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 :. | La Belle Ferronniere | La Gioconda (The Mona Lisa) | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry | The Battle of Anghiari | Madonna Benois Madonna with a Flower |
Related Artists:Leon Kaplinski
(1824-1873) was a Polish painter and political activist.
Born 1824 in Lisew not far from Warsaw, Leon was the son of a small landowner and an eminent freemason Jan Kaplieski. The Kaplieskis were a Frankist family; his grandfather Eliasz Adam Kaplieski was one of the last known Frankists. Leon Kaplieski studied law and philosophy in Warsaw and Wrocław (Breslau). He was engaged in revolutionary underground groups, fled from the part of Poland under Russian rule, was briefly held and interrogated by the Prussian police, and took part in the revolutionary movement in 1848. In the same year Kaplieski emigrated to Paris where he spent most of his remaining years. He took part in Polish emigre political activities, closely connected with the circle of Hotel Lambert and the Czartoryski family, accompanied the Count Witold Czartoryski during his trip to the Balkans and the Near East. Kaplieski also edited the periodical Ephemerides Polonaises. He was married to Helena Hryniewiecka. In 1871 he moved back to Poland, living mostly in Krakew, and died in 1873 in Milosław. He befriended several well-known Polish artists and writers, including Henryk Rodakowski, Jan Matejka, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid.
Kaplieski studied art in Poland and later in Paris. His first known works are copies of paintings by famous Italian artists; later he became known and appreciated for his patriotic historical paintings as Wernyhora (1855). His best works are portraits: of his mother Julia (1860), the writer Bohdan Zaleski (1857), Count Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (about 1860), and an autoportrait as a Templar (about 1872). Many of his paintings and other works have perished or been lost. Mainly influenced by classical Italian art and his contemporary Rodakowski, L.K. continued the tradition of academic painting and had no interest for the emerging modernist tendencies of the mid-nineteenth century. He won some recognition in France, participating in the Paris art salons. L.K. wrote some poems and a short novel Nad Wisłą (On Wisla).
Joos van craesbeck
c.1606-1654 Pollaiuolo, Jacopo
Painter, brother of Antonio Pollaiuolo. He was described as a painter in the membership records of the Compagnia di S Luca, which he joined in 1472. According to tradition, he initially trained under Andrea del Castagno. In his 1480 tax return Piero reported that he had a small house adjoining the family home '...which I use when I have painting to do'. He produced many paintings for the Florentine workshop,