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 :. | Annunciation (detail) ey79 | Leda h | The Last Supper | Profile of an old man | The muscles of arm, shoulder and neck |
Related Artists:Paul Huet
French Painter, 1804-1869Mitchell Ken
about 1752-1845James Peale
James Peale Galleries
James Peale (1749 ?C May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale.
Peale was born in Chestertown, Maryland, the second child, after Charles, of Charles Peale (1709?C1750) and Margaret Triggs (1709?C1791). His father died when he was an infant, and the family moved to Annapolis. In 1762 he began to serve apprenticeships there, first in a saddlery and later in a cabinetmaking shop. After his brother Charles returned from London in 1769, where he had studied with Benjamin West, Peale served as his assistant and learned how to paint.
Peale worked in his brother's studio until January 14, 1776, when he accepted a commission in the Continental Army as an ensign in William Smallwood's regiment. Within three months he was promoted to captain, and during the next three years fought in the battles of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, Princeton, and Monmouth. He resigned his army commission in 1779, and moved to Philadelphia to live with his brother. In 1782 he married, after which he established his own household and artistic career. (One notable later collaboration, however, was in 1788 to make floats for Philadelphia's Federal Procession in honor of the newly drafted United States Constitution.)
At the outset of his career Peale painted portraits and still-life, and by the mid-1780s had established his reputation. At about this time, however, Charles turned over his own miniature portrait practice to him, and throughout the 1790s and early 1800s Peale devoted himself to miniature painting. Much of this work was watercolor on ivory. In 1795 Peale exhibited a still life of fruit along with nine miniatures and his family portrait at the Columbianum, a short-lived art academy in Philadelphia. Around 1810, as Peale's eyesight began to weaken, he gave up painting miniatures to turn to large portraits and still-life subjects that were greatly admired and widely exhibited in Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore.
The total number of Peale's landscape paintings remains unknown, but he executed more than 200 watercolor miniatures on ivory, perhaps 100 still-life paintings, fewer than 70 oil portraits, and at least 8 history paintings.
Peale died in Philadelphia on May 24, 1831. Three of his six children became accomplished painters: Anna Claypoole Peale (1798?C1871), a miniaturist and still-life painter; Margaretta Angelica Peale (1795?C1882), painter of trompe l??oeil subjects and tabletop fruit; and Sarah Miriam Peale (1800?C1885), a portraitist and still-life painter.