Hermann Karl Hesse was a German-born poet and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Hermann Karl Hesse was born on 2 July 1877 in the Black Forest town of Calw in Württemberg, German Empire, his grandparents served in India at a mission under the auspices of the Basel Mission, a Protestant Christian missionary society. His grandfather Hermann Gundert compiled the current grammar in Malayalam language, compiled a Malayalam-English dictionary, contributed to the work in translating the Bible to Malayalam. Hesse's mother, Marie Gundert, was born at such a mission in India in 1842. In describing her own childhood, she said, "A happy child I was not..." As was usual among missionaries at the time, she was left behind in Europe at the age of four when her parents returned to India. Hesse's father, Johannes Hesse, the son of a doctor, was born in 1847 in the Estonian town of Paide.
Johannes Hesse belonged to the German minority in the Russian-ruled Baltic region: thus his son Hermann was at birth both a citizen of the German Empire and the Russian Empire. Hermann had five siblings. In 1873, the Hesse family moved to Calw, where Johannes worked for the Calwer Verlagsverein, a publishing house specializing in theological texts and schoolbooks. Marie's father, Hermann Gundert, managed the publishing house at the time, Johannes Hesse succeeded him in 1893. Hesse grew up in a Swabian Pietist household, with the Pietist tendency to insulate believers into small thoughtful groups. Furthermore, Hesse described his father's Baltic German heritage as "an important and potent fact" of his developing identity, his father, Hesse stated, "always seemed like a polite foreign, little-understood guest." His father's tales from Estonia instilled a contrasting sense of religion in young Hermann. " an exceedingly cheerful, for all its Christianity, a merry world... We wished for nothing so longingly as to be allowed to see this Estonia... where life was so paradisiacal, so colorful and happy."
Hermann Hesse's sense of estrangement from the Swabian petty bourgeoisie further grew through his relationship with his maternal grandmother Julie Gundert, née Dubois, whose French-Swiss heritage kept her from quite fitting in among that milieu. From childhood, Hesse appeared hard for his family to handle. In a letter to her husband, Hermann's mother Marie wrote: "The little fellow has a life in him, an unbelievable strength, a powerful will, for his four years of age, a astonishing mind. How can he express all that? It gnaws at my life, this internal fighting against his tyrannical temperament, his passionate turbulence God must shape this proud spirit it will become something noble and magnificent – but I shudder to think what this young and passionate person might become should his upbringing be false or weak." Hesse showed signs of serious depression as early as his first year at school. In his juvenilia collection Gerbersau, Hesse vividly describes experiences and anecdotes from his childhood and youth in Calw: the atmosphere and adventures by the river, the bridge, the chapel, the houses leaning together, hidden nooks and crannies, as well as the inhabitants with their admirable qualities, their oddities, their idiosyncrasies.
The fictional town of Gerbersau is pseudonymous for Calw, imitating the real name of the nearby town of Hirsau. It is derived from the German words gerber, meaning "tanner," and aue, meaning "meadow." Calw had a centuries-old leather-working industry, during Hesse's childhood the tanneries' influence on the town was still much in evidence. Hesse's favorite place in Calw was the St. Nicholas-Bridge, why a Hesse monument was built there in 2002. Hermann Hesse's grandfather Hermann Gundert, a doctor of philosophy and fluent in multiple languages, encouraged the boy to read giving him access to his library, filled with the works of world literature. All this instilled a sense in Hermann Hesse, his family background became, he noted, "the basis of an isolation and a resistance to any sort of nationalism that so defined my life."Young Hesse shared a love of music with his mother. Both music and poetry were important in his family, his mother wrote poetry, his father was known for his use of language in both his sermons and the writing of religious tracts.
His first role model for becoming an artist was his half-brother, who rebelled against the family by entering a music conservatory in 1885. Hesse showed a precocious ability to rhyme, by 1889–90 had decided that he wanted to be a writer. In 1881, when Hesse was four, the family moved to Basel, staying for six years and returning to Calw. After successful attendance at the Latin School in Göppingen, Hesse entered the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Maulbronn Abbey in 1891; the pupils lived and studied at the abbey, one of Germany's most beautiful and well-preserved, attending 41 hours of classes a week. Although Hesse did well during the first months, writing in a letter that he enjoyed writing essays and translating classic Greek poetry into German, his time in Maulbronn was the beginning of a serious personal crisis. In March 1892, Hesse showed his rebellious character, and, in one instance, he fled from the Seminary and was found in a field a day later. Hesse began a journey through various institutions and schools and experi
Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; the earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So
Publius Papinius Statius was a Roman poet of the 1st century AD. His surviving Latin poetry includes an epic in the Thebaid, he is known for his appearance as a guide in the Purgatory section of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy. Information about Statius' life is entirely drawn from his Silvae and a mention by the satirist Juvenal, he was born to a family of Graeco-Campanian origin. The poet's father was a native of Velia but moved to Naples and spent time in Rome where he taught with marked success. From boyhood to adulthood, Statius' father proved himself a champion in the poetic contests at Naples in the Augustalia and in the Nemean and Isthmian games, which served as important events to display poetic skill during the early empire. Statius declares in his lament for his father that his father was in his time equal to any literary task, whether in prose or verse, he mentioned Mevania, may have spent time there, or been impressed by the confrontation of Vitellius and Vespasian in 69. Statius' father may have lost his status because of money troubles.
At Naples, he was a teacher of Greek and Roman literature who attracted many pupils who were destined for religious offices in Rome. He died in 79 AD. From Pliny the Younger's Letters, it has been deduced that Statius wrote under the pseudonym of Propertius. Less is known of the events of Statius' life, he was born c. 45 AD. From his boyhood he was victorious in poetic contests many times at his native Naples and three times at the Alban Festival, where he received the golden crown from the hand of the emperor Domitian who had instituted the contest. For the Alban Festival, Statius composed a poem on the German and Dacian campaigns of Domitian which Juvenal lampoons in his seventh satire. Statius is thought to have moved to Rome c. 90 after his father's death where he published his acclaimed epic poem the Thebaid c. 92. In the capital, Statius seems to have made many connections among the Roman aristocracy and court, he was supported through their patronage. Statius produced the first three books of occasional poetry, his Silvae, which were published in 93, which sketch his patrons and acquaintances of this period and mention his attendance at one of Domitian's Saturnalia banquets.
He competed in the great Capitoline competition, although it is not known in what year, although 94 has been suggested. Statius failed to win the coveted prize, a loss he took hard; the disappointment may have prompted his return to Naples around 94, the home of his youth. In existence is a poem he addressed to his wife, the widow of a famous singer who had a musically talented daughter by her first husband, on this occasion. Statius' first three books of the Silvae seem to have received some criticism, in response he composed a fourth book' at Naples, published in 95. During this period at Naples, Statius maintained his relations with the court and his patrons, earning himself another invitation to a palace banquet, he seems to have taken an interest in the marriage and career of his stepdaughter and he took a young slave boy under his wing, as he was childless, who died c. 95. In that same year Statius embarked on a new epic, the Achilleid, giving popular recitations of his work only to complete a book and a half before dying in 95, leaving the poem unfinished.
His fifth book of Silvae were published after his death c. 96. As a poet, Statius was versatile in his contrived to represent his work as otium. Taught by his educated father, Statius was familiar with the breadth of classical literature and displayed his learning in his poetry, densely allusive and has been described as elaborate and mannerist, he was able to compose in hexameter, hendecasyllable and Sapphic meters, to produce researched and refined epic and polished impromptu pieces, to treat a variety of themes with the dazzling rhetorical and poetic skill that inspired the support of his patrons and the emperor. Some of Statius' works, such as his poems for his competitions, have been lost. Based on Statius' own testimony, the Thebaid was written c. 80 – c. 92 AD, beginning when the poet was around 35, the work is thought to have been published in 91 or 92. The poem is divided into twelve books in imitation of Virgil's Aeneid and is composed in dactylic hexameter. In the Silvae, Statius speaks of his extensive work in polishing and revising the Thebaid and his public recitations of the poem.
From the epilogue it seems clear that Statius considered the Thebaid to be his magnum opus and believed that it would secure him fame for the future. In the poem, Statius follows Virgil as a model, but he refers to a wide range of sources in his handling of meter and episodes; the poem's theme is the myth of the Seven Against Thebes, the story of the battle between the sons of Oedipus for the throne of Thebes. The poem opens with the disgraced Oedipus' curse on his two sons and Polyneices, who have decided to hold the throne of Thebes in alternate years, one ruling, the other in exile. Jupiter plans a war between Thebes and Argos, although Juno begs him not to inc
Mount Helicon is a mountain in the region of Thespiai in Boeotia, celebrated in Greek mythology. With an altitude of 1,749 metres, it is located 10 kilometres from the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth; some researchers maintain that Helicon was the Greek name of mount Rocca Salvatesta in Sicily as a river started from it was called Helikon. In Greek mythology, two springs sacred to the Muses were located here: the Aganippe and the Hippocrene, both of which bear "horse" in their names. In a related myth, the Hippocrene spring was created when the winged horse Pegasus aimed his hoof at a rock, striking it with such force that the spring burst from the spot. On Mount Helicon too was the spring. Mount Helicon and the Hippocrene spring were considered to be a source of poetic inspiration. In the late seventh century BCE, the poet Hesiod placed a reference to the Muses on the Helicon at the beginning of his Theogony: Later in the text, he describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority.
The Helicon thus was an emblem of poetical inspiration. In the Homeric Hymn to Poseidon – dated to the seventh century, but a bit than Hesiod's works – a brief invocation, the god is hailed as "Lord of Helicon". In his Aitia, the third-century BC poet Callimachus recounts his dream in which he was young once more and conversed with the Muses on Helicon. and thus follows explicitly in the footsteps of Hesiod. He placed on Helicon the episode in which Tiresias stumbles upon Athena bathing and is blinded but at the same time given the art of prophecy, by which means poetry and prophecy are implicitly connected to each other. Reflecting this account, the Roman poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, writes of Minerva visiting the muses on Mount Helicon; the cult centers on Helicon established in the Valley of the Muses, a fertile valley near Thespiai and Ascra, under the influence of the Hesiodic texts, in Hellenistic times if not before, were visited by Pausanias in the second century CE. He explored the sacred grove by the spring Aganippe and left a full description as it was.
He saw images of Eupheme, nurse of the Muses, of the legendary poet Linus "in a small rock, worked into the manner of a cave". In the temenos were statues, some by famous masters, of Apollo and Dionysus and famed poets; the absence of Homer at Helicon has been noticed by Richard Hunter: "The presence of Homer would spoil the party, for the tendency to see these as rival figures for supremacy in epos is familiar from the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, parts of which derive from the classical period". But if the presence of Homer at the festival Hesiod mentions in Works and Days was a interpolation, the sacrificial tripod which Hesiod won at a contest in Chalcis in Euboea was still on view at Helicon in Pausanias' day; the poetical image of Helicon established by the Roman poets became once more an emblem of cultural inspiration with the Renaissance and is referred to in poetry. Helicon was the inspiration for the balls held by the Hungarian composer Leó Festetics at his castle near Keszthely. Festetics named the library he founded Helikon Library, promoting literacy and culture in his home city.
UNESCO World Heritage site, the monastery of Hosios Loukas is located on Mount Helicon. The Four Seasons released the album Helicon in 1977, with a song "Helicon" containing the lyric "Take me to Helicon, I want to write my song" During the 1980s an Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio arts programme was called Radio Helicon; the Scottish band Mogwai recorded two tracks as part of their Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996–2003 album entitled New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1 and New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 2. Irish author Seamus Heaney wrote a poem entitled “Personal Helicon”, which references the story of Narcissus and the mountain’s spring; the poet John Godfrey Saxe mentioned the waters from Mount Helicon in the poem, “Where There's a Will There's a Way.” Richard Hunter, The Shadow of Callimachus: Studies in the Reception of Hellenistic Poetry at Rome 2006:16ff "De Monte Sororum: In the Grove"
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Masterpiece, magnum opus or chef-d’œuvre in modern use is a creation, given much critical praise one, considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, profundity, or workmanship. A "masterpiece" was a work of a high standard produced to obtain membership of a guild or academy in various areas of the visual arts and crafts; the form masterstik is recorded in English or Scots in a set of Aberdeen guild regulations dated to 1579, whereas "masterpiece" is first found in 1605 outside a guild context, in a Ben Jonson play. "Masterprize" was another early variant in English. In English, the term became used in a variety of contexts for an exceptionally good piece of creative work, was "in early use applied to man as the'masterpiece' of God or Nature"; the term masterpiece referred to a piece of work produced by an apprentice or journeyman aspiring to become a master craftsman in the old European guild system. His fitness to qualify for guild membership was judged by the masterpiece, if he was successful, the piece was retained by the guild.
Great care was therefore taken to produce a fine piece in whatever the craft was, whether confectionery, goldsmithing, leatherworking, or many other trades. In London, in the 17th century, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, for instance, required an apprentice to produce a masterpiece under their supervision at a "workhouse" in Goldsmiths' Hall; the workhouse had been set up as part of a tightening of standards after the company became concerned that the level of skill of goldsmithing was being diluted. The wardens of the company had complained in 1607 that the "true practise of the Art & Mystery of Goldsmithry is not only grown into great decays but dispersed into many parts, so as now few workmen are able to finish & perfect a piece of plate singularly with all the garnishings & parts thereof without the help of many & several hands...". The same goldsmithing organization still requires the production of a masterpiece but it is no longer produced under supervision. In Nuremberg, between 1531 and 1572, apprentices who wished to become master goldsmith were required to produce columbine cups, dice for a steel seal, gold rings set with precious stones before they could be admitted to the goldsmiths' guild.
If they failed to be admitted they could continue to work for other goldsmiths but not as a master themselves. In some guilds, apprentices were not allowed to marry. In its original meaning the term was restricted to tangible objects, but in some cases, where guilds covered the creators of intangible products, the same system was used; the best-known example today is Richard Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, where much of the plot is concerned with the hero's composition and performance of a "masterpiece" song, to allow him to become a meistersinger in the Nuremberg guild. This follows the surviving rulebook of the guild; the practice of producing a masterpiece has continued in some modern academies of art, where the general term for such works is now reception piece. The Royal Academy in London uses the term "diploma work" and it has acquired a fine collection of diploma works received as a condition of membership. In modern use, a masterpiece is a creation in any area of the arts, given much critical praise one, considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, profundity, or workmanship.
For example, the novel David Copperfield is considered by many as a masterpiece written by author Charles Dickens. Artistic merit Classic Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900–2000 Virtual Collection of Masterpieces Western canon Masterpieces at the Louvre