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 | John the Baptist | Madonna Benois Madonna with a Flower | Saint John the Baptist | The Madonna of the Carnation |
Related Artists:Francesco Fontebasso
(4 October 1707 - 31 May 1769) was an Italian painter painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo period of Venice. He first apprenticed with Sebastiano Ricci, but was strongly influenced by his contemporary, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. In 1761, Fontebasso visited Saint Petersburg and produced ceiling paintings and decorations for the Winter Palace. Fontebasso returned to Venice in 1768. He helped decorate a chapel in San Francesco della Vigna.
He died in Venice in 1769.
French Realist Painter, 1819-1877
Gustave Courbet was born at Ornans on June 10, 1819. He appears to have inherited his vigorous temperament from his father, a landowner and prominent personality in the Franche-Comt region. At the age of 18 Gustave went to the College Royal at Besançon. There he openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the traditional classical subjects he was obliged to study, going so far as to lead a revolt among the students. In 1838 he was enrolled as an externe and could simultaneously attend the classes of Charles Flajoulot, director of the cole des Beaux-Arts. At the college in Besançon, Courbet became fast friends with Max Buchon, whose Essais Poetiques (1839) he illustrated with four lithographs. In 1840 Courbet went to Paris to study law, but he decided to become a painter and spent much time copying in the Louvre. In 1844 his Self-Portrait with Black Dog was exhibited at the Salon. The following year he submitted five pictures; only one, Le Guitarrero, was accepted. After a complete rejection in 1847, the Liberal Jury of 1848 accepted all 10 of his entries, and the critic Champfleury, who was to become Courbet's first staunch apologist, highly praised the Walpurgis Night. Courbet achieved artistic maturity with After Dinner at Ornans, which was shown at the Salon of 1849. By 1850 the last traces of sentimentality disappeared from his work as he strove to achieve an honest imagery of the lives of simple people, but the monumentality of the concept in conjunction with the rustic subject matter proved to be widely unacceptable. At this time the notion of Courbet's "vulgarity" became current as the press began to lampoon his pictures and criticize his penchant for the ugly. His nine entries in the Salon of 1850 included the Portrait of Berlioz, the Man with the Pipe, the Return from the Fair, the Stone Breakers, and, largest of all, the Burial at Ornans, which contains over 40 life-size figures whose rugged features and static poses are reinforced by the somber landscape. A decade later Courbet wrote: "The basis of realism is the negation of the ideal. Burial at Ornans was in reality the burial of romanticism." In 1851 the Second Empire was officially proclaimed, and during the next 20 years Courbet remained an uncompromising opponent of Emperor Napoleon III. At the Salon of 1853, where the painter exhibited three works, the Emperor pronounced one of them, The Bathers, obscene; nevertheless, it was purchased by a Montpellier innkeeper, Alfred Bruyas, who became the artist's patron and host. While visiting Bruyas in 1854 Courbet painted his first seascapes. Among them is the Seashore at Palavas, in which the artist is seen waving his hat at the great expanse of water. In a letter to Jules Vall's written in this period Courbet remarked: "Oh sea! Your voice is tremendous, but it will never succeed in drowning out the voice of Fame shouting my name to the entire world." Courbet was handsome and flamboyant, naively boastful, and aware of his own worth. His extraordinary selfconfidence is also evident in another painting of 1854, The Meeting, in which Courbet, stick in hand, approaches Bruyas and his servant, who welcome him with reverential attitudes. It has recently been shown that the picture bears a relationship to the theme of the Wandering Jew as it was commonly represented in the naive imagery of the popular Épinal prints. Of the 14 paintings Courbet submitted to the Paris World Exhibition of 1855, 3 major ones were rejected. In retaliation, he showed 40 of his pictures at a private pavilion he erected opposite the official one. In the preface to his catalog Courbet expressed his intention "to be able to represent the customs, the ideas, the appearance of my own era according to my own valuation; to be not only a painter but a man as well; in short, to create living art." One of the rejected works was the enormous painting The Studio, the full title of which was Real Allegory, Representing a Phase of Seven Years of My Life as a Painter. The work is charged with a symbolism which, in spite of obvious elements, remains obscure. At the center, between the two worlds expressed by the inhabitants of the left and right sides of the picture, is Courbet painting a landscape while a nude looks over his shoulder and a child admires his work. Champfleury found the notion of a "real allegory" ridiculous and concluded that Courbet had lost the conviction and simplicity of the earlier works. Young Ladies by the Seine (1856) only served to further convince the critic of Courbet's diminished powers. But if Courbet had begun to disappoint the members of the old realist circle, his popular reputation, particularly outside France, was growing. He visited Frankfurt in 1858-1859, where he took part in elaborate hunting parties and painted a number of scenes based on direct observation. His Stag Drinking was exhibited in Besançon, where Courbet won a medal, and in 1861 his work, as well as a lecture on his artistic principles, met with great success in Antwerp. With the support of the critic Jules Castagnary, Courbet opened a school where students dissatisfied with the training at the cole des Beaux-Arts could hear him extol the virtues of independence from authority and dedication to nature. Nicolaas Baur
who was born at Harlingen in 1767, was the son of Hendricus Antonius Baur, a portrait painter (born 1736, died 1817). He painted landscapes and views of cities, and many houses in Holland are embellished by his works. He also painted moonlight and winter scenes; and was particularly successful in marine subjects. He is considered one of the best of the later Dutch marine painters. He died at Harlingen in 1820.