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Curtain with semicircular salients

Cortina con salienti semicircolari

Detail of a curtain showing the access areas and the space reserved for the embrasures. The latter were designed to be located at the rear of the curtain in order not to undermine the front wall structure. The curtain has plenty of space for the troops' convenience, and provides an outlet for the fumes and the thunder of the guns. The model shown here features innovative roofing. The folio comprises drawings of fortifications, which can be dated around 1502. They illustrate a study of a curtain with buttresses and semicircular salients. No captions. Top right is an orthograph of a curtain with buttresses and convex roofing. Bottom left are three sketches depicting a cutaway view of the buttresses. This detail of the relief model shows the structure of the curtain. The internal passageways, the access to the space reserved for the embrasures, the form of the salients and the top roofing in the shape of a paraboloid are clearly visible. The folio comprises drawings which are upside down. It shows two illustrations of the curtain with buttresses and semicircular salients contained in folio 63 of the same manuscript (see Curtain with semicircular salients - Detail No 3). No captions. The folio can be dated to around 1502. On top is a cutaway view of a stronghold with tunnels for reaching the embrasures. At bottom is a perspective view from above of a section of a curtain with buttresses forming a gored arrangement. Every detail in the drawing highlights the defensive as well as offensive (i.e. the heavily guarded embrasures) capacity of this feat of miliary engineering. Particolare del modello del Museo Detail of a curtain showing the shape and structure of the semicircular salients. The building skeleton embodies Leonardo's teachings on brickwork and the structure of arches. The old technique of building with clay tiles consisted in burying the arches in the vertical walls, so as to equalize the load between two lateral forces. Leonardo ingeniously envisages the possibility of applying this practice to a horizontal plane of projection. The folio, which can be dated between 1498 and 1502, contains a drawing in pen and sepia ink. It depicts a feat of military architecture with accompanying caption above. The lower portion of the folio shows studies of a fortified place with semicircular buttresses. The moat and its counterscarp are only partially drawn. Interestingly, the wall structure of the buttresses is made up of headers converging at the centre of the wall. The caption above is noteworthy, albeit not relevant to the drawing, "I'll tell you what: when stricken with another object, the smallest-mouthed sounding vase produces a much lower, deeper sound than its wide-mouthed version". Leonardo's aim is to make a comparison between the sound caused by striking the rim of a small vase and the noise produced by a firearm. At the same time, Leonardo investigates the mechanical effects triggered by firing a weapon.

Manuscript L, sheet 48 r. - Manuscript L, sheet 51 v. - Manuscript L, sheet 63 r.


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