Leonardo Da Vinci
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 :. | Last Supper | The Virgin of the Rocks | La Gioconda (The Mona Lisa) | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry | The Annunciation d |
Related Artists:Henry Sargent
Henry Sargent Gallery
Henry Sargent (baptized November 25, 1770 ?? February 21, 1845), American painter and military man, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts. One of seven children born to Daniel and Mary (Turner) Sargent and the brother of Lucius Manlius Sargent, he was a great-grandson of William Sargent, who received a grant of land at Gloucester in 1678. His father was a prosperous and public-spirited merchant. Henry was sent as a young boy to Dummer Academy, South Byfield, and then, the family having moved to Boston, he continued his studies under local teachers. After a period in the counting house of Thomas Handasyd Perkins, he continued his commercial apprenticeship with his father, but suddenly, as he was attaining his majority, without having previously shown special partiality for the arts of design, he determined to become an artist. An elder brother's efforts in this direction seem to have stimulated him, and his mother encouraged him. John Trumbull, who visited Boston in 1790, saw some of his work and found it promising.
In 1793 Sargent went to London, where he studied with Benjamin West and had courteous treatment from John Singleton Copley. A letter of Sargent's dated March 27, 1795 shows that he found living in London expensive and the painter's profession much depressed. He returned to Boston in 1799, still strongly conscious of "the apathy then existing towards the arts". Accordingly, in that same year he took a commission in the national army then being raised under the command of Alexander Hamilton. This service was brief, but it gave Sargent a taste for military life which motivated his long connection with the Massachusetts militia. In or shortly after 1799 he joined the Boston Light Infantry, which had been organized the year before and of which his brother, Daniel Sargent, was captain. Records of the adjutant-general's office in the Massachusetts State House show that Henry Sargent became first lieutenant of this company on October 1, 1804, and captain on March 31, 1807. Of a tall, thin, Yankee build, he was a handsome officer and an efficient drill master. During the War of 1812 his company aided in the fortification of Fort Strong, and on May 31, 1815, he was appointed aide-de-camp to the governor, with the rank of colonel. In 1812, 1815, 1816, and 1817 he was a member of the Massachusetts Senate.
On April 2, 1807, Sargent married Hannah, the daughter of Samuel and Isabella (Pratt) Welles, of Boston, and they had two daughters who died in infancy and two sons, one of whom was Henry Winthrop Sargent.
In the course of the following decade, growing deafness caused him gradually to withdraw from public services and to devote himself entirely to his painting and to mechanical inventions; he achieved no particular fame in the latter field. His painting was that of a diligent and gifted artist whose talent fell short of genius. His portraits were less masterful than those of his fellow townsman, Gilbert Stuart, with whom he was personally intimate. Like Copley, whom he somewhat resembled as a painter, Sargent enjoyed intensive elaboration of textures and accessories. He had a capacity for doing canvases that required sustained effort. The well-known Landing of the Pilgrims, at Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, attributed to him, is not representative of his best work. Far better are the two conversation pieces, The Dinner Party (ca. 1821) and The Tea Party (ca. 1824), owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These have something of the exquisiteness of the so-called Little Dutchmen and they give fascinating glimpses of social life in Boston homes of the early 19th century. An altar painting, The Christ Crucified, which Sargent made for the Holy Cross Church, Boston, won contemporary favor. The full-length portrait of Peter Faneuil, in Faneuil Hall, if by Sargent, to whom it is ascribed, must be a copy after John Smibert. Sargent's self-portrait is at the Museum of Fine Arts; his likenesses of Jeremy Belknap, D.D., and John Clarke, D.D., both friends of his parents, are at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Continuing to paint at intervals down into old age, he was elected in 1840 an honorary member of the National Academy of Design and in 1845, president of the newly-organized Artists' Association of Boston.Jan Van Vucht
Dutch , Rotterdam 1603-1637
John Liston Byam Shaw