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 Battle of Anghiari | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | The Annunciation d | Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks |
Related Artists:Hans Holbein
Hans Holbein Galleries
Holbein always made highly detailed pencil drawings of his portrait subjects, often supplemented with ink and colored chalk. The drawings emphasize facial detail and usually did not include the hands; clothing was only indicated schematically. The outlines of these drawings were then transferred onto the support for the final painting using tiny holes in the paper through which powdered charcoal was transmitted; in later years Holbein used a kind of carbon paper. The final paintings thus had the same scale as the original drawings. Although the drawings were made as studies for paintings, they stand on their own as independent, finely wrought works of art. How many portraits have been lost can be seen from Holbein's book (nearly all pages in the Royal Collection) containing preparatory drawings for portraits - of eighty-five drawings, only a handful have surviving Holbein paintings, though often copies have survived.
David Hockney has speculated in the Hockney-Falco thesis that Holbein used a concave mirror to project an image of the subject onto the drawing surface. The image was then traced. However this thesis has not met with general acceptance from art historians.
A subtle ability to render character may be noted in Holbein's work, as can be seen in his portraits of Thomas Cromwell, Desiderius Erasmus, and Henry VIII. The end results are convincing as definitive images of the subjects' appearance and personality.Theodore Gudin
French Painter, 1802-1880
was a French painter of the 19th century. He especially painted navy scenes, and was a pupil of Girodet-Trioson. Gudin was one of the first Peintres de la Marine, at the court of Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III. Pieter Bruegel
Greatest Netherlandish painter of the 16th century. Not much is known of his early life, but in 1551 he set off for Italy, where he produced his earliest signed painting, Landscape with Christ and the Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (c. 1553). Returning to Flanders in 1555, he achieved some fame with a series of satirical, moralizing prints in the style of Hiëronymus Bosch, commissioned by an Antwerp engraver. He is best known for his paintings of Netherlandish proverbs, seasonal landscapes, and realistic views of peasant life and folklore, but he also took a novel approach to religious subject matter, portraying biblical events in panoramic scenes, often viewed from above. He had many important patrons; most of his paintings were commissioned by collectors. In addition to many drawings and engravings, about 40 authenticated paintings from his enormous output have survived.