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 Last Supper | Flower Studies | Christ's Head | The Annunciation-o | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry |
Related Artists:HESS, Heinrich Maria von
German painter b. 1798, Dsseldorf, d. 1863, Mnchen,German painter. After training (1813-17) under Peter von Langer (1756-1824) at the Akademie der bildenden Kenste in Munich, he painted religious subjects under the influence of Peter Cornelius. In 1821 he joined the Lukasbreder, and the circle around Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria, in Rome. Apollo among the Muses (1824; Munich, Neue Pin.), painted for Maximilian I, shows Hess to be among the most gifted of the German artists working in Rome. The influence of Raphael, glowing but carefully harmonized colours, gliding figures and drapery animate this early masterpiece. Among other important works from this time are exquisitely detailed and colouristically sophisticated, intimate character portraits with early Renaissance settings, such as that of Marchesa Marianna Florenzi (1824; Munich, Neue Pin.), as well as fresh and lively Naturalist landscapes from the environs of Rome, for example Campagna Landscape near Ponte Nomentano (1821-6; Hamburg, Ksthalle). George Hicks
Lille 1809-Bievres (Essonne)1897
.was a French fresco painter, painter and portraitist. His father was passionate about art and painted himself. Sent to Paris with a pension for some years, Victor was recalled due to the poor state of his father's finances and his studies were cut short. He followed courses at the École de dessin in Lille and worked under the direction of his father and his father's painter friends such as Édouard Lienard, student of Jacques-Louis David. He returned to Paris from 1828 to 1829 to enter the École des Beaux-Arts and at first studied under the direction of François-Édouard Picot, then as a free student of Dominique Ingres. The Mottez family was highly religious and devoted to the House of Bourbon, and so the July Revolution in 1830 came as a catastrophe to them. Victor was again recalled to Lille by his father and married shortly afterwards. From there he made many trips, of which the longest and most notable was that to Italy and he came to consider its old masters as the absolute masters of painting. In Rome he met Ingres again - Ingres liked him very much and often gave him advice. His Christ in the Tomb (now in the glise Sainte-Catherine de Lille) and The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen (now in the glise Saint-Étienne de Lille) date to this era. Also on this trip to Italy he became hugely interested in fresco art - Mottez painted his wife Julie in this medium and, showing Ingres the end result, pulled it off the wall at Ingres' request (it was later given to the Louvre by Mottez's two children). Returning to France in 1838, he set up shop in Paris and exhibited at the Paris Salons, especially turning more and more towards the neglected genre of frescoes, notably religious ones. He also translated the Treatise by the 14th century Florentine painter Cennino Cennini and learned from his techniques. His most remarkable works are those for churches (at Église Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois in the 1840s, and at the Saint-Severin in the 1850s), which were admired by Ingres and Delacroix. However, the clergy's hostility to them, the materials used, the saltpeter walls and their situation all meant that they were already deteriorated by the end of the 19th century and are now largely lost (except for Saint Martin cutting his cloak in two at St-Germain l'Auxerrois), though Mottez's cartoons for them survive. During the same years he frequented the Bertins' salon, alongside the main writers and artists of the time (a sketch of his for a portrait of Victor Hugo survives). He produced two frescoes for this salon, destroyed in 1854. After the 1848 Revolution Mottez set out for the United Kingdom, where he produced several portraits of British nobles and personalities and the exiled minister François Guizot, which were exhibited at the Royal Academy salons.