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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. Early Years Tall, red-haired, with frightened eyes, whimsical to the vagrant youth, Felix Nadar defined himself as “a real daredevil, a jack-of-all-trades, ill-mannered to the point of calling things by their name, and…
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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 Birth of Entomology 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…
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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. “Phlegm, whether physical or mental, is a sinful state for the one who lives in times of education.” — Karl Friedrich Schinkel Early Years Karl Friedrich…
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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. “Then M. Ravel discussed another idea. That was that in these days of cacophony it might be quite an original idea for the orchestra…
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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 Early Years Jacques de Vaucanson was born in Grenoble, France. He grew up in a poor…
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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. “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the…
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The Pencil of Nature – Photographic Pioneer Henry Fox Talbot

The Pencil of Nature – 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. “No small misery…
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Franz Schubert – Misjudged Pioneer of the Romantic Music

Franz Schubert – Misjudged Pioneer of the Romantic Music

On January 31, 1797, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert was born. Even though his many symphonies, operas and piano pieces were not highly appreciated during his lifetime, he was posthumously praised as one of the most important composers of the Romantic era in music. “Happy to find a true friend, happier to find a true friend in his wife.”  — Franz Schubert, Diary, 1816 Early Life Franz Schubert was the 13th of 16…
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Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

On January 19, 1839, French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was born. He 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. Thus, Cézanne can be said to bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s Cubism. “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing sensations.”, Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, –…
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