Wassily Kandinsky

Influential Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was born 16 December 1866 in Moscow. He spent his childhood in Odessa and later enrolled at the University of Moscow, studying law and economics. Successful in his profession—he was offered a professorship (chair of Roman Law) at the University of Dorpat—Kandinsky began painting studies (life-drawing, sketching and anatomy) at the age of 30 and In 1896 Kandinsky settled in Munich, studying first at Anton Ažbe’s private school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts. One of the most well known of his paintings from this period was The Blue Rider (1903), which shows a small cloaked figure on a speeding horse rushing through a rocky meadow

He returned to Moscow in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I and From 1918 to 1921, Kandinsky dealt with the cultural politics of Russia and collaborated in art education and museum reform, devoting his time to artistic teaching, and also helped organize the Institute of Artistic Culture in Moscow. In 1916 he met Nina Andreievskaya, whom he married the following year. His spiritual, expressionistic view of art was ultimately rejected by the radical members of the Institute as too individualistic and bourgeois.

In 1921, he returned to Germany after being invited to attend the Bauhaus of Weimar by its founder, architect Walter Gropius, where he taught the basic design class for beginners and the course on advanced theory at the Bauhaus; he also conducted painting classes and a workshop in which he augmented his colour theory with new elements of form psychology. He also published his second theoretical book (Point and Line to Plane) in 1926.Geometrical elements took on increasing importance in both his teaching and painting—particularly the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines and curves. This period was intensely productive, painting Yellow – red – blue (1925) among many others. Kandinsky was one of Die Blaue Vier (Blue Four), formed in 1923 with Klee, Feininger Yellow – red – blue (1925 von Jawlensky, which lectured and exhibited in the United States in 1924. Due to right-wing hostility, the Bauhaus left Weimar and settled in Dessau in 1925. Following a Nazi smear campaign the Bauhaus left Dessau in 1932 for Berlin, until its dissolution in July 1933. Sadly the Nazis confiscated much of Kandinsky’s work describing it as Degenerate Art and destroying much of it.So he left Germany, settling in Paris.

Living in Paris for the rest of his life Kandinsky became a French citizen in 1939 and produced some of his most prominent art in his living-room studio, where he produced Biomorphic forms with supple, non-geometric outlines which suggested microscopic organisms but were in fact expressions of the artist’s inner life, In 1936 and 1939 he painted his two last major compositions, Composition IX and Composition X. Kandinsky sadly passed away at Neuilly-sur-Seine on 13 December 1944.

Donatello

Early Renaissance sculptor Donatello sadly died December 13. He was born in Florence, circa 1386. Donatello was educated in the house of the Martelli family. He apparently received his early artistic training in a goldsmith’s workshop, and then worked briefly in the studio of Lorenzo Ghiberti. He studied classical sculpture, and used this to develop a fully Renaissance style in sculpture, whose periods in Rome, Padua and Siena introduced to other parts of Italy a long and productive career. He worked in stone, bronze, wood, clay, stucco and wax, and had several assistants, with four perhaps being a typical number. Though his best-known works were mostly statues in the round, he developed a new, very shallow, type of bas-relief for small works, and a good deal of his output was larger architectural reliefs.

While undertaking study and excavations with Filippo Brunelleschi in Rome (1404–1407), work that gained the two men the reputation of treasure seekers, Donatello made a living by working at goldsmiths’ shops. Their Roman sojourn was decisive for the entire development of Italian art in the 15th century, for it was during this period that Brunelleschi undertook his measurements of the Pantheon dome and of other Roman buildings. Brunelleschi’s buildings and Donatello’s sculptures are both considered supreme expressions of the spirit of this era in architecture and sculpture, and they exercised a potent influence upon the artists of the age.

In Florence, Donatello assisted Lorenzo Ghiberti with the statues of prophets for the north door of the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral, in November 1406 and early 1408. In 1409–1411 he executed the colossal seated figure of Saint John the Evangelist, which until 1588 occupied a niche of the old cathedral façade, and is now placed in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. In 1411–13, Donatello worked on a statue of St. Mark for the guild church of Orsanmichele. In 1417 he completed the Saint George for the Confraternity of the Cuirass-makers. The elegant St. George and the Dragon relief on the statue’s base, executed in schiacciato (a very low bas-relief) . From 1423 Donatello sculpted the Saint Louis of Toulouse for the Orsanmichele, now in the Museum of the Basilica di Santa Croce and also sculpted the classical frame for this work, which remains, while the statue was moved in 1460 and replaced by Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Verrocchio. Between 1415 and 1426, Donatello created five statues for the campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, also known as the Duomo. These works are the Beardless Prophet; Bearded Prophet (both from 1415); the Sacrifice of Isaac (1421); Habbakuk (1423–25); and Jeremiah (1423–26);  In 1425, he executed the notable Crucifix for Santa Croce; this work portrays Christ in a moment of the agony, eyes and mouth partially opened, the body contracted in an ungraceful posture.

From 1425 to 1427, Donatello collaborated with Michelozzo on the funerary monument of the Antipope John XXIII for the Battistero in Florence. Donatello made the recumbent bronze figure of the deceased, under a shell. In 1427, he completed in Pisa a marble relief for the funerary monument of Cardinal Rainaldo Brancacci at the church of Sant’Angelo a Nilo in Naples Plus the relief of the Feast of Herod and the statues of Faith and Hope for the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Siena. Around 1430, Cosimo de’ Medici, the foremost art patron of his era, commissioned from Donatello the bronze David (now in the Bargello) for the court of his Palazzo Medici. Donatello also sculpted the small Love-Atys, housed in the Bargello.

When Cosimo de Medici was exiled from Florence, Donatello went to Rome, remaining until 1433. The two works that testify to his presence in this city, the Tomb of Giovanni Crivelli at Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and the Ciborium at St. Peter’s Basilica, bear a strong stamp of classical influence. Donatello’s return to Florence almost coincided with Cosimo’s. In May 1434, he signed a contract for the marble pulpit on the facade of Prato cathedral, the last project executed in collaboration with Michelozzo. This work, a passionate, pagan, rhythmically conceived bacchanalian dance of half-nude putti, was the forerunner of the great Cantoria, or singing tribune, at the Duomo in Florence on which Donatello worked intermittently from 1433 to 1440 and was inspired by ancient sarcophagi and Byzantine ivory chests. In 1435, he executed the Annunciation for the Cavalcanti altar in Santa Croce, inspired by 14th-century iconography, and in 1437–1443, he worked in the Old Sacristy of the San Lorenzo in Florence, on two doors and lunettes portraying saints, as well as eight stucco tondoes. From 1438 is the wooden statue of St. John the Baptist for Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Around 1440, he executed a bust of a Young Man with a Cameo now in the Bargello, the first example of a lay bust portrait since the classical era.

In 1443, Donatello was called to Padua by the heirs of the famous condottiero Erasmo da Narni, who had died that year. Completed in 1450 and placed in the square facing the Basilica of St. Anthony, his Equestrian Monument of Gattamelata (better known as the Gattamelata, or “Honey-Cat”) was the first example of such a monument since ancient times. (Other equestrian statues, from the 14th century, had not been executed in bronze and had been placed over tombs rather than erected independently, in a public place.) This work became the prototype for other equestrian monuments executed in Italy and Europe in the following centuries.

For the Basilica of St. Anthony, Donatello created, the bronze Crucifix of 1444–47 and statues for the choir, including a Madonna with Child and six saints, constituting a Holy Conversation, which is no longer visible since the renovation by Camillo Boito in 1895. The Madonna with Child portrays the Child being displayed to the faithful, on a throne flanked by two sphinxes, allegorical figures of knowledge. On the throne’s back is a relief of Adam and Eve. During this period—1446–50—Donatello also executed four reliefs with scenes from the life of St. Anthony for the high altar.

Alexander Selkirk

Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk Sadly died 13 December 1721. born 1676, he was an unruly youth, and joined buccaneering expeditions to the South Sea. On One such expedition was aboard the Cinque Ports, commanded by William Dampier. The ship called in for provisions at the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile, and Selkirk judged correctly that his craft was unseaworthy and asked to be left there. He subsequently spent more than four years as a castaway after being marooned on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean, also known as the South Sea. After spending more than four years as-a castaway, Hewas eventually rescued on 2 February 1709, By which time, he had become adept at hunting and making use of the resources that he found on the island.

His story of survival was widely publicised when he returned home and became a likely source of inspiration for writer Daniel Defoe’s fictional character Robinson Crusoe. Which was first published on 25 April 1719. This first edition credited the work’s fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents. At first Robinson Crusoe was published under the considerably longer original title The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer)—a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

The story is widely perceived to have been influenced by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived for four years on the Pacific island called “Más a Tierra” (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, other possible sources have been put forward for the text. It is possible, for example, that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail’s Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. another source for Defoe’s novel may have been Robert Knox’s account of his abduction by the King ofCeylon in 1659 in “An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon,” Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911. in his 2003 book In Search of Robinson Crusoe, Tim Severin contends that the account of Henry Pitman in a short book chronicling his escape from a Caribbean penal colony and subsequent shipwrecking and desert island misadventures, is the inspiration for the story. Arthur Wellesley Secord in his Studies in the narrative method of Defoe painstakingly analyses the composition of Robinson Crusoe and gives a list of possible sources of the story, rejecting the common theory that the story of Selkirk is Defoe’s only source.

Despite its simple narrative style, Robinson Crusoe was well received in the literary world and is often credited as marking the beginning of realistic fiction as a literary genre. Before the end of 1719 the book had already run through four editions, and it has gone on to become one of the most widely published books in history, spawning numerous sequels and adaptations for stage, film, and television.