Posted in aviation

Sir Geoffrey De Havilland OM CBE AFC RDI FRAeS

De Havilland Mosquito

British aviation pioneer and aircraft engineer Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, OM, CBE, AFC, RDI, FRAeS, sadly died aged 82, of a cerebral haemorrhage, on 21 May 1965 at Watford Peace Memorial Hospital, Hertfordshire. He was born 27 July 1882 . at Magdala House, Terriers, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He was educated at Nuneaton Grammar School, St Edward’s School, Oxford and the Crystal Palace School of Engineering (from 1900 to 1903).Upon graduating from engineering training, de Havilland pursued a career in automotive engineering, building cars and motorcycles. He took an apprenticeship with engine manufacturers Willans & Robinson of Rugby, after which he worked as a draughtsman for The Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company Limited in Birmingham, He then spent two years working in the design office of Motor Omnibus Construction Company Limited in Walthamstow. While there he designed his first aero engine and had the first prototype made by Iris Motor Company of Willesden.

He married in 1909 and almost immediately embarked on the career of designing, building and flying aircraft to which he devoted the rest of his life. Geoffrey de Havilland’s first aircraft took two years to build before he crashed it during its first very short flight at Seven Barrows near Litchfield, Hampshire in 1910. A memorial marks the event. Subsequent designs were more successful: in 1912 he established a new British altitude record of 10,500 feet (3.2 km) in an aircraft of his design, the B.E.2. De Havilland was the designer and his brother Hereward the test pilot. In December 1910, de Havilland joined HM Balloon Factory at Farnborough, which was to become the Royal Aircraft Factory.

He sold his second aeroplane (which he had used to teach himself to fly) to his new employer for £400. It became the F.E.1, the first aircraft to bear an official Royal Aircraft Factory designation. For the next three years de Havilland designed, or participated in the design of, a number of experimental types at the “Factory”.In January 1914, de Havilland was appointed an inspector of aircraft in the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate. Unhappy at leaving design work, in May he was recruited to become the Chief Designer at Airco, in Hendon. He designed many aircraft for Airco, all designated by his initials, DH. Large numbers of de Havilland designed aircraft were used during the First World War, flown by the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force.Airco was bought by the BSA Company, but BSA was only interested in using the company factories for car production.

Raising £20,000, de Havilland bought the relevant assets he needed and in 1920 formed the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware, where he and his company designed and built a large number of aircraft, including the Moth family. In 1933 the company moved to Hatfield Aerodrome, in Hertfordshire. One of his roles was as test pilot for the company’s aircraft, in all of which he liked to fly. He was believed to have said “we could have had jets” in reference to the ignoring of jet engine possibilities prior to the start of the 1939-45 world war. The company’s aircraft, particularly the Mosquito, played a formidable role in the Second World War and the Mosquito was considered by some to be the most versatile warplane ever built, until in 1960 The De Havilland Aircraft Company was bought by the Hawker Siddeley Company.

De havilland Comet

Geoffrey De Havilland also developed and built the The de Havilland DH 106 Comet which was the first production commercial Jetliner at its Hatfield headquarters. The Comet 1 prototype first flew on 27 July 1949. It featured an aerodynamically clean design with four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines buried in the wings, a pressurised fuselage, and large square windows. For the era, it offered a relatively quiet, comfortable passenger cabin and showed signs of being a commercial success at its 1952 debut. Sadly a year after entering commercial service the Comets began suffering problems, with three of them breaking up during mid-flight in well-publicised accidents. This was later found to be due to catastrophic metal fatigue, not well understood at the time, in the airframes. The Comet was subsequently withdrawn from service and extensively tested to discover the cause; after the first incident was incorrectly blamed on adverse weather.

However Design flaws, including dangerous stresses at the corners of the square windows and installation methodology, were ultimately identified; consequently the Comet was extensively redesigned with oval windows, structural reinforcement and other changes. Rival manufacturers heeded the lessons learned from the Comet while developing their own aircraft. Although sales never fully recovered, the improved Comet 2 and the prototype Comet 3 culminated in the redesigned Comet 4 series which debuted in 1958 and had a productive career of over 30 years. The Comet was adapted for a variety of military roles such as VIP, medical and passenger transport, as well as surveillance; the most extensive modification resulted in a specialised maritime patrol aircraft variant, the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, which remained in service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) until June 2011, over 60 years after the Comet’s first flight. Geoffrey, de Havilland retired from active involvement in his company, in 1955, though remaining as president and continued flying until the age of 70.

Throughout his life De Havilland garnered many awards. In 1918, de Havilland was made an OBE and CBE in 1934. He received the Air Force Cross in 1919, in recognition of his service in theFirst World War, and was knighted in 1944. He was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1962. He received numerous national and international gold and silver medals and honorary fellowships of learned and engineering societies.A statue of de Havilland was erected in July 1997 near the entrance to the College Lane campus of the University of Hertfordshire inHatfield. He was in effect a benefactor of the university, as in 1951 the de Havilland company had given land adjoining the A1 toHertfordshire County Council for educational use in perpetuity; the Hatfield Technical College then founded was a precursor of today’s university. The statue was unveiled by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh

Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

Dame Barbara Cartland

Prolific Best -selling Romantic Author Dame Barbara Cartland, DBE, CStJ sadly died 21 May 2000. she was born 9 July 1901 in Edgbaston, Birmingham and attended The Alice Ottley School, Malvern Girls’ College, and Abbey House, an educational institution in Hampshire, Cartland soon became successful as a society reporter and writer of romantic fiction. Cartland admitted she was inspired in her early work by the novels of Edwardian author Elinor Glyn, whom she idolized and eventually befriended.

She worked as a gossip columnist for the TheDaily Express before publishing her first novel, Jigsaw in 1922, a risqué society thriller that became a bestseller. She also began writing and producing somewhat racy plays, one of which, Blood Money (1926), was banned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. In the 1920s and 1930s Cartland was a prominent young hostess in London society, noted for her beauty, energetic charm and daring parties. Her fashion sense also had a part and she was one of the first clients of designer Norman Hartnell, remaining a client until he died in 1979. He made her presentation and wedding dresses; the latter was made to her own design against Hartnell’s wishes and she admitted it was a failure.

In 1950, Cartland was accused of plagiarism by author Georgette Heyer, after a reader drew her attention to the apparent borrowing of Heyer’s character names, character traits, dialogue and plot points in Cartland’s early historical romances. In particular, A Hazard of Hearts (1949), which replicated characters (including names) from Heyer’s Friday’s Child and The Knave of Hearts (1950) which, Heyer alleged, “the conception, the principal characters, and many of the incidents, derive directly from an early book of my own, entitled These Old Shades, first published in 1926. For minor situations and other characters she has drawn upon four of my other novels.” Heyer completed a detailed analysis of the alleged plagiarisms for her solicitors, but the case never came to court.

Cartland saw herself as a self-appointed “expert” on romance however this drew some ridicule in her later years, when her social views became more conservative. Indeed, although her first novels were considered sensational, Cartland’s later titles were comparatively tame with virginal heroines and few, if any, suggestive situations. Almost all of Cartland’s later books were historical in theme. Despite their tame story lines, Barbara Cartland’s later novels were highly successful. By 1983 she rated the longest entry in the British Who’s Who (though most of that article was a list of her books), and was named the top-selling author in the world by the Guinness World Records. In the mid-1990s, by which time she had sold over a billion books, Vogue called her “the true Queen of Romance”. She became a mainstay of the popular media in her trademark pink dresses and plumed hats, discoursing on matters of love, marriage, politics, religion, health, and fashion. She was publicly opposed to the removal of prayer from state schools and spoke against infidelity and divorce, although she admitted to being acquainted with both of these moral failings.

Cartland also took an interest in the early gliding movement. Although aerotowing for launching gliders first occurred in Germany, she thought of long-distance tows in 1931 and did a 200-mile (360 km) tow in a two-seater glider. The idea led to troop-carrying gliders. In 1984, she was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award for this contribution. She regularly attended Brooklands aerodrome and motor-racing circuit during the 1920s and ’30s, and the Brooklands Museum has preserved a sitting-room from that era and named it after her.

In 1983 Cartland wrote 23 novels, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels written in a single year and In 1978 Cartland released An Album of Love Songs through State Records. The album featured Cartland performing a series of popular standards with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Her 723 novels have been translated into 36 different languages, and she continues to be referenced in the Guinness World Records for the most novels published in a single year in 1976. As Barbara Cartland she is known for her numerous romantic novels, but she also wrote under her married name of Barbara McCorquodale. She wrote more than 700 books, as well as plays, music, verse, drama, magazine articles and operetta she reportedly sold more than 750 million copies. Other sources estimate her book sales at more than 2 billion copies. She specialised in 19th-century Victorian era pure romance. Her novels all featured portrait style artwork, particularly the cover art. As head of Cartland Promotions she also became one of London’s most prominent society figures and one of Britain’s most popular media personalities.

Posted in Fantasy, films & DVD, Science fiction

Empire Strikes Back

The epic science fiction adventure film The Empire Strikes Back was released 21 May 1980. It is The second installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, and Fifth episode overall (or sixth if you count Rogue One) and is set three years after Star Wars. Following the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance has been driven from their former base on Yavin IV by the Galactic Empire. The Rebels, led by Princess Leia, have set up their new base on the inhospitable ice planet Hoth. The Imperial fleet, led by Darth Vader, continues to hunt for the Rebels’ new base by dispatching probe droids across the galaxy.

ON Hoth Luke Skywalker is injured and captured by a yeti-like Wampa but manages to escape. Luckily He is later rescued by Han Solo. Meanwhile an Imperial probe droid has located the Rebels hidden base and alerted the Empire who launch a large-scale attack, using AT-AT Walkers to capture the base. Despite heavy resistance the Rebels are forced to retreat. Han and Leia try to escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but have mechanical difficulties

Vader summons bounty hunters, including the notorious Boba Fett, to assist in finding the Falcon And locating the Rebel Alliance. Luke meanwhile, escapes with R2-D2 in his X-wing fighter and crash-lands on the swamp planet Dagobah where he meets enigmatic Jedi Master Yoda and gradually learns to use the Force under his tutelage.

After evading the Empire, Han sets a course for Cloud City, a floating colony in the skies of the gas giant planet Bespin. Cloud City is run by Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. Unknowingly, the Millennium Falcon has been tracked for the Empire by Boba Fett. Unfortunately Lando is coerced into cooperating with the Empire and leads them into a trap where they are handed over to Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Vader plans to use the group as bait to lure out Luke, intending to capture him alive and take him to the Emperor. Vader takes Leia and Chewbacca into custody. He intends to hold Luke in suspended animation in a block of carbonite for delivery to the Emperor. Han Solo is also frozen and given to Boba Fett who takes him to Jabba the Hutt and claims the bounty on Solo.

During his training on Dagobah, Luke sees a premonition of Han and Leia in pain in a city in the clouds and must decide whether to stay on Dagobah and complete his training to become a full Jedi Knight or to leave, confront Vader and save his friends. Luke leaves against Yoda’s wishes, and after arriving at Cloud City, he falls into Vader’s trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel sadly Luke proves to be no match for Vader. After Luke refuses to join Vader against the Emperor, Vader reveals that he is in fact Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker. Sensing Luke’s pain over this shocking revelation Leia, persuades Lando to return to Cloud City in the Falcon to rescue Luke. Later Lando and Chewbacca set off for Tatooine in order to Rescue Han from the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett.

Posted in music

Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine)

Irish musician, singer-songwriter and producer Kevin Shields was born 21 May 1965 in Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York City, United States. Shields’ parents had emigrated to the United States from Ireland in the 1950s, when the couple were teenagers. Shields attended Christ the King, a Roman Catholic primary school. They lived in Flushing, a neighbourhood in north-central Queens, relocating to Commack, Long Island, when Shields was four, where he lived until the age of ten.

In 1973, Shields returned to Dublin, Ireland, And was raised in Cabinteely, a south-eastern Dublin suburb. He has described the experience of moving to Ireland as a culture shock, going from, the modern world to some distant past. According to Shields, the main difference between the US and Ireland that affected him was the attitude towards music culture: in the US there was no Top of the Pops, there was nothing like that, there was no MTV; and over in Ireland, everything was completely catered to for teenagers and the change was “what got him into music in a really big was. Shields received his first electric guitar, a Hondo SG, as a Christmas present from his parents in 1979 Shields befriended drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig in south Dublin during the summer of 1978, and together they answered an advertisement placed by a 12-year-old musician to form punk rock band The Complex. Ó Cíosóig’s schoolfriend Liam Ó Maonlaí from Coláiste Eoin in Booterstown was recruited as lead vocalist, and they played covers of songs by Sex Pistols and Ramones. The Complex disbanded when Ó Maonlaí left to form Hothouse Flowers, and Shields and Ó Cíosóig began rehearsing with another bassist. In 1981, the trio formed A Life in the Day, a band which focused on a more post-punk sound influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division

A Life in the Day disbanded in 1981, and Shields and Ó Cíosóig went on to form My Bloody Valentine in early 1983 with lead vocalist David Conway. On Shields’ suggestion, Conway contacted Gavin Friday, lead vocalist of the Dublin post-punk band the Virgin Prunes, who helped get them a gig in Tilburg, Netherlands, and the band relocated to the Netherlands. The band then moved to West Berlin, Germany, in 1984 and recorded their debut mini album, This Is Your Bloody Valentine before settling in London in 1985. The band recruited bassist Debbie Googe and released their debut extended play Geek! in December 1985. The band then released, The New Record by My Bloody Valentine and “Sunny Sundae Smile”. In 1987, David Conway left the band due to his gastric illness, disillusionment with music and ambitions to become a writer and was replaced by vocalist and guitarist Bilinda Butcher. My Bloody Valentine then released the three-track single “Strawberry Wine” the mini album Ecstasy, the EP You Made Me Realise (1988) and the debut studio album Isn’t Anything.

In 1989 My Bloody Valentine began recording their second album which Creation Records over-optimistically believed could be recorded in five days, however, being a perfectionist, Shields took control of the musical and technical aspects of the sessions and relocated to a total of 19 other studios and hired a number of engineers, including Alan Moulder, Anjali Dutt and Guy Fixsen. As the recording was taking so long, Shields and Creation agreed to release two interim EPs, Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991). The Loveless album was eventually released in November 1991, and was rumoured to have cost over £250,000 and to have bankrupted Creation so Creation Records founder Alan McGee dropped My Bloody Valentine from the label soon after the release of Loveless, due to the album’s excessive recording time and interpersonal problems with Shields. In 1992, My Bloody Valentine signed to Island Records however a number of technical problems sent the band into “semi-meltdown”. Shields suffered writers block then Googe and Ó Cíosóig left the band in 1995, whilst Shields and Butcher attempted to record a third studio album due 1998, however My Bloody Valentine disbanded in 1997.

After leaving My Bloody Valentine, Shields embarked on a number of collaborations with other artists, both as a guest musician and producing, engineering, mixing and Remixing other acts. He contributed guitar loops to two Experimental Audio Research albums: Beyond the Pale and The Köner Experiment and collaborated with indie rock band Dinosaur Jr, appearing on and producing Hand It Over and Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best of Dinosaur Jr. as well as J Mascis’ More Light and The John Peel Sessions. Shields has also been a guest musician for Russell Mills & Undark, DJ Spooky, Curve, Manic Street Preachers, Le Volume Courbe, Gemma Hayes and Paul Weller and has performed with the Canadian contemporary dance company La La La Human Steps (contributing the song “2” Gemma Hayes, The Charlatans and Spacemen 3. He also worked on The Impossible’s 1991 single “How Do You Do It?”; and “Tunnel”, a track from GOD’s remix album Appeal to Human Greed. He produced Dot Allison’s Afterglow, Joy Zipper’s American Whip and The Beat Up’s Blackrays Defence and has also mixed and remixed material by The Pastels, Yo La Tengo, Damian O’Neill, Mogwai, Hurricane #1, The Go! Team, Bow Wow Wow and Wounded Knees. He is also a frequent collaborator and semi-permanent touring member of Primal Scream. He contributed guitar, produced and mixed tracks on two of the band’s studio albums: XTRMNTR and Evil Heat. Shields has remained close to the band following his departure in 2006, remastering Primal Scream’s third studio album Screamadelica (1991) in 2010 and contributing guitar to “2013”, the lead single from More Light.

In 2003, Shields contributed four original compositions to the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, Lost in Translation after being contacted by the film’s music co-ordinator Brian Reitzell. Reitzell and Shields then began impromptu jam sessions in London resulting in the single “City Girl”. Sheilds also composed three other ambient pieces u for the film: “Goodbye”, “Ikebana” and “Are You Awake? These earned Shields nominations for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for Best Film Music, an Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) award for Best Music in a Film, and an Online Film Critics Society award for Best Original Score.

In 2008, Shields collaborated with Patti Smith on the live album The Coral Sea. The double album features two performances at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, wherein Smith reads the book of the name same (which she wrote in tribute to her friend, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe) over Shields’ instrumental accompaniment. My Bloody Valentine reuntited for the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, United States. In 2008, My Bloody Valentine played two live rehearsals at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, their first public performances in 16 years. They began an extensive worldwide tour in summer 2008 (their first since their 1992 tour in support of Loveless) including appearances at Øyafestivalen in Oslo, Norway, Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Ireland, and the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata, Japan.

In 2011, Shields launched the independent record label Pickpocket together with Le Volume Courbe frontwoman Charlotte Marionneau. In 2012 remastered versions of Isn’t Anything and Loveless were released as well as the EP’s 1988–1991 collection, which featured the band’s Shields-remastered Creation Records extended plays, singles and unreleased tracks. My Bloody Valentine’s third album “m b v” was eventually released through the band’s official website In 2013, and the band began a worldwide tour. Shields also intends to release remastered analogue cuts of My Bloody Valentine’s back catalogue and a My Bloody Valentine EP “of all-new material”, followed by a fourth studio album.


Posted in Art

Henri Rousseau

French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was born May 21, 1844 He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector.Ridiculed during his lifetime, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.Henri Rousseau was born in Laval, France in 1844 into the family of a plumber; he was forced to work there as a small boy.He attended Laval High School as a day student and then as a boarder, after his father became a debtor and his parents had to leave the town upon the seizure of their house. He was mediocre in some subjects at the high school but won prizes for drawing and music. He worked for a lawyer and studied law, but “attempted a small perjury and sought refuge in the army,”serving for four years, starting in 1863. With his father’s death, Rousseau moved to Paris in 1868 to support his widowed mother as a government employee. In 1868, he married Clémence Boitard, his landlord’s 15 year-old daughter, with whom he had six children (only one survived). In 1871, he was appointed as a collector of the octroi of Paris, collecting taxes on goods entering Paris. His wife died in 1888 and he married Josephine Noury in 1898. He started painting seriously in his early forties, and by age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art full-time

His best known paintings depict jungle scenes, even though he never left France or saw a jungle. Stories spread by admirers that his army service included the French expeditionary force to Mexico are unfounded. His inspiration came from illustrated books and the botanical gardens in Paris, as well as tableaux of taxidermied wild animals. He had also met soldiers during his term of service who had survived the French expedition to Mexico, and he listened to their stories of the subtropical country they had encountered. To the critic Arsène Alexandre, he described his frequent visits to the Jardin des Plantes: “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream.”Along with his exotic scenes there was a concurrent output of smaller topographical images of the city and its suburbs.He claimed to have invented a new genre of portrait landscape, which he achieved by starting a painting with a view such as a favourite part of the city, and then depicting a person in the foreground.

In 1905, Rousseau’s large jungle scene The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants near works by younger leading avant-garde artists such as Henri Matisse in what is now seen as the first showing of The Fauves. Rousseau’s painting may even have influenced the naming of the FauvesWhen Pablo Picasso happened upon a painting by Rousseau being sold on the street as a canvas to be painted over, the younger artist instantly recognised Rousseau’s genius and went to meet him. In 1908 Picasso held a half serious, half burlesque banquet in his studio in Le Bateau-Lavoir in Rousseau’s honour.After Rousseau’s retirement in 1893, he supplemented his small pension with part-time jobs and work such as playing a violin in the streets. He also worked briefly at Le petit journal, where he produced a number of its covers.The Dream (1910), Rousseau exhibited his final painting, The Dream, at the 1910 Salon des Independantsa few months before his death on 2 September 1910 in the Hospital Necker in Paris.At his funeral, seven friends stood at his grave in the Cimetière de Bagneux: the painters Paul Signac and Manuel Ortiz de Zárate, the artist couple Robert Delaunay and Sonia Terk, the sculptor Brâncuşi, Rousseau’s landlord Armand Queval and Guillaume Apollinaire.


Posted in Art

Albrecht Durer

German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist Albrecht Dürer was born 21 May 1472. His high-quality wood cuts established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he is regarded as one of the greatest artist of theNorthern Renaissance. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work. His well-known prints include theKnight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I(1514). Hiswatercolours also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, and his ambitious woodcuts were revolutionary. Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

In 1472 his godfather Anton Koberger, left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher and quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning twenty-four printing-presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad. Koberger’s most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicles, published in 1493 which contained 1,809 woodcut illustrations and this is where Dürer worked as an of apprentice until 1490, and in early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg. Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, Dürer married Agnes Frey and opened his own workshop. Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer’s father died in 1502, and his mother died in 1513. His best works in the first years of the workshop were his religious woodcut prints, and scenes such as The Men’s Bath House (ca. 1496). These were larger and more finely-cut than the great majority of German woodcuts and far more complex and balanced in composition. During an outbreak of plague in Nurenburg Dürer left for Italy and painted watercolour sketches as he traveled over the Alps.

He also travelled to Venice to study its more advanced artistic world and learned how to make prints in drypoint and design woodcuts in the German style, based on the works of Martin Schongauer and the Housebook Master. He was also influenced by Giovanni Bellini. In 1496 he produced his famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse, the engraving of St. Michael Fighting the Dragon and the first seven scenes of the Great Passion. A little later, he also produced a series of eleven on the Holy Family and saints. The Seven Sorrows Polyptych, commissioned by Frederick III of Saxony in 1496. Around 1503–1505 he produced the first seventeen of a set illustrating the Life of the Virgin, which he did not finish for some years. Dürer made large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände, a study for an apostle in the Heller altarpiece. He also continued to produce watercolours, including a number of still lifes of meadow sections or animals, including his Young Hare (1502) and the Great Piece of Turf (1503,The Venetian artist Jacopo de’ Barbari, whom Dürer had met in Venice, visited Nuremberg in 1500, and Dürer said that he learned much about the new developments in perspective,anatomy, and proportion from him.

A series of extant drawings show Dürer’s experiments in human proportion, leading to the famous engraving of Adam and Eve (1504), which shows his subtlety while using the burin in the texturing of flesh surfaces.Despite the regard in which he was held by the Venetians, Dürer returned to Nuremberg by mid-1507, remaining in Germany until 1520. His reputation had spread throughout Europe and he was on friendly terms and in communication with most of the major artistsIn Italy, he returned to painting, at first producing a series of works executed in tempera on linen. These include portraits and altarpieces, notably, the Paumgartner altarpiece and the Adoration of the Magi. In early 1506, he returned to Venice and stayed there until the spring of 1507. By this time Dürer’s engravings had attained great popularity and were being copied. In Venice he was given a valuable commission from the emigrant German community for the church of San Bartolomeo. This was the altar-piece known as the Adoration of the Virgin or the Feast of Rose Garlands. It includes portraits of members of Venice’s German community, but shows a strong Italian influence. It was subsequently acquired by the Emperor Rudolf II and take to Prague. Other paintings Dürer produced in Venice include The Virgin and Child with the Goldfinch, Christ Disputing with the DoctorsFrom 1512, Maximilian I became Dürer’s major patron. His commissions included The Triumphal Arch

Dürer produced some of his most celebrated paintings: Adam and Eve(1507), The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (1508, for Frederick of Saxony), Virgin with the Iris(1508), the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin (1509, for Jacob Heller of Frankfurt), andAdoration of the Trinity (1511, for Matthaeus Landauer). During this period he also completed two woodcut series, the Great Passion and the Life of the Virgin, both published in 1511 together with a second edition of the Apocalypse series. The post-Venetian woodcuts show Dürer’s development of chiaroscuro modelling effects,[9] creating a mid-tone throughout the print to which the highlights and shadows can be contrasted.Self-portrait, 1508Other works from this period include the thirty-seven woodcut subjects of the Little Passion, published first in 1511, and a set of fifteen small engravings on the same theme in 1512. Indeed, complaining that painting did not make enough money to justify the time spent when compared to his prints, he produced no paintings from 1513 to 1516. However, in 1513 and 1514 Dürer created his three most famous engravings: Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513, probably based on Erasmus’s treatise Enchiridion militis Christiani), St. Jerome in his Study, and the much-debated Melencolia I (both 1514).In 1515, he created his woodcut of a Rhinoceros which had arrived in Lisbon from a written description and sketch by another artist, without ever seeing the animal himself. An image of the Indian rhinoceros, the image has such force that it remains one of his best-known and was still used in some German school science text-books as late as last century.

In 1515 he produced woodblocks for the first western printed star charts and portraits in tempera on linen in 1516.On his return to Nuremberg, Dürer worked on a number of grand projects with religious themes, including a crucifixion scene and aSacra Conversazione, though neither was completed. This may have been due in part to his declining health, but perhaps also because of the time he gave to the preparation of his theoretical works on geometry and perspective, the proportions of men and horses, and fortification.Having secured his pension, Dürer finally returned home in July 1521, having caught an undetermined illness—perhaps malaria. As for engravings, Dürer’s work was restricted to portraits and illustrations for his treatise. However, one consequence of this shift in emphasis was that during the last years of his life, Dürer produced comparatively little as an artist. In painting, there was only a portrait of Hieronymus Holtzschuher, a Madonna and Child (1526), Salvator Mundi (1526), and two panels showing St. John with St. Peter in background and St. Paul with St. Mark in thebackground. This last great work, the Four Apostles

Dürer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56, leaving an estate and workshop where his widow lived until her death in 1539 this is a prominent Nuremberg landmark and is now a museum. He is buried in the Johannisfriedhof cemetery. Dürer’s final major work, a drawn portrait of the Nuremberg patrician Ulrich Starck. Dürer’s intense and self-dramatizing self-portraits have continued to have a strong influence up to the present, especially on painters in the 19th and 20th century who desired a more dramatic portrait style andhas never fallen from critical favour, and has exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work