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 :. | Madonna with the Yarnwinder ty | The Baptism of Christ | Portrait | Aurelio Luini attributed, profile of an old man | Study of the proportion of the head |
Related Artists:Nicolas Maes
Dutch Nicolas Maes Galleries
Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas (January 1634, Dordrecht - buried November 24, 1693, Amsterdam) was a Dutch Baroque painter of genre and portraits.
Maes was the son of Gerrit Maes, a prosperous merchant, and Ida Herman Claesdr. In about 1648 he went to Amsterdam, where he entered Rembrandt's studio. Before his return to Dordrecht in 1653 Maes painted a few Rembrandtesque genre pictures, with life-size figures and in a deep glowing scheme of colour, like the Reverie at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Card Players at the National Gallery, and the Children with a Goat Carriage. So closely did his early style resemble that of Rembrandt, that the last-named picture, and other canvases in the Leipzig and Budapest galleries and in the collection of Lord Radnor, were or are still ascribed to Rembrandt.
In his best period, from 1655 to 1665, Maes devoted himself to domestic genre on a smaller scale, retaining to a great extent the magic of colour he had learnt from Rembrandt. Only on rare occasions did he treat scriptural subjects, as in Hagar's Departure, which has been ascribed to Rembrandt. His favorite subjects were women spinning, or reading the Bible, or preparing a meal.
While he continued to reside in Dordrecht until 1673, when he settled in Amsterdam, he visited or even lived in Antwerp between 1665 and 1667. His Antwerp period coincides with a complete change in style and subject. He devoted himself almost exclusively to portraiture, and abandoned the intimacy and glowing color harmonies of his earlier work for a careless elegance which suggests the influence of Van Dyck. So great indeed was the change, that it gave rise to the theory of the existence of another Maes, of Brussels.
Maes is well represented at the London National Gallery by five paintings: The Cradle, The Dutch Housewife, The Idle Servant, The Card Players, and a man's portrait. At Amsterdam, besides the splendid examples to be found at the Rijksmuseum, is the Inquisitive Servant of the Six collection. At Buckingham Palace is The Listening Girl (repetitions exist), and at Apsley House Selling Milk and The Listener. Other notable examples are at the Berlin, Brussels, St Petersburg, the Hague, Frankfort, Hanover and Munich galleries.Theodore Frere
French Painter, 1814-1888Fernand Khnopff
1858-1921 Belgian Fernand Khnopff Gallery Fernand Khnopff was born to a wealthy family that was part of the high bourgeoisie for generations. Khnopff's ancestors had lived in Flanders since the early 17th-century but were of Austrian and Portuguese descent. Most male members of his family had been lawyers or judges, and young Fernand was destined for a juridical career. In his early childhood (1859-1864) he lived in Bruges where his father was appointed Substitut Du Procureur Du Roi. His childhood memories of the medieval city of Bruges would play a significant role in his later work. In 1864 the family moved to Brussels. To please his parents he went to law school at the Free University of Brussels (now divided into the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) when he was 18 years old. During this period he developed a passion for literature, discovering the works of Baudelaire, Flaubert, Leconte de Lisle and other mostly French authors. With his younger brother Georges Khnopff - also a passionate amateur of contemporary music and poetry - he started to frequent Jeune Belgique ("Young Belgium"), a group of young writers including Max Waller, Georges Rodenbach, Iwan Gilkin and Emile Verhaeren. Khnopff left University due to a lack of interest in his law studies and began to frequent the studio of Xavier Mellery, who made him familiar with the art of painting. On the 25th of October 1876 he enrolled for the Cours De Dessin Apres Nature ("course of drawing after nature") at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts en Bruxelles. At the Academie, his most famous fellow student was James Ensor, whom he disliked from the start. Between 1877 and 1880 Khnopff made several trips to Paris where he discovered the work of Delacroix, Ingres, Moreau and Stevens. At the Paris World Fair of 1878 he became acquainted with the oeuvre of Millais and Burne-Jones. During his last year at the Acad??mie in 1878-1879 he neglected his classes in Brussels and lived for a while in Passy, were he visited the Cours Libres of Jules Joseph Lefebvre at the Acad??mie Julian.