Bronwyn Bancroft (born 1958) is an Indigenous Australian artist, notable for being the first Australian fashion designer invited to show her work in Paris. Born in Tenterfield, New South Wales and trained in Canberra and Sydney, Bancroft worked as a fashion designer and is an artist, illustrator, and arts administrator. In 1985 Bancroft established a shop called Designer Aboriginals, selling fabrics made by Indigenous artists, including herself. She was a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative. Artwork by Bancroft is held by the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She has provided artwork for over 20 children's books, including Stradbroke Dreamtime by writer and activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal and books by artist and writer Sally Morgan. She has also received design commissions, including one for the exterior of a sports centre in Sydney. With a long history of involvement in community activism and arts administration, Bancroft has served as a board member for the National Gallery of Australia. Her painting Prevention of AIDS (1992) was used in a campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Australia. As of 2010, Bancroft sits on the boards of copyright collection agency Viscopy and Tranby Aboriginal College, as well as being on the Artists Board at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. (Full article...)
Beato's travels to many lands gave him the opportunity to create powerful and lasting images of countries, people and events that were unfamiliar and remote to most people in Europe and North America. To this day his work provides the key images of such events as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the Second Opium War and his photographs represent the first substantial oeuvre of what came to be called photojournalism.
Beato had a significant impact on other photographers, and Beato's influence in Japan, where he worked with and taught numerous other photographers and artists, was particularly deep and lasting. (Full article...)
Matthew Brettingham (1699–1769) was an 18th-century Englishman who rose from humble origins to supervise the construction of Holkham Hall, and eventually became one of the country's better-known architects of his generation. Much of his principal work has since been demolished, particularly his work in London, where he revolutionised the design of the grand townhouse. As a result he is often overlooked today, remembered only for his Palladian remodelling of numerous country houses, many of them situated in East Anglia. As Brettingham neared the pinnacle of his career, Palladianism began to fall out of fashion and neoclassicism was introduced, championed by a young Robert Adam. Brettingham was the second son of Launcelot Brettingham, a bricklayer or stonemason from Norwich, the county town of Norfolk, England. (Full article...)
Little is known about Lisa's life. Married as a teenager to a cloth and silk merchant who later became a local official, she was mother to five children and led what is thought to have been a comfortable and ordinary middle-class life. Lisa outlived her husband, who was about 20 years her senior.
Centuries after Lisa's death, Mona Lisa became the world's most famous painting and took on a life separate from Lisa, the woman. Speculation by scholars and hobbyists made the work of art a globally recognized icon and an object of commercialization. During the early 21st century, a discovery made at a university library was powerful enough evidence to end speculation about the sitter's identity and definitively identified Lisa del Giocondo as the subject of the Mona Lisa. (Full article...)
John Douglas (1830–1911) was an English architect who designed about 500 buildings in Cheshire, North Wales and northwest England, in particular in the estate of Eaton Hall. Douglas' output included the creation, restoration and renovation of churches, church furnishings, houses and other buildings.
His architectural styles were eclectic and many of his works incorporate elements of the English Gothic style. He was also influenced by architectural styles from the mainland of Europe and included elements of French, German and Netherlandish architecture into his works.
Douglas is remembered for his use of half-timbering, tile-hanging, pargeting, decorative brick in diapering and the design of tall chimney stacks. Of particular importance is Douglas' use of joinery and highly detailed wood carving. Throughout his career he attracted commissions from wealthy landowners and industrialists.
Most of Douglas' works have survived. The city of Chester contains a number of his structures, the most admired of which are his half-timbered black-and-white buildings and Eastgate Clock. The highest concentration of his work is found in the Eaton Hall estate and the surrounding villages of Eccleston, Aldford and Pulford. (Full article...)
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice. When he was 26 travelled from Crete to the city of Venice to study. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he emigrated to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings.
El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western civilization. (Full article...)
His photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-coloured portraits and landscapes,of which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country. Farsari's images were widely distributed, presented or mentioned in books and periodicals, and sometimes recreated by artists in other media; they shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and to some degree did affect how Japanese saw themselves and their country.
His studio – the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan – was one of the country's largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari's exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities, it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan. (Full article...)
Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) was a 19th-century German Romanticlandscape painter, generally considered the most important of the movement. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich's work characteristically sets the human element in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs "the viewer's gaze towards their metaphysical dimension". Friedrich was born in the Swedish Pomeranian town of Greifswald, where he began his studies in art as a youth. Later, he studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. Friedrich's work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d'Angers (1788–1856) spoke of him as a man who had discovered "the tragedy of landscape". However, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. (Full article...)
Ima Hogg was an enterprising circusemcee who brought culture and class to Houston, Texas. A storied ostrich jockey, she once rode to Hawaii to visit the Queen. Raised in government housing, young Ima frolicked among a backyard menagerie of raccoons, possums and a bear. Her father, "Big Jim" Hogg, in an onslaught against fun itself, booby-trapped the banisters she loved to slide down, shut down her money-making schemes, and forced her to pry chewing gum from furniture. He was later thrown from his seat on a moving train and perished; the Hogg clan then struck black gold on land Big Jim had forbidden them from selling. Ima had apocryphal sisters named "Ura" and "Hoosa" and real-life brothers sporting conventional names and vast art collections; upon their deaths, she gave away their artwork for nothing and the family home to boot. Tragically, Ms. Hogg (a future doctor) nursed three dying family members. She once sweet-talked a burglar into returning purloined jewelry and told him to get a job. Well into her nineties, she remained feisty and even exchanged geriatric insults with an octogenarian pianist. Hogg claimed to have received thirty proposals of marriage in her lifetime, and to have rejected them all. Hogg was revered as the "First Lady of Texas", and her name and legacy still thrive today. (Full article...)
Paul Kane was an Irish-Canadian painter who was famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Oregon Country. Largely self-educated, Kane grew up in Toronto (then known as York) and trained himself by copying European masters on a study trip through Europe. He undertook two voyages through the wild Canadian northwest in 1845 and from 1846 to 1848. The first trip took him from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie and back. Having secured the support of the Hudson's Bay Company, he set out on a second, a much longer voyage from Toronto across the Rocky Mountains to Fort Vancouver and Fort Victoria in the Oregon Country and back again. On both trips, Kane sketched and painted Native Americans and documented their lives. Upon his return to Toronto, he produced from these sketches more than one hundred oil paintings. Kane's work, particularly his field sketches, are still a valuable resource for ethnologists. The oil paintings he did in his studio are considered a part of the Canadian heritage, although he often embellished these considerably, departing from the accuracy of his field sketches in favour of more dramatic scenes. (Full article...)
In the early years of his lengthy career, his then-unorthodox camera angles, and his unwillingness to compromise his personal photographic style, prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Even towards the end of his life, Kertész did not feel he had gained worldwide recognition. The first photographer to have an exposition devoted to his work, he is recognized as one of the seminal figures of photojournalism, if not photography as a whole.
Dedicated by his family to work as a stock broker, Kertész was an autodidact and his early work was mostly published in magazines. The imminent threat of WWII pushed him to immigrate to the United States, where he had a more difficult life and needed to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work. He would take offense with several editors that he felt did not recognize his work. In the 1940s and '50s he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success. Despite the numerous awards he collected over the years, he still felt unrecognized, a sentiment which did not change even at the time of his death.
His career is generally divided into four periods – the Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and, towards the end of his life, the International period. (Full article...)
Henry Moore was a Britishartist and sculptor. Born into a poor mining family in the Yorkshire town of Castleford, he became well-known for his large-scale abstract cast bronze and carved marble sculptures; substantially supported by the British art establishment, Moore helped to introduce a particular form of modernism into Britain. His ability to satisfy large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy towards the end of his life. However, he lived frugally and most of his wealth went to endow the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts. His signature form is a pierced reclining figure, first influenced by a Toltec-Maya sculpture known as "Chac Mool", which he had seen as a plaster cast in Paris in 1925. Early versions are pierced conventionally as a bent arm reconnects with the body. Later, more abstract versions, are pierced directly through the body in order to explore the concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows. (Full article...)
Sylvanus Morley was an Americanarchaeologist, epigrapher, and Mayanist scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-ColumbianMaya civilization in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. His involvement in clandestine espionage activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death. (Full article...)
Heavily influenced by the Anglo-Catholic philosophy behind early Victorian architecture he is credited with importing the Gothic revival style to New Zealand. His Gothic designs constructed in both wood and stone in the province are considered to be unique to New Zealand. Today he is considered the founding architect of the province of Canterbury. (Full article...)
Robert Peake the Elder (c. 1551–1619) was an English painter active in the later part of Elizabeth I's reign and for most of the reign of James I. In 1604, he was appointed picture maker to the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, and in 1607, serjeant-painter to King James I, a post he shared with John De Critz. Peake is often called "the elder", to distinguish him from his son, the painter and print sellerWilliam Peake (c. 1580–1639) and from his grandson, Sir Robert Peake (c. 1605–1667), who followed his father into the family print-selling business. Peake was the only English-born painter of a group of four artists whose workshops were closely connected. The others were De Critz, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, and the miniature-painterIsaac Oliver. Between 1590 and about 1625, they specialised in brilliantly coloured, full-length "costume pieces" (example pictured) that are unique to England at this time. It is not always possible to attribute authorship among Peake, De Critz, Gheeraerts and their assistants with certainty. (Full article...)
Vishniac was very interested in history, especially that of his ancestors. In turn, he was strongly tied to his Jewish roots and was a Zionist later in life. Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photography: his pictures from the shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and images of microscopic biology. He is known for his book A Vanished World, published in 1947, which was one of the first such pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe from that period. He is known also for his extreme humanism and respect and awe for life, sentiments that can be seen in all aspects of his creation and his work. (Full article...)