Artist and engineer
Mariano di Iacopo?surnamed Taccola, that is jackdaw, probably because of his aquiline nose?was the first figure in the Sienese renaissance of technical culture. From his experience in the workshop of Iacopo della Quercia he gained the drafting skills demonstrated in his work.
Taccola is the earliest representative of the "new" engineer-authors who produced illustrated technological texts, in which images were treated as an essential communication medium.
Hydraulics and warfare
Taccola's interests reflect the needs of the Sienese Republic. Siena's basic problem was its water supply. It is no surprise, therefore, that hydraulic applications should constitute one of the most productive and innovative chapters of Taccola's work. Also connected with the needs of the Sienese Republic were his marsh-drainage projects and mining-related ventures.
Taccola's keen interest in military technology reflects the chronic wars in which Ghibelline Siena was embroiled, especially against Guelph Florence. Taccola offered his services to Emperor Sigismund, King of Hungary, who visited Siena in 1432.