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 (detail) dft | Profile one with book leaves gekroten of old man | Profile of a man | Annunciation (detail) dfe | Self Portrait |
Related Artists:Edward Caledon Bruce
painted Robert E. Lee in 1865Moritz Kellerhoven
(1758-1830), sometimes referenced as Moritz Keller Hoven, was an Austrian painter and etcher.
Kellerhoven was born in Duchy of Berg, and spent some time studying art in Antwerp, Vienna, and Italy. He specialized in painting portraits, including many royal subjects. Kellerhoven died in Munich in 1830.
Eduard Gaertner Gallery
German painter and lithographer. His father was a master carpenter and his mother a gold embroiderer, and he had his first drawing lessons in 1811 in Kassel, where he had gone with his mother after the occupation of Berlin. After returning to Berlin he became in 1814 an apprentice painter at the Kenigliche Porzellanmanufaktur; and from 1821 he studied under Carl Wilhelm Gropius (1793-1870), then engaged as a painter of stage sets at the Kenigliches Theater in Berlin and also known for his townscapes. Here Gaertner developed skill in the rendering of perspective. He first exhibited at the Akademie der Kenste, Berlin, in the following year. In 1824-5 he was commissioned to paint interior views of Berlin Cathedral (see fig.) and the chapel of the Schloss Charlottenburg (both Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg). In return, he was granted funds to enable him to spend three years in Paris, where he studied under Francois Bertin. Gaertner views of Paris already show his gift for lighting and use of staffage. His special ability lay in his understanding of the character of a city as the work of its inhabitants. After his return to Berlin he swiftly established himself as the leading painter of urban views, which he regularly showed at Berlin Akademie exhibitions. Interest in this genre grew along with the spate of building activity in Berlin after the end of the wars against Napoleon. There was a fresh interest in paintings of new buildings in particular, intended for a local rather than a visitors market. Two large views of the former Berlin Schloss, The Schleterhof and The Eosanderhof (both 1831; Potsdam, Neues Pal.), show Gaertner bold use of light and shadow. With the six-part panorama View over Berlin from the Roof of the Friedrich-Wedersche Church (1834; Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg) Gaertner showed the spread of the city by this time. After painting a replica of this work for the Prussian king daughter Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, in 1835-6 (St Petersburg, Hermitage), Gaertner visited Russia in 1837, and again from 1838 to 1839, staying in both St Petersburg and Moscow. He completed a large number of city views, including a three-part view of The Kremlin (1839; Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg), commissioned by Frederick William III. With the death of the Prussian king in 1840, Gaertner lost his most powerful patron and interest in his work began to wane as it came to seem too stiff and objective to Romantic sensibilities. Gaertner tried to adapt to the change in taste, adopting a more painterly approach; in particular, he paid attention to effects of lighting. The vogue for city views had passed its peak, however, and Gaertner turned to landscape painting. Journeys to Prague in 1841-2, through West and East Prussia in 1845-6, and to Silesia in 1848-51 introduced new subjects; but it was architecture rather than setting that most engaged Gaertner attention. At this period he occasionally also invented ideal landscape settings for real buildings, as in the Ruined Monastery of Lehnin in an Imaginary Mountain Landscape (Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg). Gaertner also produced watercolours of interiors and lithographs of both landscape and city views; but after the middle of the century his productivity in all respects dwindled. (An example of his work from this period is his oil painting of the Bauakademie and Friedrich-Wedersche-Kirche in Berlin (1868; Berlin, Tiergarten, N.G.; see SCHINKEL, KARL FRIEDRICH, fig. 2).) The rise of photography appeared to be making the architectural painter redundant.