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 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.

Kumamoto Castle

I have recently completed a Veraxen paint-by-numbers of Kumamoto Castle (熊本城 Kumamoto-jō). Kumamoto  castle is located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, in Kumamoto Prefecture and dates back to 1467, when fortifications were established by Ideta Hidenobu. In 1496, these fortifications were expanded by Kanokogi Chikakazu.In 1588, Katō Kiyomasa was transferred to the early incarnation of Kumamoto Castle.

Between 1601 and 1607, Kiyomasa greatly expanded the castle, transforming it into a castle complex with 49 turrets, 18 turret gates, and 29 smaller gates. The smaller castle tower, built sometime after the keep, had several facilities including a well and kitchen. In 1610, the Honmaru Goten Palace was completed. The castle complex measures roughly 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) from east to west, and measures 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) from north to south. The castle keep is 30.3 metres (99 ft) tall.

In 1877 The castle was besieged during the Satsuma Rebellion, and the castle keep and other parts were burned down. However 13 of the buildings in the castle complex were undamaged, and have been designated Important Cultural Properties. In 1960, the castle keep was reconstructed using concrete. From 1998 to 2008, the castle complex underwent restoration work, during which most of the 17th century structures were rebuilt. The signature curved stone walls, known as musha-gaeshi, as well as wooden overhangs, were designed to prevent attackers from penetrating the castle. Rock falls were also used as deterrents. In nearby San-no-Maru Park is the Hosokawa Gyobu-tei, the former residence of the Hosokawa clan, the daimyō of Higo Province during the Edo period. This traditional wooden mansion has a noted Japanese garden located in its grounds. In 2006, Kumamoto Castle was listed as one of the 100 Fine Castles of Japan by the Japan Castle Foundation. On December 7, 2007, a large-scale renovation of the Inner Palace was completed. A public ceremony for the restoration was held on April 20, 2008.

Sadly The castle sustained damage in a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck at 9:26 pm on 14 April 2016, in Mashiki town in Kumamoto prefecture. This event is substantially similar to the 1889 Kumamoto earthquake which also damaged the castle. A stone wall at the foot of the keep partially collapsed, and several of the castle’s shachihoko ornaments fell from the roof of the keep and broke apart. It sustained further extensive damage the next day on 15 April following a 7.3 magnitude earthquake where some portions were completely destroyed. While the keep itself withstood most of the earthquake with little structural damage, two of the castle’s turrets were severely damaged and partially collapsed, more of the exterior walls at the foot of the keep also collapsed, and large amounts of kawara roof tiles on the keep’s roof were also disrupted and fell from the roof as a result of the quake. The fallen roof tiles are actually deliberately designed to have done so – when the castle was constructed, such roof tiles were used so that in the event of an earthquake, the tiles would fall off the damaged roof, preventing it from being weighted down and collapsing into the building’s interior. It is estimated that it will take decades to fully restore the castle from the earthquake damage, which undid 60 years of prior restoration work. Efforts to repair the castle began in2016. The restoration of the main tower will be completed by 2019. The completion date of full repair and restoration of the entire castle is scheduled to set in the year 2036. On April 7, 2018, the newly made shachihoko ornament had been installed on the top roof of the large tenshu tower with the second one being installed on April 12

Toulouse Lautrec

Prolific French Impressionist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born 24 November 1864. Henri’s parents, the Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (Henri’s two grandmothers were sisters) and unfortunately Henri suffered from congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of inbreeding. At the age of 13 Henri fractured his right thigh bone and, at 14, the left.The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown genetic disorder, possibly pycnodysostosis (also sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome), or a variant disorder along the lines of osteopetrosis, achondroplasia, or osteogenesis imperfecta. Rickets aggravated with praecox virilism has also been suggested. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was extremely short. He had developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs. He is also reported to have had hypertrophied genitals.

He was Physically unable to participate in many activities typically enjoyed by men of his age, so Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art instead. He became an important Post-Impressionistpainter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer, and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine Le Rire during the mid-1890s. After failing college entrance exams, Henri passed at his second attempt and completed his studies. During a stay in Nice his progress in painting and drawing impressed Princeteau, who persuaded his parents to let him return to Paris and study under the acclaimed portrait painter Léon Bonnat. Henri’s mother had high ambitions and, with the aim of Henri becoming a fashionable and respected painter, used the family influence to get him into Bonnat’s studio.Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Henri in the heart of Montmartre, an area he rarely left over the next 20 years.

After Bonnat took a new job, Henri moved to the studio of Fernand Cormon in 1882 and studied for a further five years and established the group of friends he kept for the rest of his life. At this time he met Émile Bernard and Van Gogh. Cormon, whose instruction was more relaxed than Bonnat’s, allowed his pupils to roam Paris, looking for subjects to paint. In this period Toulouse-Lautrec had his first encounter with a prostitute (reputedly sponsored by his friends), which led him to paint his first painting of prostitutes in Montmartre, a woman rumoured to be called Marie-Charlotte.La Toilette. in 1887 he participated in an exposition in Toulouse using the pseudonym “Tréclau”, an anagram of the family name ‘Lautrec’. He later exhibited in Paris with Van Gogh and Louis Anquetin. The Belgian critic Octave Maus invited him to present eleven pieces at the Vingt (the Twenties) exhibition in Brussels in February. Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Theo bought ‘Poudre de Riz’ (Rice Powder) for 150 francs for the Goupil & Ciegallery.

From 1889 until 1894, Henri took part in the “Independent Artists’ Salon” on a regular basis. He made several landscapes of Montmartre, painting a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin, the red-head model who appears in The Laundress (1888) in the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret.Toulouse-Lautrec was also commissioned to produce a series of posters for the Moulin Rouge. Other artists looked down on the work, but Henri was so aristocratic he did not care. The cabaret reserved a seat for him and displayed his paintings. Among the well-known works that he painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs are depictions of the singer Yvette Guilbert; the dancer Louise Weber, known as the outrageousLa Goulue (“The Glutton”), who created the “French Can-Can”; and the much more subtle dancer Jane Avrill. Toulouse-Lautrec also travelled to London. Making posters in London led him to making the ‘Confetti’ poster, and the bicycle advert ‘La Chaîne Simpson’.While in London he met and befriended Oscar Wilde. When Wilde faced imprisonment in Britain, Henri was a very vocal supporter of Wilde. Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrait of Wilde was painted the same year as Wilde’s trial.

Throughout his career, Toulouse-Lautrec created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and an unknown number of lost works. His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. His style was influenced by the classical Japanese woodprints which became popular in art circles in Paris. In his works can be seen parallels to Manet’s detached barmaid at A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas. He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the colour and the movement of the gaudy night-life present but the glamour stripped away. He was masterly at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized. At the time that they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded. His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, scenes of Parisian night-life, or intimate studies, has been described as both sympathetic and dispassionate.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s painting style is highly linear and gives great emphasis to contour. He often applied the paint in long, thin brushstrokes which would often leave much of the board on which they are painted showing through. Many of his works may best be described as drawings in coloured paint. Due to his illness Lautrec was rather short and was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.At first this was beer and wine, but his tastes expanded. He was one of the notable Parisians who enjoyed American-style cocktails, France being a nation of wine purists. He had parties at his house on Friday nights and forced his guests to try them. The invention of the cocktail “Earthquake” or Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half cognac (in a wine goblet, 3 parts Absinthe and 3 parts Cognac, sometimes served with ice cubes or shaken in a cocktail shaker filled with ice).In 1893 Lautrec’s alcoholism began to take its toll, and as those around him realized the seriousness of his condition there were rumours of a syphilis infection. In 1899 his mother and some concerned friends had him briefly institutionalised. He even had a cane that hid alcohol so that a drink was always available.

Toulouse Lautrec Sadly passed away 9 September 1901. However His immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 1800s yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie’s auction house, a new record was set when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million U.S. Toulouse Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death and died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the family estate in Malromé at the age of 36. He is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometres from the Château Malromé, where he died. After His death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum owns the world’s largest collection of works by the painter.

Claude Monet

French impressionist painter Claude Monet was Born November 14th 1840. He was a founder of , and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). In 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts. Locals knew him well for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques- François Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857, he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet “en plein air” (outdoor) techniques for painting.When Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, he witnessed painters copying from the old masters. Having brought his paints and other tools with him, he would go and sit by a window and paint what he saw. Monet was in Paris for several years and met other young painters who would become friends and fellow impressionists; among them was Édouard Manet. Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley.

Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism. Monet’s Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La femme à la robe verte), painted in 1866, brought him recognition and was one of many works featuring his future wife, Camille Doncieux; she was the model for the figures in Women in the Garden of the following year, as well as for On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868.After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War , Monet took refuge in England in September 1870, where he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whose landscapes would serve to inspire Monet’s innovations in the study of color. In the spring of 1871, Monet’s works were not included in the Royal Academy exhibition. In May 1871, he left London to live in Zaandam, in the Netherlands. He also paid a first visit to nearby Amsterdam. In October or November 1871, Monet moved to Argenteuil, a village on the right bank of the Seine river near Paris, and this was where he painted some of his best known works. In 1872, he painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) depicting a Le Havre port landscape. It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. the term “Impressionism” was coined from the painting’s title the painting titled Boulevard des Capucines was also in this exhibition.

Monet married Camille Doncieux and, after visiting London and Zaandam, they moved to Argenteuil. It was during this time that Monet painted various works of modern life. In 1878 Monet moved to the village of Vétheuil. in March 1878 Camille gave birth to her second child Michel Monet, Sadly though On 5 September 1879, she of died tuberculosis at the age of thirty-two. Monet painted her on her death bed & After several difficult months following the death of Camille a grief-stricken Monet (resolving never to be mired in poverty again) began in earnest to create some of his best paintings of the 19th century. In April 1883, whilst looking out the window of the little train between Vernon and Gasny, he discovered Giverny, and in 1883, he moved to Vernon, then to a house in Giverny in Normandy, where he lived the rest of his life, the barn doubled as a painting studio, and it was here that he painted several groups of landscapes and seascapes in what he considered to be campaigns to document the French countryside. His extensive campaigns evolved into his series’ paintings. with the surrounding landscape offering many suitable motifs for Monet’s work and Monet’s fortunes began to change for the better and Monet became prosperous enough to buy the house, the surrounding buildings and the land for his gardens.

During the 1890s, Monet built a greenhouse and a second studio & from the 1880s through the end of his life in 1926, Monetworked on “series” paintings, in which a subject was depicted in varying light and weather conditions. His first series exhibited as such was of Haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day. Fifteenof the paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1891. He later produced several series of paintings including: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, the Parliament, Mornings on the Seine, and the Water Lilies that were painted on his property at Giverny. Monet was fond of painting controlled nature: his own gardens in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine, producing paintings such as Break-up of the ice on the Seine. Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series—views of Parliament and views of Charing Cross Bridge. His second wife, Alice, died in 1911 & It was during this time that Monet began to develop the first signs of cataracts. During World War I, Monet painted a series of weeping willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers. Sadly Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. His home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, & then to the French Academy of Fine Arts (part of the Institut de France) in 1966. Through the Fondation Claude Monet, his house and gardens were opened for visits in 1980.

The Taj Mahal

I have recently painted a picture of the Taj Mahal using Verexan. The Taj Mahal Arabic: تاج محل‎, lit. ‘Place or Position of the Crown’, is an ivory-white marble Islamic mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.