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
, 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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/10
was a prominent painter
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
, 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
, 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
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/9
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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/8
was a British artist
. 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
sculpture known as "Chac Mool
", which he had seen as a plaster cast
. 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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/7
was a Catalan
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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/6
was a Russian artist
, 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
, 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
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/5
(September 3, 1810 – February 20, 1871) was an Irish
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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/4
(11 February 1841 – 7 February 1898) was an Italian photographer
based in Yokohama
. 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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/3
Pierre Joseph Rossier
(born 16 July 1829, died between 1883 and 1898) was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen
photographs, which include stereographs
, 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
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
, 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.
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/2
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
was an Italian artist
active in Rome
. 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."
Portal:Visual arts/Selected biography/1
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