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Nadar and How Photography became an Art

Nadar and How Photography became an Art

On April 5, 1820, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon better known under his pseudonym Nadar, was born. He is considered to be one of the first grand masters of photography, besides being a caricaturist, a journalist, a novelist, and also a renown balloonist. Felix Nadar started studying medicine, but abandoned this subject to become a journalist and worked at first in Paris and Lyon. Back then, he was already known as an amazing caricaturist, wherefore…
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Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

On April 2, 1647, the German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian was born. Even though she is not very well known for her achievements, she made significant contributions to entomology through the observation and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. The fact that Maria Sibylla Merian is not well known throughout the scientific community is probably caused by the fact that the study of nature and entomology in general…
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Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the Prussian City Scapes

Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the Prussian City Scapes

On March 13, 1781, Prussian architect, city planner, and painter Karl Friedrich Schinkel was born, who was one of the most prominent architects of Germany of the neoclassical and neogothic epoch. He shaped the city scapes of Berlin and Potsdam with his neoclassical buildings and palaces. Karl Friedrich Schinkel grew up in Berlin, showing early interests in drawing and music. Berlin’s most significant architect of these days was Friedrich Gilly, back then…
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Maurice Ravel and Musical Impressionism

Maurice Ravel and Musical Impressionism

On March 7, 1875, French composer, pianist and conductor Maurice Ravel was born. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France‘s greatest living composer. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. Maurice Ravel entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1889. There he managed to compose a few of his earliest and best known works including the…
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Francisco de Goya, Herald of Modernity

Francisco de Goya, Herald of Modernity

On March 30, 1746, Spanish romantic painter and printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was born. He is regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint,…
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Jacques de Vaucanson and his Miraculous Automata

Jacques de Vaucanson and his Miraculous Automata

On February 24, 1709, French inventor and artist Jacques Vaucanson was born, who is best known for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom. “Without the voice of le Maure and Vaucanson’s duck, you would have nothing to remind you of the glory of France.” – Voltaire Jacques de Vaucanson was born in Grenoble, France. He grew up in a poor family, his…
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Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

On February 21, 1947, American scientist and inventor Edwin Land introduced the very first instant camera together with an associated film. Land‘s new camera would allow people to produce a black and white photograph in about sixty seconds. The new film already contained the necessary chemicals to develop and fix the image directly on the photographic paper. Edwin Land studied chemistry at Harvard University but dropped out in his freshman year, leaving…
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Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

On February 20, 1902, American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Easton Adams was born. He is best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. Together with Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. Ansel Adams was born into a wealthy family in San Francisco. Despite the fact that the Panic of…
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Photographic Pioneer Henry Fox Talbot

Photographic Pioneer Henry Fox Talbot

On February 11, 1800, Henry Fox Talbot, British inventor and photography pioneer was born, who invented the calotype process, a precursor to photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like other pioneers of early photography, Talbot not only was occupied with the processing technology, but also is known as an photographic artist. Moreover, Talbot‘s talents also extended to mathematics, astronomy, and archaeology. Actually, he even participated in the translation of the…
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John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

John Ruskin – Victorian Social Thinker and Art Lover

On February 8, 1819, prominent social thinker and philanthropist John James Ruskin was born. He is considered the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman and watercolourist. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century up to the First World War and today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Ruskin grew up…
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