Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography

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Netsurf11 - Rodin.jpg
Auguste Rodin was a French artist, generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture. He was the preeminent French sculptor of his time, possessing a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, deeply pocketed surface in clay. Many of Rodin's most notable sculptures were roundly criticized during his lifetime. They clashed with the predominant figure sculpture tradition, in which works were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic. Rodin's most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory, modeled the human body with high realism, and celebrated individual character and physicality. Rodin was sensitive to the controversy about his work, but did not change his style, and successive works brought increasing favor from the government and the artistic community. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin's work after his World's Fair exhibit, and he kept company with a variety of high-profile intellectuals and artists. His sculpture suffered a decline in popularity after his death in 1917, but within a few decades his legacy solidified.

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El Greco: Self portrait (1604)
El Greco was a prominent painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and at 26 travelled to Venice to study. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577 he emigrated to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings. El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western civilization.

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Roman Vishniac, c. 1981
Roman Vishniac was a renowned Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing on film the culture of Jews in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. He was, however, an extremely diverse photographer, an accomplished biologist and a knowledgeable student and teacher of art history. Throughout his life, he made significant scientific contributions to the fields of photomicroscopy and time-lapse photography. He later became a teacher and collector of historic art and artifacts. Vishniac was very interested in history, especially that of his ancestors. In turn, he was strongly tied to his Jewish roots and was a Zionist later in life. Roman Vishniac won international acclaim for his photography: his pictures from the shtetlach and Jewish ghettos, celebrity portraits, and images of microscopic biology. He is known for his book A Vanished World, published in 1947, which was one of the first such pictorial documentations of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe from that period. He is known also for his extreme humanism and respect and awe for life, sentiments that can be seen in all aspects of his work.

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Moore's Reclining Figure (1951)
Henry Moore was a British artist and sculptor. Born into a poor mining family in the Yorkshire town of Castleford, he became well-known for his large-scale abstract cast bronze and carved marble sculptures; substantially supported by the British art establishment, Moore helped to introduce a particular form of modernism into Britain. His ability to satisfy large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy towards the end of his life. However, he lived frugally and most of his wealth went to endow the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts. His signature form is a pierced reclining figure, first influenced by a Toltec-Maya sculpture known as "Chac Mool", which he had seen as a plaster cast in Paris in 1925. Early versions are pierced conventionally as a bent arm reconnects with the body. Later, more abstract versions, are pierced directly through the body in order to explore the concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows.

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Dalí, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (1939)
Salvador Dalí was a Catalan-Spanish artist who became one of the most important painters of the twentieth century. A skilled draftsman, he is best known for his surrealist work identified by its striking, bizarre, dreamlike images. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. In addition to painting, his artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, photography, and an Academy Award-nominated short cartoon, "Destino," on which he collaborated with Walt Disney; it was released posthumously in 2003. An artist of great imagination, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork.

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El Lissitzky's 1914 self portrait
El Lissitzky was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer, and architect. He was one of the most important figures of the Russian avant-garde, helping develop suprematism with his friend and mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designed numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works for the former Soviet Union. His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus, Constructivist, and De Stijl movements and experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th century graphic design. Lissitzky's entire career was laced with the belief that the artist could be an agent for change, later summarised with his edict, "das zielbewußte Schaffen" (The task-oriented creation). In 1941 he produced one of his last known works — a Soviet propaganda poster rallying the people to construct more tanks for the fight against Nazi Germany.

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John Kane, Self-portrait, c. 1845
Paul Kane (September 3, 1810 – February 20, 1871) was an Irish-Canadian painter, famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Oregon Country.

A largely self-educated artist, Kane grew up in Toronto (then known as York) and trained himself by copying European masters on a study trip through Europe. He undertook two voyages through the wild Canadian northwest in 1845 and from 1846 to 1848. The first trip took him from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie and back. Having secured the support of the Hudson's Bay Company, he set out on a second, much longer voyage from Toronto across the Rocky Mountains to Fort Vancouver and Fort Victoria in the Columbia District, as the Canadians called the Oregon Country.

On both trips Kane sketched and painted Aboriginal peoples and documented their lives. Upon his return to Toronto, he produced more than one hundred oil paintings from these sketches. Kane's work, particularly his field sketches, are still a valuable resource for ethnologists. The oil paintings he completed in his studio are considered a part of the Canadian heritage, although he often embellished them considerably, departing from the accuracy of his field sketches in favour of more dramatic scenes.

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Three Maiko posing on an engawa, c. 1885. Hand-coloured albumen silver print.
Adolfo Farsari (11 February 1841 – 7 February 1898) was an Italian photographer based in Yokohama, Japan. Following a brief military career, including service in the American Civil War, he became a successful entrepreneur and commercial photographer. His photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-coloured portraits and landscapes, which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country. Farsari's images were widely distributed, presented or mentioned in books and periodicals, and sometimes recreated by artists in other media; they shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and to some degree affected how Japanese saw themselves and their country. His studio – the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan – was one of the country's largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari's exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan.

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Priest in Fribourg, c. 1860s.
Pierre Joseph Rossier (born 16 July 1829, died between 1883 and 1898) was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genzō, Horie Kuwajirō, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography.

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Bild-Ottavio Leoni, Caravaggio.jpg
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. He is commonly placed in the Baroque school, on which he had a formative influence.

Even in his own lifetime Caravaggio was enigmatic, fascinating, and dangerous. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600, and never afterwards lacked commissions or patrons, yet handled his success atrociously. In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled Rome with a price on his head. In Malta in 1608 he was involved in another brawl, and yet another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. By the next year, after a career of little more than a decade, he was dead.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was almost completely forgotten in the centuries after his death, and it was only in the last few decades of the 20th century that he has been rediscovered. Yet despite this his influence on the common style which eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism, the Baroque, was profound. Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valery’s secretary, said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."

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Guidelines

Selecting a biography

There is no formal nomination process for adding a new biography to the selected biographies collection. Selected biographies should highlight the strength and diversity of what the visual arts has to offer. While selections do not necessarily need to be FA or GA status, they certainly should not be stubs.

Suggest a biography

Feel free to leave any suggestions for a selected biography in this section. Comments are helpful.

Nominations:

If you are feeling ambitious, the instructions for adding an entry to the selected biography collection are outlined below. Any questions or disagreements about the appropriateness of an entry should be discussed on the talk page.

Adding a biography

  • Go to Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/Layout and grab the layout template.
  • Go to the next available subpage (Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/n+1 - where n is the number of the topmost biography below, as it will be throughout these instructions).
  • Paste the layout template into the subpage and fill in the appropriate fields.
  • On this page, add the following text directly above the topmost selected image:
{{Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/n+1}}
[[Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/n+1]]
<hr/><br/>
  • Go to the main portal page edit screen and find the following text. Look closely as there are other similar components on the page.
{{Random portal component|max=3|seed=23|header=''selected biography''|
footer=More selected biographies...|subpage=Selected biography}}
  • Change the max attribute from n to n+1. Save and you're done! Thanks for the contribution.