Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Accomplished People Were Born Today Than You Can Shake a Stick At-


April 15, 1452: Leonardo da Vinci was born. "Italian polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer, Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci points out, however, that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time."

April 15, 1489: Mimar Sinan, Ottoman architect, was born. "Koca Mimar Sinan Ağa was the chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for sultans Suleiman I, Selim II, and Murad III. He was responsible for the construction of more than three hundred major structures, and other more modest projects. His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, although his most famous work is the Suleiman Mosque in Constantinople (Istanbul). He headed an extensive governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn, distinguished themselves, including Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, architect of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture, and has been compared to Michelangelo, his contemporary in the West."

April 15, 1741: Charles Willson Peale, American painter, soldier and naturalist, was born. "Finding that he had a talent for painting, especially portraiture, Peale studied for a time under John Hesselius and John Singleton Copley, and he traveled to England to take instruction from Benjamin West. Peale was quite prolific as an artist. While he did portraits of scores of historic figures (such as John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton), he is probably best known for his portraits of George Washington. The first time Washington ever sat for a portrait was with Peale in 1772, and there would be six other sittings; using these seven as models, Peale produced altogether close to 60 portraits of Washington. "

"Peale had a great interest in natural history, and organized the first U.S. scientific expedition in 1801. These two major interests combined in his founding of what became the Philadelphia Museum, and was later renamed the Peale Museum. He had expertise not only in painting, but also in other diverse fields, such as carpentry, dentistry, optometry, shoemaking, and taxidermy. In 1802, John Hawkins patented the second official physiognotrace, a mechanical drawing device, and partnered with Peale to market it to prospective buyers. Peale sent a watercolor sketch of the physiognotrace, along with a detailed explanation, to Thomas Jefferson. Peale named all of his sons for artists or scientists, and taught them to paint. Three of them, Rembrandt, Raphaelle, and Titian, became noted artists in their own right."

April 15, 1889: Thomas Hart Benton, American painter and muralist, was born. "Thomas Hart Benton was an American painter and muralist. Along with Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, he was at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement. His fluid, almost sculpted paintings showed everyday scenes of life in the United States. Though his work is perhaps best associated with the Midwest, he created scores of paintings of New York - where he lived for over 20 years, Martha’s Vineyard - where he summered for much of his adult life, the American South and the American West."

April 15, 1894: Bessie Smith, American blues singer, was born. "Sometimes referred to as "The Empress of the Blues," Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.

April 15, 1900: Wilhelm Wagenfeld, noted industrial designer, was born in Bremen. "Wilhelm Wagenfeld was an important German industrial designer of the 20th Century, a disciple of the Bauhaus. He designed glass and metal works for the Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Gen., the Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke in Weißwasser, Rosenthal, Braun GmbH and WMF. Some of his designs are still produced until these days. One of his classics is a table lamp, known as Wagenfeld Lampe, 1924, which he designed together with Karl J. Jucker.

April 15, 1904: Arshile Gorky, Armenian Artist, was born. "Gorky's contributions to American and world art are difficult to overestimate. The painterly spontaneity of mature works like "The Liver is the Cock's Comb". "The Betrothal II", and "One Year the Milkweed" immediately prefigured Abstract expressionism, and leaders in the New York School have acknowledged Gorky's considerable influence. When Gorky showed his new work to André Breton in the 1940s, Breton declared the painting to be "one of the most important paintings made in America". His paintings and drawings hang in every major American museum including the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (which maintains the Gorky Archive), and in many worldwide, including the Tate in London."


"Charles Willson Peale and His World"

By Edgar P. Richardson, Brooke Hindle & Lillian B. Miller.
Published by Harry N. Abrams in 1983.

This fine monograph includes biographical essays by Edgar P. Richardson and Lillian B. Miller and a study of Peale's science and technology by Brooke Hindle, as well as a foreword by Charles Sellers and a catalog of Peale’s known paintings.


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