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Technical drawings by means of the architects and engineers of the Renaissance made use of various new equipment of photo illustration. those drawings—among them Leonardo da Vinci’s well-known drawings of mechanical devices—have lengthy been studied for his or her aesthetic characteristics and technological ingenuity, yet their importance for the architects and engineers themselves is seldom thought of. The essays in Picturing Machines 1400-1700 take this trade standpoint and examine how drawing formed the perform of early glossy engineering. They achieve this via certain investigations of particular pictures, taking a look at over a hundred that diversity from sketches to viewpoint perspectives to entirely developed projections.

In early smooth engineering perform, drawings weren't basically visualizations of rules yet acted as versions that formed principles. Picturing Machines establishes easy different types for the origins, reasons, capabilities, and contexts of early sleek engineering illustrations, then treats a sequence of subject matters that not just concentrate on the way in which drawings grew to become an integral technique of engineering but in addition mirror the most levels of their historic improvement. The authors learn the social interplay conveyed via early desktop pictures and their functionality as verbal exchange among practitioners; the information both conveyed or presupposed through technical drawings, as visible in these of Giorgio Martini and Leonardo; drawings that required familiarity with geometry or geometric optics, together with the improvement of architectural plans; and technical illustrations that bridged the distance among useful and theoretical mechanics.

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This process was inseparably connected to the reception of ancient sources. Pseudo-Aristotle’s “Mechanical Problems” were now edited and commented upon as well as the works of Archimedes, Hero of Alexandria and later those of the Alexandrine mathematician Pappus. Additional sources comprised medieval treatises in the tradition of the scientia de ponderibus, most prominently those of Jordanus Nemorarius. All of these approaches were founded on the theoretical analysis of the balance with unequal arms and the lever by means of geometrical proofs.

Diagram to determine the inclination of a conduit to drive a horizontal water-wheel. (Photo: Biblioteca Nacional Madrid, Los veintiún libros …, Mss. 3372–3376, fol. ) 46 MARCUS POPPLOW The few examples known to date that combined engineering drawings with geometrical analysis in terms of the simple machines are found in engineering treatises, in which they aimed to underline the author’s acquaintance with the foundations of contemporary science. 22). 49 In private documents of sixteenth-century engineers, the employment of drawings for theoretical reflections is documented more extensively only in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks.

In this 24 MARCUS POPPLOW sense, the machine books could be ahead of their time without necessarily losing their relation to technical practice. 19 This practice, which spread all throughout Europe in the sixteenth century, provides a very concrete background for the sense of experimentation conveyed by the broad variety of designs in the machine books. Machine books served the communication between engineers and potential investors or interested members of the republic of letters, rather than that between engineers and artisans or workmen.

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