The excellence of the following Treatise is so well known to all in any tolerable degree conversant with the Art of Painting, that it would be almost superfluous to say any thing respecting it, were it not that it here appears under the form of a new translation, of which fome account may be expected.
Of the original Work, which is in reality a selection from the voluminous manuscript collections of the Author, both in Solio and Quarto, of all such passages as related to Painting, no edition appeared in print till 1651.
Though its Author died so long before as the year 1519; and it is owing to the circumstance of a manuscript copy of these extracts in the original Italian, having fallen into the hands of “Raphael” that in the former of these years it was published at Paris in a thin folio volume in that language, accompanied with a set of cuts from the drawings of Niccolo Pouissin, and Alberti, the former having designed and defined the human figures, the latter the geometrical and other representations..
The first translation of this Treatise into English, appeared in the year 1721. It does not declare by whom it was made; but though it prosesses to have been done from the original Italian, it is evident, upon a comparison, that more use was made of the revised edition of the French translation. Indifferent, however, as it is, it had become fo scarce, and risen to a price fo extravagant, that, to supply the demand, it was found necessary, in the year 1796, to reprint it as it stood, with all its errors on its head, no opportunity then offering of procuring a french translation.
This last impression, however, being now alfo disposed of, and a new one again called for, the present Translator was induced to step forward, and undertake the office of frenh translating it, on finding, by comparing the former versions both in French and English with the original, many passages which he thought might at once be more concisely and more faithfully rendered.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest polymaths of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.
His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".
Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.
Born out of wedlock to a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, in Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, and he spent his last years in France at the home awarded him by Francis I.
Leonardo was, and is, renowned as one of the greatest painters of all time. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam.
Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings have survived, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.
Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, an armoured vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.