Friday, December 01, 2006

Random Bits of Fortification

Fortification wasn't originally limited to engineers. Many early fortification designers were also noted architects, painters, and sculptors, including Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Martini, and Sangallo. In their designs--only in manuscript form--we see the same presentation styles as later designers (i.e., plan and perspective views). For more information see:

Marani, P.C. (1985). Disegni di fortficazioni da Leonardo a Michelangelo. Firenze : Cantini.

Durer was also interested in fortifications. Late in life he wrote Befestigungslehre, a treatise on warfare. Unlike later works specifically on fortification, Durer's work is very text-heavy and uses both plan and perspective views. It is also notable due to Durer's use of profile views, a development is consistent with earlier artisan uses (as evidenced by Villard's sketch book) but is notably absent from the fortification sketches of Leonardo or Michaelangelo.

Dürer, Albrecht (1980). Befestigungslehre. Nördlingen : A. Uhl.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One More: Vincenti and Fortifications

Fortification designs are fascinating. The early efforts of Bachot are somewhat crude. It seems that subsequent authors were engaged in a process of successive iteration to perfect their designs. Of course, designs had to be tested in actual engagements. In Vauban's time, these experiences were captured in siege journals. Prior to that time, engineers had to wander the earth collecting insight. They were, in essence, the centers of calculation. This model is consistent with Turnbull's thoughts on medieval practice. It may also explain the importance of certain locations such as Malta.
Quick Thoughts

I had some very quick thoughts about the direction of my dissertation. Various different types of authors are beginning to emerge in my thinking. Some of the TM authors were clearly military engineers. The most obvious example is Ramelli. Errard and Bachot, however, may have gained more notoriety through their fortification designs. Lorini is also a noted TM author who is primarily known as a fortification engineer.

The sketch book may have been an important The sketchbook at the LOC certainly seems to point to this range of practices.

Another slew of authors had more civil aspirations. Bockler and de Caus explored gardens and automata in addition to hydraulic machinery. Joseph Furttenbach had even wider interests and included fortifications and cannon in his designs.

Heinrich Schickhardt presents another view on the machine books. As a civil engineer, he was concerned with both architecture and early industrial machinery. It's unclear if he also explored fortifications although his designs seem primarily civil/industrial rather than martial.

In all of this Besson is an enigma. What exactly was that dude up to? His background is anomalous.