Leonardo in Perspective

Renaissance or “rebirth” is the term used to describe the rediscovery and development of the classical Arts, philosophies and sciences of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. Application and development of those disciplines was a progressive but rapid movement away from medieval thinking.
Florence from the 14th Century developed into the centre for trade and commerce; this generated vast wealth controlled by ruling elites. These elite provided patronage (Commissioning and funding) for the Arts, improving the prestige of their families and the city state itself.

A declaration of war by Louis the X11 on the Sforza throne intended to extend the influence of France in Italy. During this conflict the effects of more modern cannon on traditional fortifications where know and were probably witnessed by him, this most of all led him to engage in a more scientific approach to design new defences. Geometrics designs of fortifications are shown in his writings and drawings post his departure from Milan.
The state of Venice fearing threats to their security from Turkish expansionism requested his services to design defences and this would certainly have influenced his thinking about more effective defences.
As Engineer and Architect for Cesare Borgia during campaigns to exert the churches authority throughout the city states of Italy, he travelled extensively through the northern and central of Italy, sketching specific military fortifications. [

Contemporaries of Leonardo on reading his (“draft” it is thought) letter to Duke Ludovico il Moro and the claims contained therein would have thought them somewhat fanciful. Whilst acknowledging his already well known artistic claims the remainder would be open to scrutiny, disbelief and scorn. In that period of Italy’s history, wars and battles where numerous so I assume that his contemporaries would have had first hand knowledge of the weaponry, military machines and tactics employed in warfare of that time, and...