John Constable

English Romantic painter John Constable sadly passed away on 31st March 1837. Born 11th June in 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, He is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as “Constable Country”—which he invested with an intensity of affection. “I should paint my own places best”, he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, “painting is but another word for feeling”. In his youth, Constable embarked on amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk and Essex countryside that was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art.

In 1799, Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue art, and Golding even granted him a small allowance. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer, he attended life classes and anatomical dissections as well as studying and copying Old Masters. Among works that particularly inspired him during this period were paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. He also read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist. By 1803, he was exhibiting paintings at the Royal Academy. In 1802 he refused the position of drawing master at Great Marlow Military College, a move which Benjamin West (then master of the RA) counselled would mean the end of his career. In that year, Constable wrote a letter to John Dunthorne in which he spelled out his determination to become a professional landscape painter. His early style has many of the qualities associated with his mature work, including a freshness of light, colour and touch, and reveals the compositional influence of the Old Masters he had studied, notably of Claude Lorrain.

Constable’s usual subjects, scenes of ordinary daily life, were unfashionable in an age that looked for more romantic visions of wild landscapes and ruins. Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself. Although Constable produced paintings throughout his life for the “finished” picture market of patrons and R.A. exhibitions, constant refreshment in the form of on-the-spot studies was essential to his working method, and he never satisfied himself with following a formula. “The world is wide”, he wrote, “no two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of all the world; and the genuine productions of art, like those of nature, are all distinct from each other.”

Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes in order to test the composition in advance of finished pictures. These large sketches, with their free and vigorous brushwork, were revolutionary at the time, and they continue to interest artists, scholars and the general public. The oil sketches of The Leaping Horse and The Hay Wain, for example, convey a vigour and expressiveness missing from Constable’s finished paintings of the same subjects. Possibly more than any other aspect of Constable’s work, the oil sketches reveal him in retrospect to have been an avant-garde painter, one who demonstrated that landscape painting could be taken in a totally new direction.

Constable’s watercolours were also remarkably free for their time: the almost mystical Stonehenge, 1835, with its double rainbow, is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolours ever painted. When he exhibited it in 1836, Constable appended a text to the title: “The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much unconnected with the events of past ages as it is with the uses of the present, carries you back beyond all historical records into the obscurity of a totally unknown period.”

Some of Constable’s most famous paintings include Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821. Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England. He could never have imagined how influential his honest techniques would turn out to be. Constable’s art inspired not only contemporaries like Géricault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century

Francisco Goya

Spanish romantic painter and Printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was born 30 March 1746 in the village of Fuendetodos in Aragon. He studied painting from age 14 under José Luzán y Martinez and moved to Madrid to study with Anton Raphael Mengs. He married Josefa Bayeu in 1773; the couple’s life together was characterised by an almost constant series of pregnancies and miscarriages. He became a court painter to the Spanish Crown in 1786 and this early portion of his career is marked by portraits of the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, and Rococo style tapestry cartoons designed for the royal palace.

Goya was a guarded man and little is known about his thoughts. He suffered a severe and undiagnosed illness in 1793 which left him completely deaf. After 1793 his work became progressively darker and more pessimistic. His later easel and mural paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook on personal, social and political levels, and contrast with his social climbing. He was appointed Director of the Royal Academy in 1795, the year Manuel Godoy made an unfavorable treaty with France. In 1799 Goya became Primer Pintor de Cámara, the then-highest rank for a Spanish court painter. In the late 1790s, commissioned by Godoy, he completed his La maja desnuda, a remarkably daring nude for the time and clearly indebted to Diego Velázquez. In 1801 he painted Charles IV of Spain and His Family.

In 1807 Napoleon led the French army into Spain. Goya remained in Madrid during the Peninsular War, which seems to have affected him deeply. Although he did not vocalise his thoughts in public, they can be inferred from his “Disasters of War” series of prints (although published 35 years after his death) and his 1814 paintings The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808. Other works from his mid period include the “Caprichos” and Los Disparates etching series, and a wide variety of paintings concerned with insanity, mental asylums, witches, fantastical creatures and religious and political corruption, all of which suggest that he feared for both his country’s fate and his own mental and physical health.

His late period culminates with the “Black Paintings” of 1819–1823, applied on oil on the plaster walls of his house the “Quinta del Sordo” (house of the deaf man) where, disillusioned by political and social developments in Spain he lived in near isolation. Goya eventually abandoned Spain in 1824 to retire to the French city of Bordeaux, accompanied by his much younger maid and companion, Leocadia Weiss, who may or may not have been his lover. There he completed his “La Tauromaquia” series and a number of other, major, canvases. Following a stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side, and suffering failing eyesight and poor access to painting materials, he died and was buried on 16 April 1828 aged 82. His body was later re-interred in Spain.

Goya is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of modern times.

Vincent Van Goch

Prolific post-Impressionist painter Vincent Willem van Gogh was born 30th March 1853, his work is notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. . His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he began to sketch people from the local community. In 1885, he painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the strong sunlight he found there.

Gradually His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique style for which he is recognized during his stay in Arles in 1888. The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh’s late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and “longing for concision and grace”. Sadly After suffering years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, Van Goch tragically died on 29 July 1890 at the age Of 37 in Auvers-sur-Oise, France from a gunshot wound, which is generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found).

Raphael

Italian high Renaissance painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was born on either March 28 or April 6, 1483 (depending on the Julian or Gregorian calender) in Urbino in the Marche region. His father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke. The reputation of the court had been established by Federico III da Montefeltro, a highly successful condottiere who had been created Duke of Urbino by the Pope but died the year before Raphael was born. Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, who married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the ruler of Mantua, Under them, the court continued as a centre for literary culture .Court life in Urbino was depicted by Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione moved to Urbino in 1504, when Raphael was no longer based there but frequently visited, and they became good friends. Raphael mixed inthe highest circles throughout his life. His mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father. Raphael was thus orphaned at eleven; his formal guardian became his only paternal uncle Bartolomeo, a priest. Raphael had already shown talent, according to Vasari, His father’s workshop continued and, probably together with his stepmother. In Urbino, he also came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello, previously the court painter and Luca Signorelli.VAccording to Vasari, his father placed him in the workshop of the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino as an apprentice he may have Also received training from Timoteo Viti, who acted as court painter in Urbino from 1495. Raphael is described as a “master”, (fully trained) in December 1500.

His first documented work was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello, halfway between Perugia and Urbino. Evangelista da Pian di Meleto, was also named in the commission. It was commissioned in 1500 and finished in 1501; sadly only some cut sections and a preparatory drawing remain. He also painted works for other churches including the Mond Crucifixion, the Brera Wedding of the Virgin and the Oddi Altarpiece ar Perugia. He also painted many small and exquisite cabinet paintings like the Three Graces and St. Michael, he also began to paint Madonnas and portraits. In 1502 he was invited to Siena by Pinturicchio, who was a friend of Raphael and considered him to be a draughtsman of the highest quality, to help with the cartoons, and designs, for a fresco series in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral. Although Raphael mainly worked in Northern Italy, he also spent a good deal of time in Florence. Raphael was influenced by Florentine art, whilst keeping his own developing style. Frescos in Perugia of about 1505 show a new monumental quality in the figures which may represent the influence of Fra Bartolomeo, who Vasari says was a friend of Raphael. Another major influence was Leonardo da Vinci,

Raphael’s figures became more dynamic and complex and he made drawn studies of fighting nude men, And portraits of young women that using the three-quarter length pyramidal composition of the just-completed Mona Lisa. Another of Leonardo’s compositional inventions, is the pyramidal Holy Family, . There is a drawing by Raphael in the Royal Collection of Leonardo’s lost Leda and the Swan, from which he adapted the contrapposto pose of his own Saint Catherine of Alexandria. He also perfected his own version of Leonardo’s sfumato modelling, to give subtlety to his painting of flesh, However these are much less enigmatic than Leonardo’s But retain the soft clear light of Perugino. Raphael’s Deposition of Christ draws on classical sarcophagi to spread the figures across the front of the picture space in a complex and not wholly successful arrangement. There is an influence of the Madonna in Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo in the kneeling figure on the right, but the rest of the composition is far removed from his style, or that of Leonardo. in 1508, Raphael had moved to Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was invited by the new Pope Julius II, at the suggestion of his architect Donato Bramante, then engaged on St. Peter’s Basilica, who came from just outside Urbino and was distantly related to Raphael. Unlike Michelangelo, Raphael was immediately commissioned by Julius to fresco what was intended to become the Pope’s private library at the Vatican Palace. Several other artists and their teams of assistants were already at work on different rooms, many painting over recently completed paintings commissioned by Julius’s loathed predecessor, Alexander VI, whose contributions, and arms, Julius was determined to efface from the palace. Michelangelo, meanwhile, had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

This first of the famous “Stanze” or “Raphael Rooms” to be painted, now known as the Stanza della Segnatura after its use in Vasari’s time, influenced Roman art, and remains generally regarded as his greatest masterpiece, containing The School of Athens, The Parnassus and the Disputa. Raphael was given two more rooms to paint, displacing other artists including Perugino and Signorelli. He completed a sequence of three rooms, each with paintings on each wall and often the ceilings too. The death of Julius in 1513 did not interrupt the work at all, as he was succeeded by Raphael’s last Pope, the Medici Pope Leo X, with whom Raphael formed an even closer relationship, and who continued to commission him. Raphael’s friend Cardinal Bibbiena was also one of Leo’s old tutors, and a close friend and advisor. Raphael was clearly influenced by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling in the course of painting the room. Vasari said Bramante let him in secretly. The first section was completed in 1511 and the reaction of other artists to the daunting force of Michelangelo was the dominating question in Italian art for the following few decades. Raphael, had already shown his gift for absorbing influences into his own personal style and One of the first and clearest instances was the portrait in The School of Athens of Michelangelo himself, as Heraclitus, which were influenced by the Sybils and ignudi of the Sistine ceiling. Other figures in that and later paintings in the room show the same influences, but still demonstrate Raphael’s own style this led Michelangelo to accuse Raphael of plagiarism. However These very large and complex compositions have since become regarded as among the supreme works of the grand manner of the High Renaissance, and the “classic art” of the post-antique West which give a highly idealised depiction of the forms represented.

After Bramante’s death in 1514, Raphael was named architect of the new St Peter’s. Most of his work there was altered or demolished after his death and the acceptance of Michelangelo’s design, but a few drawings have survived. He also designed several other buildings, and for a short time was the most important architect in Rome, working for a small circle around the Papacy. Julius had made changes to the street plan of Rome, creating several new thoroughfares, and he wanted them filled with splendid palaces. An important building, the Palazzo Branconio dell’Aquila for Leo’s Papal Chamberlain Giovanni Battista Branconio, was completely destroyed to make way for Bernini’s piazza for St. Peter’s, however drawings of the richly decorated façade and courtyard remain. The main designs for the Villa Farnesina were not by Raphael, but he did design, and decorated with mosaics, the Chigi Chapel for the same patron, Agostino Chigi, the Papal Treasurer. Another building, for Pope Leo’s doctor, the Palazzo di Jacobo da Brescia, was moved in the 1930s but survives; this was designed to complement a palace on the same street by Bramante, where Raphael himself lived for a time. The Villa Madama, a lavish hillside retreat for Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, later Pope Clement VII, was never finished, and his full plans have to be reconstructed speculatively. He produced a design from which the final construction plans were completed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Even incomplete, it was the most sophisticated villa design yet seen in Italy, and greatly influenced the later development of the genre; it appears to be the only modern building in Rome of which Palladio made a measured drawing.

In 1515 he was made “Prefect” over all antiquities unearthed entrusted within the city, or a mile outside. Raphael wrote a letter to Pope Leo suggesting ways of halting the destruction of ancient monuments, and proposed a visual survey of the city to record all antiquities in an organised fashion. The Pope’s concerns were not exactly the same; he intended to continue to re-use ancient masonry in the building of St Peter’s, but wanted to ensure that all ancient inscriptions were recorded, and sculpture preserved, before allowing the stones to be reused. The Vatican projects took most of his time, although he painted several portraits, including those of his two main patrons, the popes Julius II and his successor Leo X, the former considered one of his finest. Other portraits were of his own friends, like Castiglione, or the immediate Papal circle. Other rulers pressed for work, and King Francis I of France was sent two paintings as diplomatic gifts from the Pope. For Agostino Chigi, the hugely rich banker and Papal Treasurer, he painted the Triumph of Galatea and designed further decorative frescoes for his Villa Farnesina, a chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Pace and mosaics in the funerary chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo. He also designed some of the decoration for the Villa Madama, the work in both villas being executed by his workshop.

One of his most important papal commissions was the Raphael Cartoons (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum), a series of 10 cartoons, of which seven survive, for tapestries with scenes of the lives of Saint Paul and Saint Peter, for the Sistine Chapel. The cartoons were sent to Brussels to be woven in the workshop of Pier van Aelst. He also designed and painted the Loggie at the Vatican, a long thin gallery then open to a courtyard on one side, decorated with Roman-style grottesche. He produced a number of significant altarpieces, including The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia and the Sistine Madonna. His last work, on which he was working up to his death, was a large Transfiguration, which together with Il Spasimo shows the direction his art was taking in his final years—more proto-Baroque than Mannerist.

Raphael also collaborated with Marcantonio Raimondi to produce engravings, Raimondi created many of the most famous Italian prints of the century, and was important in the rise of the reproductive print. His interest was unusual in such a major artist; from his contemporaries it was only shared by Titian, who had alao worked with Raimondi. A total of about fifty prints were made; some were copies of Raphael’s paintings, but other designs were apparently created by Raphael purely to be turned into prints. Raphael made preparatory drawings, many of which survive, for Raimondi to translate into engraving. The most famous original prints to result from the collaboration were Lucretia, the Judgement of Paris and The Massacre of the Innocents (of which two virtually identical versions were engraved), The Parnassus (with considerable differences) and Galatea. Outside Italy, reproductive prints by Raimondi and others were the main way that Raphael’s art was experienced until the twentieth century. Baviero Carocci, an assistant who Raphael evidently trusted ended up in control of most of the copper plates after Raphael’s death, and had a successful career in the new occupation of a publisher of prints.

Raphael was also an excellent draftsmen and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions. Over forty sketches survive for the Disputa in the Stanze. He used different drawings to refine his poses and compositions. For final compositions scaled-up full-size cartoons were made, He also made unusually extensive use, on both paper and plaster, of a “blind stylus”, scratching lines which leave only an indentation, but no mark. These can be seen on the wall in The School of Athens, The “Raphael Cartoons”, as tapestry designs, were fully coloured in a glue distemper medium, as they were sent to Brussels to be followed by the weavers. Most Raphael drawings are rather precise—even initial sketches with naked outline figures are carefully drawn, and later working drawings often have a high degree of finish, with shading and sometimes highlights in white. They lack the freedom and energy of some of Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s sketches, but are nearly always aesthetically very satisfying. He was one of the last artists to use metalpoint extensively, although he also made superb use of the freer medium of red or black chalk In his final years he was one of the first artists to use female models for preparatory drawings—male pupils (“garzoni”) were normally used for studies of both sexes.

From 1517 until his death, Raphael lived in the Palazzo Caprini in the Borgo, in a palace designed by Bramante. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena’s niece. He is said to have had many affairs, but his deepest love was “La Fornarina”, Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker (fornaro) named Francesco Luti from Siena who lived at Via del Governo Vecchio. He was made a “Groom of the Chamber” of the Pope, and a knight of the Papal Order of the Golden Spur. According to Vasari, Raphael’s premature death on Good Friday (April 6, 1520), which was possibly his 37th birthday, was caused by a night of excessive sex with Luti, after which he fell into a fever. Vasari also says that Raphael had also been born on a Good Friday, which in 1483 fell on March 28. During his acute illness, which lasted fifteen days, Raphael confessed his sins, receive the last rites, and to put his affairs in order, he left sufficient funds for his mistress’s care, entrusted to his loyal servant Baviera, and left most of his studio contents to Giulio Romano and Penni. Raphael was buried in the Pantheon. His funeral was extremely grand, attended by large crowds. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus, an elegiac distich was written by Pietro Bembo.

Piet Mondriaan

Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan, was born March 7, 1872. in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed Head Teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher; and, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan. Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein. In 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. He already was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in Primary Education, but he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is Naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes, depicting windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques. These paintings illustrate the influence various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including Pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism. On display in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague are a number of paintings from this period, including The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise. Another painting, Evening (Avond) (1908), a scene of haystacks in a field at dusk, uses a palette consisting almost entirely of red, yellow, and blue And is the earliest of Mondrian’s works to emphasize the primary colors. The earliest paintings that show an inkling of the abstraction to come are a series of canvases from 1905 to 1908, which depict dim scenes of indistinct trees and houses with reflections in still water. In 1908, he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Mondrian’s later work were influenced by the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism in Amsterdam. His search for simplification is shown in two versions of Still Life with Ginger Pot (Stilleven met Gemberpot). The 1911 version is Cubist; in, the 1912 version, it is reduced to a round shape with triangles and rectangles. In 1911, Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his name (dropping an ‘a’ from Mondriaan., in 1913, Mondrian began combining his art and his theosophical studies into a theory that signaled his final break from representational painting. While Mondrian was visiting home in 1914, World War I began, forcing him to remain in The Netherlands for the duration of the conflict. During this period, he stayed at the Laren artist’s colony, there meeting Bart van der Leck and Theo van Doesburg. Van der Leck’s use of only primary colors in his art greatly influenced Mondrian. Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”) in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing.

In 1918, Mondrian returned to France and he flourished in the atmosphere of intellectual freedom and artistic innovation. In 1919 Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear. In the early paintings of this style the lines delineating the rectangular forms are relatively thin, and they are gray, not black. The forms themselves, are smaller and more numerous than in later paintings, are filled with primary colors, black, or gray, and nearly all of them are colored; only a few are left white. Around 1920 Mondrian’s started painting thick black lines separating larger forms, which Were fewer in number, with more Spaces being left white. the rectangular forms remain mostly colored. such as in the “lozenge” works that Mondrian began producing with regularity in the mid-1920s. The “lozenge” paintings are square canvases tilted 45 degrees, so that they hang in a diamond shape. Typical of these is Schilderij No. 1: Lozenge With Two Lines and Blue (1926), also known as Composition With Blue and Composition in White and Blue, which is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of the most minimal of Mondrian’s canvases, this painting consists only of two black, perpendicular lines and a small triangular form, colored blue. As the years progressed, lines began to take precedence over forms in his painting. In the 1930s, he began to use thinner lines and double lines more frequently, punctuated with a few small colored forms, if any at all.

In September 1938, Mondrian left Paris in the face of advancing fascism and moved to London. After the Netherlands were invaded and Paris fell in 1940, he left London for Manhattan, where he would remain until his death. works from this later period demonstrate an unprecedented business, however, with more lines than any of his work since the 1920s, placed in an overlapping arrangement that is almost cartographical in appearance. Mondrian produced Lozenge Composition With Four Yellow Lines (1933), a simple painting that included thick, coloured lines instead of black ones, as well as Composition (1938) and Place de la Concorde (1943). The new canvases that Mondrian began in Manhattan are even more startling. New York City (1942) is a complex lattice of red, blue, and yellow lines, occasionally interlacing to create a greater sense of depth than his previous works.

His painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942–43) was highly influential in the school of abstract geometric painting. The piece is made up of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, then appear to shimmer, drawing the viewer into those neon lights. Mondrian replaced former solid lines with lines created from small adjoining rectangles of color, created in part by using small pieces of paper tape in various colors. Larger unbounded rectangles of color punctuate the design, some with smaller concentric rectangles inside them. While Mondrian’s works of the 1920s and 1930s have an almost scientific austerity about them, these are bright, lively paintings, reflecting the upbeat music that inspired them and the city in which they were made. Piet Mondrian returned to Paris in 1919, and set about making his studio a nurturing environment for paintings which expressed Neo-Plasticism. In 1943, Mondrian moved into his second and final Manhattan studio but Tragically died in February 1944 after contracting pneumonia. He is interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.On February 2, 1944, a memorial, attended by nearly 200, was held for Mondrian, at the Universal Chapel on Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Michelangelo

Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born 6 March 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany. Several months after Michelangelo’s birth, the family returned to Florence, where Michelangelo was raised. Michelangelo’s father sent him to study grammar with the Humanist Francesco da Urbino in Florence as a young boy. The young artist, however, showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of painters. At thirteen, Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. When Michelangelo was only fourteen, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay his apprentice as an artist, which was highly unusual at the time. When in 1489, Lorenzo de’ Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy which the Medici had founded along Neo Platonic lines. Michelangelo studied sculpture under Bertoldo di Giovanni. At the academy, both Michelangelo’s outlook and his art were subject to the influence of many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. At this time, Michelangelo sculpted the reliefs Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492) and Battle of the Centaurs.

Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death on 8 April 1492 brought a reversal of Michelangelo’s circumstances. Michelangelo left the security of the Medici court and returned to his father’s house. In the following months he carved a wooden crucifix (1493), as a gift to the prior of the Florentine church of Santo Spirito, which had permitted him some studies of anatomy on the corpses of the church’s hospital. Between 1493 and 1494 he bought a block of marble for a larger than life statue of Hercules, which was sent to France and subsequently disappeared sometime circa 18th century. On 20 January 1494, after heavy snowfalls, Lorenzo’s heir, Piero de Medici, commissioned a snow statue, and Michelangelo again entered the court of the Medici.

In the same year, the Medici were expelled from Florence as the result of the rise of Savonarola. Michelangelo left the city before the end of the political upheaval, moving to Venice and then to Bologna. In Bologna, he was commissioned to finish the carving of the last small figures of the Shrine of St. Dominic. Michelangelo arrived in Rome 25 June 1496[19] at the age of 21. On 4 July of the same year, he began work on a commission for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, an over-life-size statue of the Roman wine god Bacchus.In November 1497, the French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the Pietà. Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1499–1501 and was asked to complete a colossal statue portraying David as a symbol of Florentine freedom, to be placed in the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and this was completed in 1504. Michelangelo also painted the Holy Family and St John, also known as the Doni Tondo or the Holy Family of the Tribune. He also may have painted the Madonna and Child with John the Baptist, known as the Manchester Madonna and now in the National Gallery, London, United Kingdom. In 1505, Michelangelo was invited back to Rome by the newly elected Pope Julius II.

He was commissioned to build the Pope’s tomb. During the same period, Michelangelo also took the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512). Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but lobbied for a different and more complex scheme, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation through the prophets and Genealogy of Christ. The work is part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel which represents much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from the Book of Genesis, divided into three groups: God’s Creation of the Earth; God’s Creation of Humankind and their fall from God’s grace; and lastly, the state of Humanity as represented by Noah and his family. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling are painted twelve men and women who prophesied the coming of the Jesus. They are seven prophets of Israel and five Sibyls, prophetic women of the Classical world.Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Prophet Isaiah and the Cumaean Sibyl. The fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement VII.

Michelangelo was also commissioned to reconstruct the façade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence and to adorn it with sculptures. After this Michelangelo eventually left Florence for good in the mid-1530s. In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and designed its dome., there was concern that Michelangelo would pass away before the dome was finished. However, once building commenced on the lower part of the dome, the supporting ring, the completion of the design was inevitable. Michelangelo died in Rome at the age of 88 (three weeks before his 89th birthday). His body was brought back from Rome for interment at the Basilica of Santa Croce, fulfilling the maestro’s last request to be buried in his beloved Florence.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed, The late, great American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer, was born in Brooklyn, New York 2 March 1942. He is best remembered as the vocalis, guitarist and songwriter for the band Velvet Underground and a successful solo artist whose career spanned several decades. Lou Reed developed an ear for rhythm and blues, forming several bands while still in high school after teaching himself to play guitar simply by listening to the radio.Reed introduced avant garde rock to mainstream music and has been credited as having a significant impact on American culture.

He is most famous for his collaboration with famed pop artist and mentor Andy Warhol which is perhaps one of the most important pairings of this century (along with Lennon & McCartney) and spawned The Velvet Underground. At first The Velvet Underground were a commercial failure in the late 1960s, the group has gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise and has gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era.As the Velvet Underground’s principal songwriter, Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined so openly in rock and roll, including sexuality and drug culture. Although the Velvet Underground never achieved great commercial success, their idosyncratic combination of harsh guitars and smooth melodies sung by Reed or the German model Nico proved enduring” Andy Warhol also incorporated the Velvet Underground’s music into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events. As a songwriter, Reed broke new ground by writing songs about taboo subjects as S&M, transvestites and transsexuals, prostitution and drug addiction.

The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996.The band has long been recognizsd as a major musical influence on punk and art rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to musician Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band. Following his departure from The Velvet Underground in 1970, ‘Reed began a solo career in 1971 that would span several decades and although his songs subsequently lacked the mainstream commercial success and his work frustrated critics who we’re hoping for a return the the Velvet Underground, he went on to record a series of seminal and sometimes challenging singles and solo albums including Transformer, Berlin and Metal Machine Music and collaborated with many artists over the course of his career, including David Bowie, Antony and the Johnsons and Kate McGarrigle. Reed sadly passed away October 27, 2013, Southampton, New York, United States but remained an avid and interesting artist, branching out into photography and released two book of his work, ‘Emotions in Action’ and ‘Lou Reed’s New York.’Reed interacted with fans regularly, with a Facebook page and a Twitter account with more than 42,000 followers And left the world with some Classic Albums.