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 :. | Virgin and Child with St Anne | Adoration of the Magi | Portrait of a Lady at the Court of Milan (san05) | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | Study of a child |
Related Artists:Frans Hals
Frans Hals Galleries
In the field of group portraiture his work is equalled only by that of Rembrandt. Hals's portraits, both individual and group, have an immediacy and brilliance that bring his sitters to life in a way previously unknown in the Netherlands. This effect, achieved by strong Baroque designs and the innovative use of loose brushstrokes to depict light on form, was not to the taste of critics in the 18th century and the early 19th, when his work was characterized as lazy and unfinished. However, with the rise of Realism and, later, Impressionism, Hals was hailed as a modern painter before his time. Since then his works have always been popular.Jan Mostaert
(c. 1475 -1555/1556) was a Dutch painter of portraits and religious subjects, though his most famous creation was the "West Indies Landscape".
Although little is known of him, Mostaert was born and lived in Haarlem for most of his life. He worked as portraitist for Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands.
Much of his work was destroyed in the great fire of Haarlem in 1576, and some paintings once attributed to him are now attributed to Adriaen Isenbrant.
Mostaert was born in or about 1475 in Haarlem, Netherlands, to a famous noble family. Said to be handsome, eloquent and polite, Mostaert honed his craft under the guidance of Jacob van Haarlem, who may have actually been the anonymous "Master of the Brunswick Diptych". He is also said to be linked to the early Haarlem School of Painting. Mostaert's name first appeared in city records in 1498, the year he married and bought a house in his birthplace. He is also mentioned in Haarlem archives from 1527 to 1554. In 1500 Mostaert was commissioned to paint the shutters for a receptacle housing the relics of Saint Bavo in the Groote Kerk, Haarlem. From this date he began to be listed in the records of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke, and continued to be frequently listed until 1549. He became deacon of the painters' guild in 1507, and again in 1543 and 1544.
His earliest works are noticeably influenced by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, an earlier Haarlem artist. Some believed that Mostaert was actually apprenticed to tot Sint Jans but it is doubtful that the artist had any apprentices or workshop assistants during his career. From tot Sint Jans, Mostaert adopted a refined style and thoughtful compositions for his works, as well as the stiff, angular look of his figures.
St. ChristopherBetween 1510 and 1516 Mostaert developed a delicate style where his doll-like figures inhabited bright, blue-skied landscapes, as for example in his "Adoration of the Magi" (c. 1510-15). His refined brushwork is precise, with an almost religious attention to detail. Also of note is the landscape, which demonstrates his leanings towards more romantic views with expansive hills. During the 1520s Mostaert was also influenced by Joachim Patinir's take on landscapes. Mostaert's "St. Christopher", a painting with a landscape that features a river receding into an expansive and hilly background, was once even attributed to Patinir.
Mostaert's portrait work of this earlier period includes a piece entitled "Portrait of Abel van den Coulster" (c. 1500-10), in which an elegant, thin-faced man is situated in equally elegant surroundings. Mostaert was known for copying original portraits for some of his courtly commissions but, as is the case with the "Portrait of Abel", he also painted figures from life and added aristocratic touches. He was known for presenting his portrait sitters in three-quarter-length and placing their hands on cushions.Jan van Goyen
Dutch Baroque Era Painter, 1596-1656
Jan van Goyen was born in Leiden on Jan. 13, 1596. Apprenticed from the age of 10, he had several masters. About 1617 he went to Haarlem to study with Esaias van de Velde, an important innovator in the Haarlem movement of realistic landscape painting. Van Goyen's works between 1621 and 1625 are sometimes hard to distinguish from those of his teacher. They are colorful, detailed views of villages and roads, usually busy with people, as in Winter (1621). It was Van Goyen's usual practice to sign or monogram and date his paintings. He traveled extensively through the Netherlands and beyond, recording his impressions in sketchbooks, occasionally with dates and often depicting recognizable scenes. Thus the chronology of his development is clear. His paintings of the late 1620s show a steady advance from the strong colors and scattered organization of his early works toward tonality and greater simplicity and unity of composition. By 1630 he was painting monochromes in golden brown or pale green; he played a leading part in the tonal phase of Dutch landscape painting. In 1631 Van Goyen settled in The Hague, where he became a citizen in 1634. The simplicity, airiness, and unification of his compositions continued to increase in his abundant production of dune landscapes, river views, seascapes, town views, and winter landscapes. The River View (1636) displays a river so open and extensive as to suggest the sea, with reflections that prolong the vast and luminous sky. In its monumentalization of humble structures and its composition built on a firm scaffolding of horizontal and vertical forces, it forecast at this early date developments that dominated landscape painting in the 1650s and later. In the Village and Dunes (1647) the traditional double-diagonal composition still exists, but it is dominated by horizontal and vertical accents. Stronger contrasts of light and dark replace the earlier tonality. In the last year of his life Van Goyen produced an eloquent new style, in which powerful forms stand out against the radiant sky and water in an exquisitely balanced composition (Evening Calm; 1656). The commission in 1651 to paint a panoramic view of The Hague for the Burgomaster's Room shows the high regard in which Van Goyen was held. He was enormously productive; well over 1,000 of his paintings still exist, and almost as many drawings.