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 :. | Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate | Leda | The Annunciation | The Annunciation-o | Cartoon |
Related Artists:Frederick william watts
Henri Gascar, Portrait of Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland
James II of England, then Duke of York (1660s)Henri Gascar (1635 -1 Jan 1701) was a French-born portrait painter who achieved artistic success in England during the reign of Charles II. He painted many leading ladies at court, including several of the King's mistresses.
Gascar was born in Paris, the son of Pierre Gascar, a minor painter and sculptor. Gascar came to England about 1674, probably at the behest of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles II's favourite mistress. Gascar (or Gascard, as he seems to have spelt his name at first) was already known as a skillful portrait-painter; among the portraits already painted by him was that of Nicolas de Lafond, author of the "Gazette of Holland", painted in 1667, and engraved by Peter Lombart.
The patronage of the Duchess of Portsmouth insured Gascar a rapid success in England. His flamboyant style, contrasting with the stolid English approach, seemed to suit the frivolity of the time and he painted many of the ladies of Charles II's court. His lack of attention to detail in the likeness he made up for by the sumptuous draperies and tawdry adornments around the subject. For a short time he became fashionable, and is said to have amassed a fortune of over £10,000.
Among the portraits painted by him during his time in England were Charles II (engraved by Peter Vanderbank); Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth (twice - once engraved by Étienne Baudet); Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland (nee Villiers), and her daughter, Barbara Fitzroy; Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond; Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond; George FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Northumberland; Nell Gwyn; Sophia Bulkeley (engraved by Robert Dunkarton); Edmund Verney; and Philip Herbert, 7th Earl of Pembroke. It is stated that the last-named portrait was done surreptitiously for Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth. A portrait by Gascar of James II as Duke of York was in that king's collection. Agustin Esteve
Spanish, 1753-died circa 1820