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 :. | Hi Hieronymus | Saint jean-Baptiste | Studies fur the adoration of the Konige | la scapigliata | Madonna in the rock grotto |
Related Artists:Ayne Bru
Ayne (Aine) Bru (probably a Catalanization of Hans Bren) was a 16th century Renaissance painter of German origin who worked in Catalonia. He may have proceeded from Lummen, in the Duchy of Brabant. He is sometimes also called Lucius de Brun. His surname may also suggest provenance from the town of Brenn.
In 1502, he was hired to paint the main altar (retablo) in the church of the monastery of Sant Cugat del Valles, for which he was paid a staggering wage between 1504 and 1507.
On the central panel, Bru depicted the martyrdom of Saint Cucuphas (in Catalan, Sant Cugat) with enormous realism. The executioner cuts the saint's throat while Cucuphas remains tied to a tree trunk. Nearby, there appear another knife (in a basket) and a dog sleeping peacefully. This work is now at the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya).
The dog from Bru's painting of Cucuphas' martyrdom was later borrowed by Salvador Dale for a painting called "Dale Contemplating Nude" or "Dale Dale Dale".
The vast countryside that serves as a background anachronistically includes the actual monastery of Sant Cugat. Another panel, depicting Saint George (sometimes identified as Saint Candidus or simply as "Warrior Saint"), was attached to this one. It has been rejoined and is visible at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
Marcel Durliat believes that though the expressionism in this painting is evidence of a Germanic artistic tradition, Bru's Quattrocento depiction of the standing figures in contemporary dress, as well as other details, indicate that the painter may have lived or studied in Northern Italy before moving to Barcelona.Wilmot Pilsbury,RWS
Bernardo Lopez Gallery