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 :. | Study fur the Sforza-Reiterstandbild | The Last Supper | Mona Lisa (detail) dhu | Anatomical study of the brain and the scalp | Study of the proportion of the head |
Related Artists:DYCK, Sir Anthony Van
Flemish Baroque Era Painter, 1599-1641
Flemish painter and draughtsman, active also in Italy and England. He was the leading Flemish painter after Rubens in the first half of the 17th century and in the 18th century was often considered no less than his match. A number of van Dyck's studies in oil of characterful heads were included in Rubens's estate inventory in 1640, where they were distinguished neither in quality nor in purpose from those stocked by the older master. Although frustrated as a designer of tapestry and, with an almost solitary exception, as a deviser of palatial decoration, van Dyck succeeded brilliantly as an etcher. He was also skilled at organizing reproductive engravers in Antwerp to publish his works, in particular The Iconography (c. 1632-44), comprising scores of contemporary etched and engraved portraits, eventually numbering 100, by which election he revived the Renaissance tradition of promoting images of uomini illustri. His fame as a portrait painter in the cities of the southern Netherlands, as well as in London, Genoa, Rome and Palermo, has never been outshone;
BERCKHEYDE, Gerrit Adriaensz.
Dutch Baroque Era Painter, 1638-1698
Brother of Job Berckheyde. Gerrit specialized in a particular type of architectural subject, the TOWNSCAPE. His painted work shows a debt not only to Pieter Saenredam's conception of the building portrait but also to Saenredam's refined draughtsmanship and dispassionate attitude; these qualities mark Berckheyde as a classicist and akin to Vermeer. Berckheyde favoured views of monuments on large open squares, a choice that distinguishes him from the other great Dutch townscape painter, Jan van der Heyden, who preferred views along canals in which clarity was sacrificed for pictorial effect.Phillips, Thomas
From a respectable but impoverished family, he left school aged 13 to be apprenticed to Francis Eginton of Birmingham, a glass painter and early pioneer in reproduction by a 'photographic method'. The chiaroscuro effects of this process were a lasting influence on Phillips's style. In 1790 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy and simultaneously assisted in Benjamin West's studio. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1794 to 1844 and was elected ARA in 1804, RA in 1808 and Professor of Painting in succession to Henry Fuseli from 1825 to 1832.