Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who Sang Ave Maria at the Taj Mahal While Stravinsky Was Drawing Escher?


- Trophy Hunters With Their Eye on Interiors: "And Just as the Rhino Charged, I Saw This Amazing Accent Tile on the Outdoor Shower!" "Bragging rights for homeowners are fleeting, hard to hold as a fistful of fog. You think your home is special because your backsplash is covered in tile imported from Mexico? There are those who think nothing of dispatching their architects and builders to the ends of the earth to personally scope out far more exotic goods — to the Middle East for the perfect limestone, even as bombs are going off, or to Indonesia for centuries-old reclaimed teak. For the ultra-high-end contractor, it’s just part of a day’s work..." read more-

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June 17, 1631: Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, then spends more than 20 years building her tomb, the Taj Mahal. "The Taj Mahal (also "the Taj") is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Indian and Persian architectural styles. While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen."

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June 17, 1818: Charles Gounod, French composer, was born. "Gounod was a French composer, known for his Ave Maria as well as his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette. The Bach/Gounod Ave Maria is a popular and much-recorded setting of the Latin text Ave Maria. Written in 1859, Ave Maria consists of a melody superimposed over the Prelude No. 1 in C major from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 846), composed by J. S. Bach some 137 years earlier. There are many different instrumental arrangements of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, including for violin and guitar, string quartet, piano solo, cello, and even trombones. It is often performed in Christian wedding ceremonies. Pop and opera singers, such as Luciano Pavarotti, as well as choirs have recorded it during the twentieth century."

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June 17, 1882: Igor Stravinsky, Russian composer, was born. "Composer, pianist, and conductor, Stravinsky is widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of 20th century music. He was a quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1946. In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he also achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor, often at the premieres of his works."

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June 17, 1898: Maurits Cornelis Escher was born. "Usually referred to as M.C. Escher, he was a Dutch graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. Escher's first print of an impossible reality was Still Life and Street, 1937. His artistic expression was created from images in his mind, rather than directly from observations and travels to other countries. Well known examples of his work also include Drawing Hands, a work in which two hands are shown, each drawing the other; Sky and Water, in which light plays on shadow to morph the water background behind fish figures into bird figures on a sky background; and Ascending and Descending, in which lines of people ascend and descend stairs in an infinite loop, on a construction which is impossible to build and possible to draw only by taking advantage of quirks of perception and perspective."

"He worked primarily in the media of lithographs and woodcuts, though the few mezzotints he made are considered to be masterpieces of the technique. In his graphic art, he portrayed mathematical relationships among shapes, figures and space. Additionally, he explored interlocking figures using black and white to enhance different dimensions. Integrated into his prints were mirror images of cones, spheres, cubes, rings and spirals. His works brought him fame: he was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau in 1955. Subsequently he regularly designed art for dignitaries around the world. An asteroid, 4444 Escher, was named in his honour in 1985."

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June 17, 1907: Charles Eames, American designer and architect, was born. "Charles Eames was greatly influenced by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (whose son Eero, also an architect, would become a partner and friend). At the elder Saarinen's invitation, Charles moved in 1938 to Michigan, to further study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he would become a teacher and head of the industrial design department. Together with Eero Saarinen he designed prize-winning furniture for New York's Museum of Modern Art "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. Their work displayed the new technique of wood moulding (originally developed by Alvar Aalto), that Eames would further develop in many moulded plywood products, including, beside chairs and other furniture, splints and stretchers for the U.S. Navy during World War II."

"In the late 1940s, as part of the Arts & Architecture magazine's "Case Study" program, Ray and Charles Eames designed and built the groundbreaking Eames House, Case Study House #8, as their home. Located upon a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and hand-constructed within a matter of days entirely of pre-fabricated steel parts intended for industrial construction, it remains a milestone of modern architecture. On June 17, 2008 the US Postal Service released the Eames Stamps. A pane of 16 stamps celebrating the designs of Charles and Ray Eames."

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