etcher and stained-glass designer. He was one of the leading marine and landscape artists of the Dutch school and decisively influenced the direction of Dutch marine art during the 1630s and 1640s. His late works anticipated the shift from the monochrome or tonal phase of Dutch marine art to the more classical style of Jan van de Cappelle and Willem van de Velde the younger (see MARINE PAINTING). Although de Vlieger reputation rests chiefly on his marine paintings, he was also a notable draughtsman and etcher.
John Robert Cozens
). Painter, draughtsman and printmaker, son of (1) Alexander Cozens.
He was taught by his father, and an album by John Robert (Aberystwyth, N. Lib. Wales) indicates that he also learnt to sketch landscape directly from nature. The album contains drawings that record sketching tours to Nacton, near Ipswich, Suffolk (Aug 1768); day trips to the outskirts of London: Greenwich and Blackheath (1768, 1771), Epsom (1768) and Hampstead (1770-71); and a trip to Matlock, Derbys (June 1772). The earliest of these sketches are careful pencil drawings, some later reworked in pen, ink and wash, and there is at least one attempt at added colour. Later drawings are freer, either noting an idea for a composition or recording light and shade with rapid washes of ink over pencil. His father worked mainly in monochrome brown or grey washes, and John Robert earliest exhibits (he exhibited at the Society of Artists every year from 1767 to 1771) were also in this medium.