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 :. | Head and shoulders Christs | Reverse side of the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci sg | Reverse side of the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci | Profile of a child | Portrat of a Madchens |
Related Artists:Pieter Claesz
Dutch 1597-1660 Pieter Claesz Locations
Dutch painter of German birth. He apparently spent his entire career in Haarlem, where he specialized in still-life paintings. Well over 100 works survive, dating from 1621 to 1660. Most of his pictures are dated and monogrammed PC. Since those initials were shared by the Antwerp still-life painter CLARA PEETERS, several attributions are disputed.Thomas Hovenden
Thomas Hovenden Gallery
Thomas Hovenden (December 28, 1840 ?C August 14, 1895), was an Irish-American artist and teacher. He painted realistic quiet family scenes, narrative subjects and often depicted African Americans.
Hovenden was born in Dunmanway, Co. Cork, Ireland. His parents died at the time of the potato famine and he was placed in an orphanage at the age of six. Apprenticed to a carver and gilder, he studied at the Cork School of Design.
In 1863, he immigrated to the United States. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He moved to Baltimore in 1868 and then left for Paris in 1874. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Cabanel, but spent most of his time with the American colony at Pont-Aven in Brittany led by Robert Wylie, where he painted many pictures of the peasantry.
Returning to America in 1880, he became a member of the Society of American Artists and an Associate member of the National Academy of Design (elected Academician in 1882). He married Helen Corson in 1881, an artist he had met in Pont-Aven, and settled at her father's homestead in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. She came from a family of abolitionists and her home was a stop on the underground railroad. Their barn, later used as Hovenden's studio, was known as Abolitionist Hall due to its use for anti-slavery meetings.
He was commissioned to paint a historical picture of the abolitionist leader John Brown. He finished "The Last Moments of John Brown" (now in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) in 1884. His "Breaking Home Ties", a picture of American farm life, was engraved with considerable popular success.
In 1886, he was appointed Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, replacing Thomas Eakins who was dismissed due to his use of nude models. Among Hovenden's students were the sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder and the leader of the Ashcan School, Robert Henri.
Hovenden was killed at the age of 54, along with a ten-year old girl, by a railroad locomotive at a crossing near his home in Plymouth Meeting. Newspaper accounts reported that his death was the result of a heroic effort to save the girl, while a coroner's inquest determined his death was an accident.Francois Gerard
French Neoclassical Painter, 1770-1837
was a French painter born in Rome, where his father occupied a post in the house of the French ambassador. His mother was Italian. François Gerard was born in Rome, on 12 March 1770, to J. S. Gerard and Cleria Matteï. At the age of twelve Gerard obtained admission into the Pension du Roi in Paris. From the Pension he passed to the studio of the sculptor Augustin Pajou which he left at the end of two years for that of the history painter Nicolas-Guy Brenet, whom he quit almost immediately to place himself under Jacques-Louis David. In 1789 he competed for the Prix de Rome, which was carried off by his comrade Girodet. In the following year (1790) he again presented himself, but the death of his father prevented the completion of his work, and obliged him to accompany his mother to Rome. In 1791 he returned to Paris; but his poverty was so great that he was forced to forgo his studies in favor of employment which should bring in immediate profit. David at once availed himself of his help, and one of that master's most celebrated portraits, of Le Pelletier de St Fargeaumay, owes much to the hand of Gerard. This painting was executed early in 1793, the year in which Gerard, at the request of David, was named a member of the revolutionary tribunal, from the fatal decisions of which he, however, invariably absented himself. In 1794 he obtained the first prize in a competition, the subject of which was The Tenth of August, and, further stimulated by the successes of his rival and friend Girodet in the Salons of 1793 and 1794, Gerard (nobly aided by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, the miniaturist, produced in 1795 his famous Belisaire. In 1796 a portrait of his generous friend (in the Louvre) obtained undisputed success, and the money received from Isabey for these two works enabled Gerard to execute in 1797 his Psyche et l'Amour (illustration). At last, in 1799, his portrait of Madame Mere established his position as one of the first portrait-painters of the day. In 1808 as many as eight, in 1810 no less than fourteen portraits by him, were exhibited at the Salon, and these figures afford only an indication of the enormous numbers which he executed yearly; all the leading figures of the Empire and of the Restoration, all the most celebrated men and women of Europe, sat to Gerard. This extraordinary vogue was due partly to the charm of his manner and conversation, for his salon was as much frequented as his studio; Madame de Staël, George Canning, Talleyrand, the Duke of Wellington, have all borne witness to the attraction of his society. Rich and famous, Gerard was stung by remorse for earlier ambitions abandoned; at intervals he had indeed striven to prove his strength with Girodet and other rivals, and his Bataille d'Austerlitz (1810) showed a breadth of invention and style which are even more conspicuous in L'Entree d'Henri IV Paris (at Versailles), the work with which in 1817 he did homage to the Bourbons. After this date Gerard declined,