LEONARDO da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
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 :. | Mona Lisa | Madonna Litta (detail sdg | Studies of horses | Portrats of two men | The Madonna of the Carnation (detail) sg |
Related Artists:Jean-Baptiste Huysmans
Jean Urbain Guerin
French, 1760-1836Gabriel Metsu
Gabriël Metsu (January 1629 - buried 24 October 1667) was a Dutch painter of history paintings, genre works and portraits.
Metsu was the son of the Flemish painter Jacques Metsu (c.1588-1629), who lived most of his days at Leiden, and Jacomijntje Garniers, his third wife, whom he married in 1625. Jacomijntje was the widow of a painter with three children of her own. Two months after Gabriël's birth, his father died.
According to Jacobus Houbraken, Metsu was taught by Gerard Dou, though his early works do not lend colour to this assertion. He was influenced by painters of Leiden such as Jan Steen, and later by Frans van Mieris the Elder.
Metsu was registered among the first members of the painters' corporation at Leiden; and the books of the guild also tell us that he remained a member in 1649. In Leiden, it was alleged that Metsu left a brothel at six in the morning and took a prostitute to the Academy. In 1650 he ceased to subscribe, and works bearing his name and the date of 1653 support the belief that he had moved. Metsu was trained in Utrecht by Jan Baptist Weenix and Nicolaus Knepfer.
In Amsterdam Metsu lived in an alley on Prinsengracht, where he kept chickens. He got into an argument with a neighbor and moved to a house on the canal side, where a daily vegetable market was held. In 1658 he married Isabella de Wolff, whose father was a potter and mother a painter. The Speed Art Museum has a portrait of the couple. Pieter de Grebber, a religious painter from Haarlem, was her uncle.
At the onset of the 1660s Metsu turned for inspiration to the art of the "fijnschilders" from his native Leiden. Metsu was responding to the market of Dou's paintings, who sold his paintings all over for exorbitant prices. Metsu may have also influenced Pieter de Hoogh. Around the year 1661, Metsu won the patronage of the Amsterdam cloth merchant Jan J. Hinlopen and painted his family more than once in a fashionable surrounding.
The Poultry-Seller, 1662
At least thirteen of paintings show carpets and he probably used the same model. He included several fine examples of minutely depicted floral and cloudband carpets in his works and even a silk Oriental rug, as well as so-called "Lotto" rugs which he for some reason, in contrast to his meticulous rendering of the floral carpets, depicted only in a very sketchy fashion. After Metsu died, his widow left for Enkhuizen, to live with her mother.