Pop Art Day/ Jackson Pollock

PopArt day takes place annually on 28th January to commemorate the birth of the American Artist Jackson Pollock and inspire artists to create their own Pop Art. Paul Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, in 28 January 1912, His parents. Stella and LeRoy Pollock were Presbyterian; and of Irish and Scots-Irish descent, respectively. LeRoy Pollock was a farmer and later a land surveyor for the government, moving for different jobs. Stella, proud of her family’s heritage as weavers, made and sold dresses as a teenager. In 1912, Stella took her sons to San Diego; Jackson was just 10 months old He subsequently grew up in Arizona and Chico, California. While living in Echo Park, California, he enrolled at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, from which he was expelled. He had already been expelled in 1928 from another high school. During his early life, Pollock explored Native American culture while on surveying trips with his father. In 1930, following his older brother Charles Pollock, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. In the early 1930s, Pollock spent a summer touring the Western United States together with Glen Rounds, a fellow art student, and Benton, their teacher.

Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s, such as Male and Female and Composition with Pouring I. After his move to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor and he developed what was later called his “drip” technique. Between 1938 and 1942 Pollock worked for the WPA Federal Art Project. Pollock became an Alcoholic and underwent Jungian psychotherapy with Dr. Joseph Henderson and later with Dr. Violet Staub de Laszlo in 1941–42. Henderson engaged him through his art, encouraging Pollock to make drawings. Jungian concepts and archetypes were expressed in his paintings. It is possible that Pollock might have had bipolar disorder (When I get depressed I find that drawing can have an uplifting effect, i think I would go mad without Autodesk Sketchbook, however I digress). In 1943 Pollock signed a gallery contract with Peggy Guggenheim in July 1943. He received the commission to create the 8-by-20-foot (2.4 by 6.1 m) Mural for the entry to her new townhouse. Pollock painted the work on canvas, rather than the wall, so that it would be portable. Pollock’s most famous paintings were made during the “drip period” between 1947 and 1950. He rocketed to fame following an August 8, 1949 four-page spread in Life magazine.

Then At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style. Pollock’s work after 1951 was darker in color, including a collection painted in black on unprimed canvases. These paintings have been referred to as his ‘Black pourings’ and show Pollock attempting to find a balance between abstraction and depictions of the figure. He later returned to using color and continued with figurative elements. Pollock also moved to the Sidney Janis Gallery, a more commercial gallery; the demand for his work from collectors was great. Unfortunately the extra pressure this put on him, plus personal frustration, worsened his alcoholism.

In 1942 Jackson met fellow artist Lee Krasner while they both exhibited at the McMillen Gallery. Krasner was unfamiliar, yet intrigued with Pollock’s work and went to his apartment, unannounced, to meet him following the gallery. In 1945 Pollock and Lee Krasner married and moved out of the city to the Springs area of East Hampton on the south shore of Long Island into a wood-frame house and barn at 830 Springs Fireplace Road which Pollock converted into a studio, where he perfected his big “drip” technique with which he would become permanently identified. Lee Krasner had an immense impact on Pollock’s art due to her extensive knowledge and training in modern art and techniques which influenced Pollack and helped her bring him up to date with what contemporary art should be and Pollock’s style became more organized and cosmopolitan.

Lee Krasner also introduced Pollock to many collectors, critics, and artists, including Herbert Matter. Jackson Pollock also influenced Lee Krasner’s, artwork and Krasner began to reproduce and reinterpret her husband’s chaotic “I Am Nature” paint splatters in her own work. In 1955, Pollock painted Scent and Search, his last two paintings. In 1956 he was making sculptures at Tony Smith’s home: constructions of wire, gauze, and plaster. Shaped by sand-casting, they have heavily textured surfaces similar to what Pollock often created in his paintings.

Sadly by 1956 Pollock and Krasner’s relationship began to crumble owing to Pollock’s continuing alcoholism and infidelity involving Ruth Kligman. Then tragically On August 11, 1956, Pollock died in a single-car crash in his Oldsmobile convertible while driving under the influence of alcohol. At the time Krasner was visiting friends in Europe and she abruptly returned on hearing the news One of the passengers, Edith Metzger, was also killed in the accident, which occurred less than a mile from Pollock’s home. The other passenger, Ruth Kligman, an artist and Pollock’s mistress, survived. Lee Krasner managed his estate For the rest of her life and ensured that Pollock’s reputation remained strong despite changing art world trends. The couple are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs with a large boulder marking his grave and a smaller one marking hers.

Edvard Munch

Norwiegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch sadly passed away 23 January 1944. Born 12 December 1863 in Ådalsbruk in Løten. He inherited his artistic talent from his mother and was related to painter Jacob Munch (1776–1839) and historian Peter Andreas Munch (1810–1863). Often ill for much of the winters and kept out of school, Edvard would draw to keep himself occupied, and received tutoring from his school mates and his aunt. Christian Munch also instructed his son in history and literature, and entertained the children with vivid ghost-stories and tales of Edgar Allan Poe. The oppressive religious upbringing by his Father, plus Edvard’s poor health and the vivid ghost stories, helped inspire macabre visions and nightmares in Edvard, who felt death constantly advancing on him. Munch would later write, “I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity.” By his teens, art dominated Munch’s interests. At thirteen, Munch had his first exposure to other artists at the newly formed Art Association, where he admired the work of the Norwegian landscape school. He returned to copy the paintings, and soon he began to paint in oils.

In 1879, Munch enrolled in a technical college to study engineering, where he excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. He learned scaled and perspective drawing, but frequent illnesses interrupted his studies. The following year, much to his father’s disappointment, Munch left the college determined to become a painter. His father viewed art as an “unholy trade”.In 1881, Munch enrolled at the Royal School of Art and Design of Christiania. Munch demonstrated his quick absorption of his figure training at the Academy in his first portraits, including one of his father and his first self-portrait. In 1883, Munch took part in his first public exhibition and shared a studio with other students. During these early years in his career, Munch experimented with many styles, including Naturalism and Impressionism. Some early works are reminiscent of Manet, and he continued to employ a variety of brushstroke technique and color palettes throughout the 1880s and early 1890s, as he struggled to define his style. His idiom continued to veer between naturalistic, as seen in Portrait of Hans Jæger, and impressionistic, as in Rue Lafayette. He began to carefully calculate his compositions to create tension and emotion. While stylistically influenced by the Post-Impressionists, what evolved was a subject matter which was symbolist in content, depicting a state of mind rather than an external reality.

In 1889, Munch presented his first one-man show of nearly all his works to date. The recognition it received led to a two-year state scholarship to study in Paris. His picture, Morning (1884), was displayed at the Norwegian pavilion.He spent his mornings in the studio (which included live female models) and afternoons at the exhibition, galleries, and museums. Munch was enthralled by the vast display of modern European art, including the works of three artists who would prove influential: Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was particularly inspired by Gauguin’s “reaction against realism” and his credo that “art was human work and not an imitation of Nature”.By 1892, Munch formulated his characteristic, and original, Synthetist aesthetic, as seen in Melancholy (1891).In Berlin, Munch involved himself in an international circle of writers, artists and critics. During his four years in Berlin, Munch sketched out most of the ideas that would comprise his major work, including The Frieze of Life, His other paintings, including casino scenes, Ashes, Death in a Sick Room and The Scream which is one of his best known works and was painted in 1893,& has been widely interpreted as representing the universal anxiety of modern man. Painted with broad bands of garish color and highly simplified forms, and employing a high viewpoint, the agonized figure is reduced to a garbed skull in the throes of an emotional crisis. It is one of only a few paintings, among them “Whistler’s Mother, Wood’s American Gothic and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, whose impact is immediate & meaning can be seen straight away.

In December 1893, Unter den Linden in Berlin held an exhibition of Munch’s work, showing, among other pieces, six paintings entitled Study for a Series: Love. This began a cycle he later called the Frieze of Life – A Poem about Life, Love and Death. In 1896, Munch moved to Paris, where he focused on graphic representations of his “Frieze of Life” themes. He further developed his woodcut and lithographic technique. Munch’s Self-Portrait With Skeleton Arm. Munch also produced a multi-colored versions of “The Sick Child” as well as several nudes and multiple versions of Kiss. Munch returned to Christiania in 1897 and painted landscapes and his final painting in “The Frieze of Life” series, The Dance of Life . In 1900 he returned to Berlin, where he painted Girls on the Jetty to demonstrate the theme of feminine youth without negative connotations. In 1902, he displayed his works thematically at the hall of the Berlin Succession, producing “a symphonic effect”. Despite his success Munch’s self-destructive and erratic behavior continued, and after he got involved in an accidental shooting, his wife left him, this affected him deeply & he chanelled his bitterness into the paintings Still Life (The Murderess) and The Death of Marat I.

Between 1903 and 1904, Munch exhibited in Paris where the coming Fauvists, famous for their boldly false colors, likely saw his works and might have found inspiration in them. When the Fauves held their own exhibit in 1906, Munch was invited and displayed his works with theirs.During this time, Munch received many commissions for portraits and prints which improved his usually precarious financial condition. After an earlier period of landscapes, in 1907 he turned his attention again to human figures and situations. However, in the autumn of 1908, Munch’s anxiety, compounded by excessive drinking and brawling, had become acute. Subject to hallucinations and feelings of persecution, he entered the clinic of Dr. Daniel Jacobson where he received therapy for the next eight months Munch’s stay in hospital stabilized his personality, and after returning to Norway in 1909, his work became more colorful and less pessimistic. Further brightening his mood museums began to purchase his paintings and he was made a Knight of the Royal Order of St. Olav “for services in art”. His first American exhibit was in 1912 in New York & produced several full-length portraits of high quality of friends and patrons & also created landscapes and scenes of people at work and play, using a new optimistic style—broad, loose brushstrokes of vibrant color with frequent use of white space and rare use of black.

Munch spent most of his last two decades in solitude at his nearly self-sufficient estate in Ekely, at Skøyen, Oslo. Many of his later paintings celebrate farm life. Munch also continued to paint unsparing self-portraits, unflinching series of snapshots of his emotional and physical states. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis labeled Munch’s work “degenerate art” (along with Picasso, Paul Klee, Matisse, Gauguin and many other modern artists) and removed his 82 works from German museums.In 1940, the Germans invaded Norway and the Nazi party took over the government. Munch was seventy-six years old. With nearly an entire collection of his art in the second floor of his house, Munch lived in fear of a Nazi confiscation. Seventy-one of the paintings previously taken by the Nazis had found their way back to Norway through purchase by collectors (the other eleven were never recovered), including The Scream and The Sick Child, and they too were hidden from the Nazis. Munch died in his house at Ekely near Oslo on 23 January 1944, about a month after his 80th birthday. When Munch died, his remaining works were bequeathed to the city of Oslo, which built the Munch Museum at Tøyen which hosts a collection of approximately 1,100 paintings, 4,500 drawings, and 18,000 prints, the broadest collection of his works in the world

Paul Cezanne

Prolific French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was Born 19th January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, France, At the age of ten Paul entered the Saint Joseph school, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk, in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who would come to be known as “les trois inséparables” (the three inseparables). He stayed there for six years. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father’s wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons. Hhe committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861, encouraged by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro and Over the course of the following decade they went on many landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise.Cézanne’s early work is often concerned with the figure in the landscape and includes many paintings of groups of large, heavy figures in the landscape, imaginatively painted.

Later in his career, he became more interested in working from direct observation and gradually developed a light, airy painting style, but was also interested in the simplification of naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials.Additionally, Cézanne’s desire to capture the truth of perception led him to explore binocular vision graphically, rendering slightly different, yet simultaneous visual perceptions of the same phenomena to provide the viewer with a different aesthetic experience of depth than those of earlier ideals of perspective, in particular single-point perspective. Cézanne’s paintings were shown in the first exhibition of the Salon des Refusés in 1863, which displayed works not accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon. Although in 1882 he exhibited Portrait of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, Father of the Artist, reading ‘l’Evénement his first and last successful submission to the Salon. Cézanne exhibited twice at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877). a few individual paintings were also shown at various venues, until 1895 when he had his first solo exhibition. He concentrated on a few subjects and was equally proficient in each of these genres: still lifes, portraits, landscapes and studies of bathers.

His work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso considered Cézanne “ the father of us all”. Cézanne’s often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne’s intense study of his subjects. Cezanne sadly passed away, on 22nd October 1906 after he was caught in a rain storm for two hours while painting in a nearby field and contracted pneumonia. He is buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.

Henri Matisse

French artist Henri Matisse was Born 31 December 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord, he is known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. Matsse was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Matisse was also recognized as a leader of an artistic movement known as Fauvism which began 1900 and continued beyond 1910. The leaders of the movement were Matisse & André Derain; who were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members were Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826–1898) was the movement’s inspirational teacher who pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions. In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists exhibited together & The paintings expressed emotion with wild, often dissonant colours, without regard for the subject’s natural colours. Matisse showed Open Window and Woman with the Hat at the Salon. Matisses’s fondnes for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he spent the summer of 1904 painting in St. Tropez with the neo-Impressionists Signac and Henri Edmond Cross. In 1904 he painted the most important of his works , Luxe, Calme et Volupté. In 1905 he travelled southwards again to work with André Derain. His paintings of this period are characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, and use pointillism in a less rigorous way than before.

Around April 1906 he met Pablo Picasso, & The two became lifelong friends as well as rivals and areoften compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still life, . Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas, who became important collectors and supporters of Matisse’s paintings during the first decade of the 20th century. They also collected many paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, and Picasso at the Salon and Gertrude Stein’s two American friends , the Cone sisters Claribel and Etta,also became major patrons of Matisse and Picasso, collecting hundreds of their paintings. The Cone collection is now exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Art.In 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. After 1930 a new vigor and bolder simplification appeared in his work. American art collector Albert C. Barnes convinced him to produce a large mural for the Barnes Foundation, The Dance II, completed 1932; the Foundation owns several dozen other Matisse paintings. This move towards simplification and a foreshadowing of the cutout technique are also evident in his painting Large Reclining Nude.In 1941, he underwent surgery and started using a wheelchair, and was cared for by , Lydia Delektorskaya who was formerly one of his models, Then With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. His Blue Nudes series feature prime examples of this technique he called “painting with scissors”;

during World War II Matisse, was shocked to learn that his daughter Marguerite, was active in the Résistance and had been captured & tortured in Rennes prison and sentenced to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, but avoided further imprisonment by escaping from the Ravensbrück-bound train and survived in the woods until rescued by fellow members of the Resistance. In 1947 Matisse published Jazz, a limited-edition book containing about one hundred prints based on his colorful paper cutouts accompanied by his written thoughts. In the 1940s he also worked as a graphic artist and produced black-and-white illustrations for several books and over one hundred original lithographs at the Mourlot Studios in Paris. Matisse was much admired and repeatedly referred to by the Greek Nobelist poet Odysseas Elytis. Elytis was introduced to Matisse through their common friend Tériade, during the work on the Cutouts. Matisse had painted the wall of the dining room of Tériade’s residence, the Villa Natacha in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat,In 1951 Matisse finished designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel. This project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie’ He had hired her as a nurse and model in 1941 before she became a Dominican nun and they met again in Vence and started the collaboration, .

In 1952 he established a museum dedicated to his work, the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau, and this museum is now the third-largest collection of Matisse works in France. Matisse’s final work was the design for a stained-glass window installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills near the Rockefeller estate north of New York City. “It was his final artistic creation; the maquette was on the wall of his bedroom when he died on November 3rd 1954 after having a heart attack at the age of 84. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, near Nice . German media have also recently revealed th discovery of Nazi plundered art worth €1bn in Munich, including lost works by Picasso and Matisse.

Wassily Kandinsky

Influential Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was born 16 December 1866 in Moscow. Kandinsky 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 sculpted 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 painted four reliefs with scenes from the life of St. Anthony for the high altar.

Edvard Munch

Prolific Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch was born 12 December 1863 in Ådalsbruk in Løten. He was related to painter Jacob Munch (1776–1839) and historian Peter Andreas Munch (1810–1863). Often ill for much of the winters and kept out of school, Edvard was artistic and received tutoring in history and literature, and entertained the children with vivid ghost-stories and tales of Edgar Allan Poe. An oppressive religious upbringing plus poor health and vivid ghost stories, helped inspire macabre visions and nightmares in Edvard.

Munch’s interest in art increased after seeing the work of others at the newly formed Art Association, particularly the Norwegian landscape school whose paintings inspired him to start painting in oils.In 1879, Munch enrolled in a technical college to study engineering, where he excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. However frequent illnesses interrupted his studies, and Munch left the college determined to become a painter.In 1881, Munch enrolled at the Royal School of Art and Design of Christiania and In 1883, Munch took part in his first public exhibition and shared a studio with other students. Munch experimented with many styles, including Naturalism and Impressionism as seen in Portrait of Hans Jæger, and Rue Lafayette and was also inspired by Post-Impressionism.And His subject matter became symbolist in content, depicting a state of mind rather than an external reality. In 1889, Munch presented his first one-man show of nearly all his works to date which led to a two-year state scholarship to study in Paris. His picture, Morning (1884), was displayed at the Norwegian pavilion.

He spent his mornings working in the studio and afternoons visiting exhibitions, galleries, and museums and was enthralled by the vast display of modern European art, particularly: Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Munch created the Synthetist aesthetic, as seen in Melancholy. He moved to Berlin for four years and became part of an international circle of writers, artists and critics and sketched his ideas for The Frieze of Life, Ashes, Death in a Sick Room and The Scream in December 1893, Unter den Linden in Berlin held an exhibition of Munch’s work. showing, among other pieces, Study for a Series: Love. This began a cycle he later called the Frieze of Life – A Poem about Life, Love and Death.

In 1896, Munch moved to Paris, where he focused on graphic representations of his “Frieze of Life” themes and also developed his woodcut and lithographic technique. Munch also produced a multi-colored versions of “The Sick Child”, several nudes and multiple versions of Kiss. Munch returned to Christiania in 1897 and painted landscapes and his final painting in “The Frieze of Life” series, The Dance of Life . In 1900 he returned to Berlin, where he painted Girls on the Jetty In 1902, he displayed his works at the hall of the Berlin Succession.

Despite his success Munch’s self-destructive and erratic behavior continued, and his wife left him after he got involved in an accidental shooting. This deeply upset him and he painted Still Life (The Murderess) and The Death of Marat. In 1903-4, Munch exhibited in Paris where his work inspired the Fauvists, who were famous for their boldly false colors, and When the Fauves held their own exhibit in 1906, Munch was invited and displayed his works with theirs. Munch also received many commissions for portraits and also painted many landscapes, human figures and situations. However, in the autumn of 1908, Munch’s anxiety, compounded by excessive drinking and brawling, had become acute. Subject to hallucinations and feelings of persecution, he entered the clinic of Dr. Daniel Jacobson for the next eight months which stabilized his personality, and after returning to Norway in 1909, his work became more colourful and less pessimistic. Museums also began to purchase his paintings and he was made a Knight of the Royal Order of St. Olav “for services in art”. His first American exhibit was in 1912 in New York & produced several full-length portraits of high quality of friends and patrons & also created landscapes and scenes of people at work and play, using a new vibrant colourful optimistic style. Munch spent his last two decades at his nearly self-sufficient estate in Ekely, at Skøyen, Oslo, painting farm life and unsparing self-portraits, detailing his emotional and physical states.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis labeled Munch’s work “degenerate art” (along with Picasso, Paul Klee, Matisse, Gauguin and many other modern artists) and removed his 82 works from German museums and When the Germans invaded Norway in 1941 seventy-six year old Munch lived in fear of the Nazi confiscating the entire collection of his art which was stored in the second floor of his house, Luckily Seventy-one of the paintings previously taken by the Nazis have been recovered through purchase by collectors, including The Scream and The Sick Child. Munch died in his house at Ekely near Oslo on 23 January 1944, about a month after his 80th birthday and his remaining works were bequeathed to the city of Oslo, and collection of approximately 1,100 paintings, 4,500 drawings, and 18,000 prints can be seen at the Munch Museum at Tøyen.