A figure drawing is a drawing of the human form in any of its various shapes and postures using any of the drawing media. The term can refer to the act of producing such a drawing. The degree of representation may range from detailed, anatomically correct renderings to loose. A life drawing is a drawing of the figure from observation of a live model. A figure drawing may be a work of art or a figure study done in preparation for a more finished work such as a painting. Figure drawing is arguably the most difficult subject an artist commonly encounters, the human figure is one of the most enduring themes in the visual arts, and the human figure can be the basis of portraiture, sculpture, medical illustration, and other fields. Artists take a variety of approaches to drawing the human figure and they may draw from live models or from photographs, from skeletal models, or from memory and imagination. Most instruction focuses on the use of models in life drawing courses, in developing the image, some artists focus on the shapes created by the interplay of light and dark values on the surfaces of the body.
For those working without visual reference, proportions commonly recommended in figure drawing are and this can be illustrated to students in the classroom using paper plates to visually demonstrate the length of their bodies. An ideal figure, used for an impression of nobility or grace, is drawn at 8 heads tall, a heroic figure used in the depiction of gods and superheroes is eight-and-a-half heads tall. Most of the length comes from a bigger chest and longer legs. Note that these proportions are most useful for a standing model, poses which introduce foreshortening of various body parts will cause them to differ. The French Salon in the 19th century recommended the use of Conté crayons, erasure was not permitted, the artist was expected to describe the figure in light strokes before making darker, more visible marks. A popular modern technique is the use of a stick, prepared from special vines. The charcoal adheres loosely to the paper, allowing very easy erasure, harder compressed charcoal can produce a more deliberate and precise effect, and graduated tones can be produced by smudging with the fingers or with a cylindrical paper tool called a stump.
Graphite pencil is used for figure drawing. For this purpose artists pencils are sold in formulations, ranging from 9B to 1B. Like charcoal, it can be erased and manipulated using a stump, the artist will often start with graphite pencil to sketch or outline the drawing, the final line work is done with a pen or brush, with permanent ink
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts, a wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded, or cast. However, most ancient sculpture was painted, and this has been lost. Those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and China, the Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, and Greece is widely seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith, the revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelos David. Relief is often classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief sculpture may decorate steles, upright slabs, usually of stone, techniques such as casting and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work, many of these allow the production of several copies.
The term sculpture is used mainly to describe large works. The very large or colossal statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity, another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades. The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the head, showing just that, or the bust, small forms of sculpture include the figurine, normally a statue that is no more than 18 inches tall, and for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Sculpture is an important form of public art, a collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in form of association with religion. Cult images are common in cultures, though they are often not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art. The actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were rather small. The same is true in Hinduism, where the very simple.
Some undoubtedly advanced cultures, such as the Indus Valley civilization, appear to have had no monumental sculpture at all, though producing very sophisticated figurines, the Mississippian culture seems to have been progressing towards its use, with small stone figures, when it collapsed. Other cultures, such as ancient Egypt and the Easter Island culture, from the 20th century the relatively restricted range of subjects found in large sculpture expanded greatly, with abstract subjects and the use or representation of any type of subject now common. Today much sculpture is made for intermittent display in galleries and museums, small sculpted fittings for furniture and other objects go well back into antiquity, as in the Nimrud ivories, Begram ivories and finds from the tomb of Tutankhamun
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis. His exemplars, he explained, were the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal. I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator, Ingres was born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, the first of seven children of Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres and his wife Anne Moulet. From his father the young Ingres received early encouragement and instruction in drawing and music, and his first known drawing, the deficiency in his schooling would always remain for him a source of insecurity. In 1791, Joseph Ingres took his son to Toulouse, where the young Jean-Auguste-Dominique was enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture, there he studied under the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan, the landscape painter Jean Briant, and the neoclassical painter Guillaume-Joseph Roques.
Roques veneration of Raphael was an influence on the young artist. Ingres won prizes in several disciplines, such as composition and antique and his musical talent was developed under the tutelage of the violinist Lejeune, and from the ages of thirteen to sixteen he played second violin in the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse. Ingres followed his masters neoclassical example but revealed, according to David and his trip to Rome, was postponed until 1806, when the financially strained government finally appropriated the travel funds. Working in Paris alongside several other students of David in a provided by the state. He found inspiration in the works of Raphael, in Etruscan vase paintings, in 1802 he made his debut at the Salon with Portrait of a Woman. The following year brought a commission, when Ingres was one of five artists selected to paint full-length portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul. These were to be distributed to the towns of Liège, Dunkerque, Brussels. In the summer of 1806 Ingres became engaged to Marie-Anne-Julie Forestier, although he had hoped to stay in Paris long enough to witness the opening of that years Salon, in which he was to display several works, he reluctantly left for Italy just days before the opening.
Chaussard condemned Ingress style as gothic and asked, with so much talent, a line so flawless, the answer is that he wanted to do something singular, something extraordinary. M. Ingress intention is nothing less than to make art regress by four centuries, to carry us back to its infancy, Ingres stylistic eclecticism represented a new tendency in art. As art historian Marjorie Cohn has written, At the time and critics outdid each other in their attempts to identify and exploit what they were just beginning to perceive as historical stylistic developments. From the beginning of his career, Ingres freely borrowed from earlier art, adopting the style appropriate to his subject
Bologna is the largest city of the Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, located in the heart of an area of about one million. The first settlements back to at least 1000 BC. The city has been a centre, first under the Etruscans. Home to the oldest university in the world, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, Bologna is an important transportation crossroad for the roads and trains of Northern Italy, where many important mechanical and nutritional industries have their headquarters. According to the most recent data gathered by the European Regional Economic Growth Index of 2009, Bologna is the first Italian city, Bologna is home to numerous prestigious cultural and political institutions as well as one of the most impressive trade fair districts in Europe. In 2000 it was declared European capital of culture and in 2006, the city of Bologna was selected to participate in the Universal Exposition of Shanghai 2010 together with 45 other cities from around the world.
Bologna is one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, often ranking as one of the top cities in terms of quality of life in the country, after a long decline, Bologna was reborn in the 5th century under Bishop Petronius. According to legend, St. Petronius built the church of S. Stefano. After the fall of Rome, Bologna was a stronghold of the Exarchate of Ravenna in the Po plain. In 728, the city was captured by the Lombard king Liutprand, the Germanic conquerors formed a district called addizione longobarda near the complex of S. Stefano. Charlemagne stayed in this district in 786, traditionally said to be founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is widely considered to be the first university. The university originated as a centre of study of medieval Roman law under major glossators. It numbered Dante and Petrarca among its students, the medical school is especially famous. In the 12th century, the families engaged in continual internecine fighting. Troops of Pope Julius II besieged Bologna and sacked the artistic treasures of his palace, in 1530, in front of Saint Petronio Church, Charles V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Clement VII.
Then a plague at the end of the 16th century reduced the population from 72,000 to 59,000, the population recovered to a stable 60, 000–65,000. However, there was great progress during this era, in 1564, the Piazza del Nettuno and the Palazzo dei Banchi were built, along with the Archiginnasio, the centre of the University
Nicolas Poussin was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome. His work is characterized by clarity and order, until the 20th century he remained a major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne. He worked in Rome for a circle of leading collectors from there and elsewhere, most of his works are history paintings of religious or mythological subjects that very often have a large landscape element. Early sketches attracted the notice of Quentin Varin, a painter, whose pupil Poussin became. There he entered the studios of the Flemish painter Ferdinand Elle and of Georges Lallemand and he found French art in a stage of transition, the old apprenticeship system was disturbed, and the academic training destined to supplant it was not yet established by Simon Vouet. In Paris, Poussin was impressed by Italian art he viewed in the royal collection and he attempted to travel to Rome, but after reaching Florence he was forced, perhaps by ill health, to return to Paris.
In 1622 he met Giambattista Marino, the poet to Marie de Medici. Marino employed him on illustrations for an edition of Ovids Metamorphoses. These Marino drawings preserved at Windsor Castle are among the few identifiable works of Poussin executed before his arrival in Rome. Marino took him into his household, and in 1624 enabled Poussin to rejoin him at Rome, Poussin was thirty when he arrived in Rome in 1624. At first he lodged with Simon Vouet, through Marino, he had been introduced to Marcello Sacchetti who in turn introduced him to another of his early patrons, Cardinal Francesco Barberini. However, their return from Spain in 1626 stabilized Poussin’s position, with renewed patronage by the Barberini and their circle. He fell ill at this time and was taken into the house of his compatriot Jacques Dughet, where he was nursed by Dughet’s daughter, Anna Maria and his two brothers-in-law were artists and Gaspard Dughet took Poussin’s surname. During the late 1620s and 1630s, he experimented and formulated his own style and he studied the Antique as well as works such as Titian’s Bacchanals at the Casino Ludovisi and the paintings of Domenichino and Guido Reni.
Peter’s, and an ingenious architectural imagination was emerging in works by Borromini, at the time the papacy was Rome’s foremost patron of the arts. Poussin’s Martyrdom of St. Erasmus for St and his subsequent career depended on private patronage. Louis XIII conferred on him the title of First Painter in Ordinary, in 1642, disgusted by the intrigues of Simon Vouet, Fouquières and the architect Jacques Lemercier, Poussin withdrew to Rome. There, in 1648, he finished for de Chantelou the second series of the Seven Sacraments and this painting shows the philosopher discarding his last worldly possession, his cup, after watching a man drink water by cupping his hands
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, the Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east, the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain in its centre and south, and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England became a state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the worlds first industrialised nation, Englands terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north and in the southwest, the capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the name England is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means land of the Angles. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages, the Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as Engla londe, is in the ninth century translation into Old English of Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English People. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars, it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. An alternative name for England is Albion, the name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain.
The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo, in it are two very large islands called Britannia, these are Albion and Ierne. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, the word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. Albion is now applied to England in a poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago, Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years
Jan August Hendrik Leys
Henri Leys, Hendrik Leys or Jan August Hendrik, Baron Leys was a Belgian painter and printmaker. He was a representative of the historical or Romantic school in Belgian art. His history and genre paintings and portraits earned him a European-wide reputation and his style was influential on artists in, Henri Leys was born in Antwerp as the son of Hendrik-Jozef-Martinus Leys and Maria-Theresia Craen. His father ran a business specializing in religious images printed from old copper plates. The first etching by Henri Leys was an image made for his fathers shop in 1831. Henry Leys was not very interested in school but was keen on drawing. His parents supported his proclivity and let him study under a painter who lived next door. Leys subsequently studied at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts, from 1829 to 1832 he studied from the Antique, during this period he started to work in the studio of his brother-in-law, the genre painter Ferdinand de Braekeleer. One of Leys teachers at the Academy was Mattheus Ignatius van Bree, according to a widely circulated story, during a lecture by van Bree on the draping of the gown and peplos of figures from antiquity Leys made a remark about van Brees old-fashioned breeches.
Van Bree did not appreciate the joke, but as the young hothead refused to apologize, the director evicted him from the Academy. Leys never returned to the Academy, not even as a teacher after he had achieved international success, from the start of his career Leys painted history and genre subjects. During this period Leys often collaborated with the Belgian Romantic painter Gustaf Wappers, both artists were interested in nationalistic subjects painted in styles that owe much to the example of 16th- and 17th-century Flemish painting. In 1835 Leys went to Paris where he visited the studio of Eugène Delacroix, the influence of Delaroches Romanticism is evident in Leys early work. His precocious talent was manifested at the Brussels Salon of 1836 where he exhibited his Massacre of the magistrates of Louvain for which he received high praise, Leys married Adelaïde van Haren in 1841. The couple had two daughters and a son, the family Leys initially lived in the Hobokenstraat. In 1855 Leys had a spacious house built in the street, which now bears his name.
Fom 1857 to 1861 he worked on murals to decorate the room of his house. Leys became in 1852 member of the Kunstverbond or Cercle Artistique, Litéraire et Scientifique d’Anvers and its honorary chairman was the liberal mayor of Antwerp Jan Frans Loos
Francesco Hayez was an Italian painter, the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories and exceptionally fine portraits. Hayez came from a poor family from Venice. His father, was of French origin while his mother, the child Francesco, youngest of five sons, was brought up by his mothers sister, who had married Giovanni Binasco, a well-off shipowner and collector of art. From childhood he showed a predisposition for drawing, so his uncle apprenticed him to an art restorer, he became a student of the painter Francesco Maggiotto with whom he continued his studies for three years. He was admitted to the course of the New Academy of Fine Arts in 1806. In 1809 he won a competition from the Academy of Venice for one year of study at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. He remained in Rome until 1814, moved to Naples where he was commissioned by Joachim Murat to paint a major work depicting Ulysses at the court of Alcinous.
In the mid-1830s he attended the Salotto Maffei salon in Milan, hosted by Clara Maffei, Francesco Hayez lived long and was prolific. His output spanned both historic paintings, including those that would have appealed to the sensibility of his patrons. Others reflect the desire to accompany a Neoclassic style to grand themes and he painted scenes from theatrical presentations of his day. Conspicuously lacking from his output, are intended for devotional display. Corrado Ricci describes him as starting as a classicist but evolving to a style of emotional tumult and his portraits have the intensity seen with Ingres and the Nazarene movement. Often sitting, the dress in austere, often black and white clothing. While he did portraits for the nobility, other subjects are artists. Late in his career, he is known to have worked using photographs, one of his favorite themes was a semi-clothed female. Often they were, like his Odalisque, evocative of oriental themes, the depictions of harems and their women allowed them the ability to paint scenes not acceptable in their society.
Even his Mary Magdalene has more sensuality than religious fervor, among his works, his painting The Kiss was considered among his best work by contemporaries, and has only gained in esteem since then. The anonymous, unaffected gesture of the couple does not require knowledge of myth or literature to interpret, assessment of the career of Hayez is complicated by the fact that he often did not sign or date his works
Ary Scheffer was a Dutch-French Romantic painter. He had two brothers, the journalist and writer Karel Arnold Scheffer and the painter Hendrik Scheffer and he was taught by his parents and attended the Amsterdam drawing academy from the age of 11. In 1808 his father became court painter of Louis Bonaparte in Amsterdam, encouraged by Willem Bilderdijk, he moved to Lille for further study after the death of his father. In 1811 he and his mother, who had a influence on his career, moved to Paris. Scheffer started exhibiting at the Salon de Paris from 1812 on and he started to become recognized in 1817 and in 1819 he was asked to make a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette. Perhaps because of Lafayettes contacts and his brothers were active throughout their lives. In 1830 Scheffer had a daughter Cornelia and he registered the name of her mother as Maria Johanna de Nes, but nothing is known about her and she may have died soon after Cornelias birth. Considering that his own name was Johanna de Nes, it has been speculated that he kept Cornelias mothers name a secret not to compromise a noble familys reputation.
Cornelia Scheffer became a sculptor and painter in her own right, scheffers mother did not know of her namesake granddaughter until 1837, after which she took care of her until she died only two years later. Scheffer became associate member of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands in 1846, Scheffer was made commander of the Legion of Honour in 1848. On March 16,1850 he married Sophie Marin, the widow of General Baudrand and he is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre. When Scheffer left Guérins studio, Romanticism had come into vogue in France, with painters as Xavier Sigalon, Eugène Delacroix. Scheffer did not show much affinity with their work and developed his own style, Scheffer often painted subjects from literature, especially the works of Dante and Goethe. Two versions of Dante and Beatrice have been preserved at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, United Kingdom, particularly highly praised was his Francesca da Rimini, painted in 1836. Scheffers The Shades of Francesca di Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appearing to Dante, in the piece the entwined bodies of Francesca di Rimini and Paolo Malatesta swirl around in the never-ending tempest that is the second circle of Hell.
The illusion of movement is created by the drapery that envelopes the couple and these two figures create a diagonal line that intersects the majority of the canvas creating not only a sense of movement, but giving the painting an air of instability. Francesca clings to Paolo as he turns his face away in anguish, there are an additional two figures in the image, hidden in the background, the poets Dante and Virgil look on as they make their way through the nine circles of Hell. Scheffers popular Faust-themed paintings include Margaret at her wheel, Faust doubting, Margaret at the Sabbat, Margaret leaving church, The garden walk, in 1836, he painted two pictures of Goethes character Mignon, Mignon desires her fatherland, and Mignon yearns for heaven
While women artists have been involved in making art throughout history, their work often has not been as well acknowledged as that of men. Often certain media are associated with artists, such as textile arts. Womens roles in relation to art, of course, vary in different cultures and communities, many art forms considered to be created predominantly by women have been historically dismissed from the art historical canon as craft, as opposed to fine art. Women artists faced challenges due to biases in the mainstream fine art world. They have often encountered difficulties in training and trading their work, collaboration on large projects was typical. Extrapolation to the artwork and skills of the Paleolithic era suggests that these cultures followed similar patterns, cave paintings of this era often have human hand prints, 75% of which are identifiable as womens. For about three years, the women – and only the women – of Mithila have been making devotional paintings of the gods. It is no exaggeration, then, to say that art is the expression of the most genuine aspect of Indian civilization.
The earliest records of western cultures rarely mention specific individuals, although women are depicted in all of the art and some are shown laboring as artists. Ancient references by Homer and Virgil mention the prominent roles of women in textiles, music, Other women include Timarete, Kalypso, Aristarete and Olympias. While only some of their work survives, in Ancient Greek pottery there is a hydria in the Torno Collection in Milan. It is attribute to the Leningrad painter from circa 460-450 B. C. Artists from the Medieval period include Claricia, Ende, Herrade of Landsberg and Hildegard of Bingen. In the early Medieval period, women worked alongside men. Manuscript illuminations and carved capitals from the period clearly demonstrate examples of women at work in these arts, documents show that they were brewers, wool merchants, and iron mongers. Artists of the period, including women, were from a small subset of society whose status allowed them freedom from these more strenuous types of work.
Women artists often were of two classes, either wealthy aristocratic women or nuns. Women in the category often created embroideries and textiles, those in the category often produced illuminations. It is presumed that women were almost entirely responsible for this production, one of the most famous embroideries of the Medieval period is the Bayeux Tapestry, which was embroidered with wool and is 230 feet long
Painting is the practice of applying paint, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, Painting is a mode of creative expression, and the forms are numerous. Drawing, composition, narration, or abstraction, among other aesthetic modes, may serve to manifest the expressive, Paintings can be naturalistic and representational, abstract, symbolistic, emotive, or political in nature. A portion of the history of painting in both Eastern and Western art is dominated by motifs and ideas. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action, the term painting is used outside of art as a common trade among craftsmen and builders. What enables painting is the perception and representation of intensity, every point in space has different intensity, which can be represented in painting by black and white and all the gray shades between. In practice, painters can articulate shapes by juxtaposing surfaces of different intensity, the basic means of painting are distinct from ideological means, such as geometrical figures, various points of view and organization, and symbols.
In technical drawing, thickness of line is ideal, demarcating ideal outlines of an object within a perceptual frame different from the one used by painters. Color and tone are the essence of painting as pitch and rhythm are the essence of music, color is highly subjective, but has observable psychological effects, although these can differ from one culture to the next. Black is associated with mourning in the West, but in the East, some painters, theoreticians and scientists, including Goethe and Newton, have written their own color theory. Moreover, the use of language is only an abstraction for a color equivalent, the word red, for example, can cover a wide range of variations from the pure red of the visible spectrum of light. There is not a register of different colors in the way that there is agreement on different notes in music. For a painter, color is not simply divided into basic, painters deal practically with pigments, so blue for a painter can be any of the blues, phthalocyanine blue, Prussian blue, cobalt, and so on.
Psychological and symbolical meanings of color are not, strictly speaking, colors only add to the potential, derived context of meanings, and because of this, the perception of a painting is highly subjective. The analogy with music is quite clear—sound in music is analogous to light in painting, shades to dynamics and these elements do not necessarily form a melody of themselves, they can add different contexts to it. Modern artists have extended the practice of painting considerably to include, as one example, some modern painters incorporate different materials such as sand, straw or wood for their texture. Examples of this are the works of Jean Dubuffet and Anselm Kiefer, there is a growing community of artists who use computers to paint color onto a digital canvas using programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and many others. These images can be printed onto traditional canvas if required, rhythm is important in painting as it is in music
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the Metropolitan City of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants, Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, from 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year and it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture, the city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art and politics. Due to Florences artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.
Florence originated as a Roman city, and later, after a period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe, the language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, and still is, accepted as the Italian language. Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War and they similarly financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome. Florence was home to the Medici, one of European historys most important noble families, Lorenzo de Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Two members of the family were popes in the early 16th century, Leo X, catherine de Medici married king Henry II of France and, after his death in 1559, reigned as regent in France.
Marie de Medici married Henry IV of France and gave birth to the future king Louis XIII, the Medici reigned as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, starting with Cosimo I de Medici in 1569 and ending with the death of Gian Gastone de Medici in 1737. The Etruscans initially formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole and it was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, the cardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated along the Via Cassia, the route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century, Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital. The population began to again and commerce prospered