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 :. | The Madonna of the Carnation (detail) sg | Study fur the Sforza-Reiterstandbild | Profile one with book leaves gekroten of old man | The Annunciation | Annunciation (detail) fg47 |
Related Artists:Francois Auguste Biard
(1800-1882) , a French genre painterCAMPI, Giulio
Italian Painter, ca.1502-1572
The eldest of a family prominent painters, Campi was born at Cremona. His father Galeazzo (1475-1536) taught him the first lessons in art.
In 1522, in Mantua, he studied painting, architecture, and modelling under Giulio Romano. He visited Rome, became an ardent student of the antique, and like Bernardino ?? distantly related to him ?? he combined a Lombard and Roman traditions. He collaborated on some works with Camillo Boccaccino, the son of Boccaccio Boccaccino, with whom Campi may also have received training.
Campi is called the "Ludovico Carracci of Cremona" although he preceded the founder of the Eclectics. When but twenty-seven Giulio executed for the church of Sant' Abbondio his masterpiece, a Virgin and Child with Sts. Celsus and Nazarus, a decoration masterly in the freedom of its drawing and in the splendour of its colour. His numerous paintings are grandly and reverently conceived, freely drawn, vigorously coloured, lofty in style, and broadly handled. He was animated in all his work by a deep piety. Numerous of his fresco works are housed in churches of Cremona, Mantua, Milan and in the church of Saint Margaret's, in his native town. Among his chief works are the Descent from the Cross (S. Sigismondo) at Cremona, and the frescoes in the dome of S. Girolamo at Mantua. An altar-piece in S. Sigismondo and his Labours of Hercules were engraved by the celebrated Ghiso, il Mantovano.
He died in Cremona in 1572.