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 :. | Saint John the Baptist | Detail of Madonna of the Rocks | Leda | Virgin of the Rocks (mk10) | Virgin and Child with St Anne |
Related Artists:Johann Heinrich Schonfeldt
German , Biberach 1609-Augsburg 1682/83
1866 - 1929William Peters
(1742 - 20 March 1814) was an English portrait and genre painter who later became an Anglican clergyman and chaplain to George IV. He became known as "William" when he started signing his works as "W. Peters".
Peters was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, the son of Matthew Peters (born at Belfast, 1711), a civil engineer and member of the Royal Dublin Society; by Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of George Younge of Dublin. The family moved from England to Dublin when Peters was young, where his father "advised on the improvement of loughs and rivers for navigation". and published two treastises on the subject.
Peters received his artistic training from Robert West in Dublin; in 1756 and 1758 he received prizes from the first School of Design in Dublin. In 1759, he was sent by the Dublin Society to London to become a student of Thomas Hudson and won a premium from the Society of Arts. The group also paid for him to travel to Italy to study art from 1761 to 1765. On 23 September 1762 he was elected to the Accademia del Disegno in Florence. Peters returned to England in 1765 and exhibited works at the Society of Artists from 1766 to 1769. Beginning in 1769, Peters exhibited works at the Royal Academy. In 1771 he was elected an associate and in 1777 an academician. He returned to Italy in 1771 and stayed until 1775. He also probably traveled to Paris in 1783-84, where he met Leopold Boilly, Antoine Vestier, and was influenced by the work of Jean-Baptiste Greuze.
On 27 February 1769, Peters became a freemason, and he was made the grand portrait painter of the Freemasons and the first provincial grand master of Lincolnshire in 1792. In 1785, he exhibited portraits of the Duke of Manchester and Lord Petre as Grand Master at the Royal Academy exhibition.