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 :. | The Last Supper | Study of the proportion of horses | Lady with the ermine | Leda h | Madonna in the rock grotto |
Related Artists:Andrea Soldi
Italian painter. George Vertue, the only source for Soldi's earliest years, described him in 1738 as a Florentine aged 'about thirty-five or rather more' who had been in England 'about two years'. He had previously been in the Middle East, where he painted some British merchants of the Levant Company who had advised him to go to London. Two three-quarter-length portraits called Thomas Sheppard (1733 and 1735-6; ex-art market, London, 1917 and 1924, see Ingamells, 1974) belong to this period. In London Soldi enjoyed considerable success in the period between 1738 and 1744; Vertue reported that he began 'above thirty portraits' between April and August 1738. He was extensively patronized by the 2nd and 3rd Dukes of Manchester (eight portraits, sold Kimbolton Castle, Cambs, 18 July 1949), the 3rd Duke of Beaufort (four portraits at Badminton House, Glos) and the 4th Viscount Fauconberg (eight portraits at Newburgh Priory, N. Yorks). The seated three-quarter-length of Isabella, Duchess of Manchester, as Diana (1738; London, Colnaghi's, 1986) and the informal full-length of Lord Fauconberg (c. 1739; Newburgh Priory, N. Yorks) exemplify his lively handling, strong colour and theatrical, Italianate imagination. In a less extravagant vein, the Duncombe Family (1741; priv. col., see Ingamells, 1974), a conversation piece of some charm, and the Self-portrait (1743; York, C.A.G.) suggest a versatile talent. Soldi's bravura contrasted with contemporary English portrait practice, then wavering between the sober manner of Kneller and a playful Rococo, and his attraction for Italianate Englishmen was obvious. He was rivalled only by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, who was in London between 1737 and 1742; both artists painted the dealer Owen McSwiny and the poet Colley Cibber about 1738. He far outclassed his Italian rivals, the Cavaliere Rusca (1696-1769), who worked in London from 1738 to 1739, and Andrea Casali, who was in London from 1741 to 1766.Henrietta Rae
(30 December 1859 - 26 January 1928) was a prominent English painter of the later Victorian era.
Born in Hammersmith, London, she was the youngest of seven children of a civil servant; her mother was musically talented, a former student of Felix Mendelssohn. An uncle, Charles Rae, was an artist and a student of George Cruikshank. Rae began studying art at age thirteen; she was educated at the Queen Square School of Art, Heatherley's School of Art (she was its first female pupil), and the British Museum. She reportedly had to apply to the Royal Academy schools at least five times before she was accepted though she eventually gained a seven-year scholarship. Her teachers there included Frank Bernard Dicksee, William Powell Frith, and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema; the last of these had the strongest influence on Rae's later work. She became a frequent exhibitor at the annual Royal Academy shows, beginning in 1881.
She gained recognition and success early in her career, specializing in classical, allegorical, and literary subjects, often treated in a grand style and scale; her Psyche at the Throne of Venus (1894) measured 12 feet by 7 feet (305 by 193 cm) and contained 13 figures. Other paintings in the same classical vein include her Ariadne (1885), Eurydice (1886), Zephyrus and Flora (1888), Apollo and Daphne (1895), Diana and Calisto (1899), and Hylas and the Water Nymphs (1910) among many more. Joseph-Siffred Duplessis
(22 September 1725 - 1 April 1802) was a French painter, known for the clarity and immediacy of his portraits.
He was born in Carpentras, near Avignon, into a family with an artistic bent and received his first training from his father, a surgeon and talented amateur, then with Joseph-Gabriel Imbert (1666-1749), who had been a pupil of Charles Le Brun. From 1744-47 or later he worked in Rome, in the atelier of Pierre Subleyras, who was also from the south of France, who died in 1749. In Italy Duplessis became fast friends with Joseph Vernet, another Occitan.
He returned to Carpentras, spent a brief time in Lyon then arrived about 1752 in Paris, where he was accepted into the Academie de Saint-Luc and exhibited some portraits, which were now his specialty, in 1764, but did not achieve much notice until his exhibition of ten paintings at the Paris salon of 1769, very well received and selected for special notice by Denis Diderot; the Academie de peinture et de sculpture accepted him in the category of portraitist, considered a lesser category at the time. He continued to exhibit at the Paris salons, both finished paintings and sketches, until 1791, and once more, in 1801.
His portrait of the Dauphine in 1771 and his appointment as a peintre du Roi assured his success: most of his surviving portraits date from the 1770s and 1780s. He received privileged lodgings in the Galeries du Louvre. In the Revolution, he withdrew to safe obscurity at Carpentras during the Reign of Terror. Afterwards, from 1796, he served as curator at the newly-founded museum formed at Versaillles, so recently emptied of its furnishings at the Revolutionary sales. His uncompromising self-portrait at this time of his life is at Versailles, where he died.