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 :. | Flower Studies | The Battle of Anghiari | The Virgin of the Rocks | Reverse side of the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci | Regisol |
Related Artists:John Shackleton
was a British painter and draughtsman who produced history paintings and portraits. His parents and origins are unknown.
Shackleton painted several surviving portraits, for example of Henry Pelham (National Portrait Gallery), William Windham (1717 - 1761; now at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk), and of John Bristowe, steward to the first duke of Newcastle (now in the Reitlinger Museum of Fine Art, Maidenhead).
From 1749 he was Principal Painter in Ordinary to George II and George III. He continued to be paid for portraits of the king and queen up even during 1765 - 6, when their official portraits were being done by Allan Ramsay. Several examples of his and his studio's output of royal portraits survive - one of George II dated 1755 is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; another of George II in Room 2 of the British Museum, London (commissioned by the museum in 1759 - the Museum also holds engravings after his paintings), along with two more of George II in the Royal Collection and others in Fishmongers' Hall, London, and Maidenhead Museum.
Bernardo Strozzi Galleries
Strozzi was born in Genoa. He was probably not related to the other Strozzi family.
In 1598, at the age of 17, he joined a Capuchin monastery, a reform branch of the Franciscan order. When his father died c1608, he left the order to care for his mother, earning their living with his paintings, which were often influenced by Franciscan teachings, for example his Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1615) . In 1625, he was charged with illegally practicing as a painter. When his mother died c1630, Bernardo was pressured in court by the Capuchin's to re-enter the order. He was briefly imprisoned in Genoa , and upon release fled to Venice to avoid confinement in a monastery in 1631. He became nicknamed all his life as il prete Genovese (the Genoa priest).
Saint Christopher, by Strozzi.Early paintings, such as The Ecstasy of St Francis show the dark emotionalism of Caravaggio. But by the second decade of the 17th century, while working in Venice, Strozzi had synthesized a personal style which fused painterly influences of the North (including Rubens and Veronese) with a monumental realistic starkness. For example, in the painting The Incredulity of Thomas, the background is muted, yet Jesus' face, haloed and his outline, misty, in a style atypical of Caravaggio. Never as dark as the Caravaggisti, Venice infused his painting with a gentler edge, a style more acceptable to the local patronage, and one derived from his precursors in Venice, Jan Lys (died 1629) and Domenico Fetti (died 1626), who had also fused the influence of Caravaggio into Venetian art. Examples of this style can be found in his Parable of the Wedding Guests (1630),Christ giving keys of Heaven to Saint Peter (1630),, Saint Lawrence distributing Alms at San Nicol?? da Tolentino and a Personification of Fame (1635-6). He was also likely influenced by Velazquez (who visited Genoa in 1629-30).
After a commission to paint Claudio Monteverdi his fame grew, and his portrait paintings included many of the leading Venetians. His pupils and painter strongly influenced by him included Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari (1598-1669), Giovanni Bernardo Carbone, Valerio Castello and, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione.Theodore Robinson
Theodore Robinson (July 3, 1852 ?C April 2, 1896) was an American painter best known for his impressionist landscapes. He was one of the first American artists to take up impressionism in the late 1880s, visiting Giverny and developing a close friendship with Claude Monet. Several of his works are considered masterpieces of American Impressionism.
In 1884 Robinson returned to France where he would live for the next eight years, visiting America only occasionally. Robinson gravitated to Giverny, which had become a center of French impressionist art under the influence of Claude Monet.
La Debacle, 1892, collection: Scripps College, Claremont, CaliforniaHistorians are unclear when Robinson met Monet, but by 1888 their friendship was enough for Robinson to move in next door to the famous impressionist. Robinson's art shifted to a more traditional impressionistic manner during this time, likely due to Monet's influence. While a number of American artists had gathered at Giverny, none were as close to Monet as Robinson. Monet offered advice to Robinson, and he likewise solicited Robinson for opinions on Monet's own works in progress.
At Giverny, Robinson painted what art historians regard as some of his finest works. These depicted the surrounding countryside in different weather, in the plein air tradition, sometimes with women shown in leisurely poses. An example of his mature work during this period is La Debacle (1892) in the collection of Scripps College, Claremont California.