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 :. | The Virgin and Child with Anne (mk05) | Bacchus (mk05) | Mona lisa | Portrait of Cecilia Gallarani | La Belle Ferronniere |
Related Artists:Samuel Dircksz van Hoogstraten
Flemish Samuel Dircksz Van Hoogstraten Galleries VIGNON, Claude
French Baroque Era Painter, 1593-1670
French painter, printmaker and illustrator. Born into a prosperous family in Tours, he received his early training in Paris, probably in Jacob Bunel's studio. In 1609-10 he travelled to Rome; although his presence there is recorded only in 1618-20, he was probably based there throughout that decade, becoming a member of the community of young French artists that included Simon Vouet and Valentin de Boullogne. They were all predominantly influenced by the art of Caravaggio and of his most direct follower Bartolomeo Manfredi. Vignon's severe half-length figures (St Paul, Turin, Gal. Sabauda; Four Church Fathers, on loan to Cambridge, Fitzwilliam), executed possibly even earlier than 1615, are in a Caravaggesque style, as are his paintings of singers, musicians and drinkers (e.g. the Young Singer, Paris, Louvre), although the latter group owes more to the style of contemporary genre painting. However, Vignon was already showing an interest in new artistic experiments, the origins of which were northern, Venetian and Mannerist. His sensitivity to the splendid colouring of Venice and to the art of Jacques Bellange, Georges Lallemand and Jacques Callot is manifest in his Martyrdom of St Matthew (1617; Arras, Mus. B.-A.), a work with striking references to Caravaggio's painting of the same subject (Rome, S Luigi dei Francesi), and still more so in his Adoration of the Magi (1619; Dayton, OH, A. Inst.), which also shows clear links with the art of several precursors of Rembrandt, including Adam Elsheimer, Pieter Lastman, Jakob Pynas and particularly Leonard Bramer. Francisco Lopez Caro
(1578-1662) was a Spanish painter of the Baroque period. Born in Seville, he was a pupil of Juan de las Roelas. We know very little of him, save that he painted with indifferent success in Seville until about 1660, when he went to Madrid where he spent the remainder of his life, and died in 1662. His works were mainly portraits, some of which are in private collections in Madrid, Salamanca, Granada, and Seville.