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 | Studies of children | Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) sdg | Aurelio Luini attributed, profile of an old man | La Vierge,l'Enfant Jesus et sainte Anne |
Related Artists:DUPLESSIS, Joseph Siffrein
French Painter, 1725-1802Alexander von Wagner
German/Hungarian, 1838-1919Paula Modersohn-Becker
Paula Becker was born and grew up in Dresden-Friedrichstadt. She was the third child of seven children in her family. Her father who was the son of a Russian university professor, was employed with the German railway. He and Modersohn-Becker's mother, who was from an aristocratic family, provided the children a cultured and intellectual environment in the house hold.
Modersohn-Becker's parental home 1888-1899In 1888 her parents moved from Dresden to Bremen. While visiting an aunt in London, England, she received her first instruction in drawing. Apart from her teacher's training in Bremen in 1893-1895, Paula took private instruction in painting. In 1896 she participated in a course for painting and drawing sponsored by the "Verein der Berliner K??nstlerinnen" (Union of Berlin Female Artists) which offered art studies to women.
Paula Modersohn-Becker. Clara Rilke WesthoffAt the age of 22, she encountered the artistic community of Worpswede. In this "village", artists such as Fritz Mackensen (1866-1953) and Heinrich Vogeler (1872-1942) had retreated to protest against the domination of the art academy and life in the big city. At Worpswede, Paula Modersohn-Becker took painting lessons from Mackensen. The main subjects were the life of the farmers and the northern German landscape. At this time she began close friendships with the sculptor Clara Westhoff (1875-1954) and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). She also fell in love during this period, and in 1901 she married a fellow Worpswede painter, Otto Modersohn. In marrying Otto, she also became a stepmother to Otto's daughter, Elsbeth Modersohn, the child from his first marriage to Helene Modersohn, then deceased.
Paula Modersohn-Becker. Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906Between 1900 and 1907, Paula made several extended trips to Paris for artistic purposes, sometimes living separately from her husband, Otto. During one of her residencies in Paris, she took courses at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She visited contemporary exhibitions often, and was particularly intrigued with the work of Paul C??zanne. Other post impressionists were especially influential, including Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. Fauve influences may also appear in such works as Poorhouse Woman with a Glass Bottle. The influence by the work of French painter, Jean-Francois Millet, who was widely admired among the artists in the Worpswede group, may be seen in such pieces as her 1900 Peat Cutters.
Reclining Mother and ChildIn her last trip to Paris in 1906, she produced a body of paintings from which she felt very great excitement and satisfaction. During this period of painting, she produced her initial nude self-portraits (something surely unprecedented by a female painter) and portraits of friends such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Werner Sombart. Some critics consider this period of her art production to be the strongest and most compelling.
Paula with Mathilde, November 1907 (days before Paula's death)In 1907, Paula Modersohn-Becker returned to her husband in Worpswede. Their relationship, which had been particularly strained in 1906, had taken a turn towards improvement. Paula's long-lived wish to conceive and bear a child was fulfilled. Her daughter Mathilde (Tillie) Modersohn was born on November 2, 1907. Paula and Otto were joyous. Sadly, the joy became soon overshadowed by tragedy, as Paula Modersohn-Becker died suddenly in Worpswede on November 20th from an embolism.
In 1908, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the renowned poem, "Requiem for a Friend", in Paula's memory. The poem was born of the imprint that Paula's life, death and friendship left upon Rilke.