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Edwin Austin Abbey

Edwin Austin Abbey was an American muralist and painter. He flourished at the beginning of what is now referred to as the "golden age" of illustration, is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects, as well as for his painting of Edward VII's coronation, his most famous set of murals, The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail, adorns the Boston Public Library. Abbey was born in Philadelphia in 1852, he studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Christian Schuessele. Abbey began as an illustrator, producing numerous illustrations and sketches for such magazines as Harper's Weekly and Scribner's Magazine, his illustrations began appearing in Harper's Weekly at an early age: before Abbey was twenty years old. He moved to New York City in 1871, his illustrations were influenced by French and German black and white art. He illustrated several best-selling books, including Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens, Selections from the Poetry of Robert Herrick, She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.

Abbey illustrated a four-volume set of The Comedies of Shakespeare for Harper & Brothers in 1896. He moved to England in 1878, at the request of his employers, to gather material for illustrations of the poems of Robert Herrick, published in 1882, he settled permanently there in 1883. In 1883, he was elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours. About this time, he was appraised critically by the American writer, S. G. W. Benjamin: It must be taken into consideration that he is still young, and compare with these disadvantages the amount and the quality of the illustrations he has turned out, we see represented in him genius of a high order, combining inexhaustible creativeness and vividness of conception, a versatile fancy, a poetic perception of beauty, a quaint, delicate humor, a wonderful grasp of whatever is weird and mysterious, admirable chiaro-oscuro and composition. When we note such a rare combination of qualities, we cease to be surprised at the cordial recognition awarded his genius by the best judges, both in London and Paris before he had left this country.

He created illustrations for Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, for a volume of Old Songs, for the comedies of Shakespeare. Among his water-colours are "The Evil Eye", "The Rose in October", "An Old Song", "The Visitors", "The Jongleur", his best known pastels are "Beatrice," "Phyllis," and "Two Noble Kinsmen." In 1890 he made his first appearance with an oil painting, "A May Day Morn," at the Royal Academy in London. He exhibited "Richard duke of Gloucester and the Lady Anne" there in 1896, in that year was elected A. R. A. Becoming a full member in 1898. In 1902 he was chosen to paint the coronation of King Edward VII, it was the official painting of the occasion and, resides at Buckingham Palace. He did receive a knighthood, although some say he refused it in 1907. Friendly with other expatriate American artists, he summered at Broadway, England, where he painted and vacationed alongside John Singer Sargent at the home of Francis Davis Millet, he completed murals for the Boston Public Library in the 1890s.

The frieze for the Library was titled "The Quest and Achievement of the Holy Grail". It took Abbey eleven years to complete this series of murals in his England studio. In 1904 he painted a mural for the Royal Exchange, London Reconciliation of the Skinners & Merchant Taylors' Companies by Lord Mayor Billesden, 1484. In 1908–09, Abbey began an ambitious program of murals and other artworks for the newly completed Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; these included allegorical medallion murals representing Science, Art and Religion for the dome of the Rotunda, four large lunette murals beneath the dome, multiple works for the House and Senate Chambers. For the Senate chamber he finished only one painting, Von Steuben Training the American Soldiers at Valley Forge, he was working on the Reading of the Declaration of Independence mural in early 1911, when his health began to fail, he was diagnosed with cancer. Studio assistant William Simmonds continued work on the mural with little supervision from Abbey, with small contributions by John Singer Sergeant.

Abbey died in August 1911. William Simmonds travelled from England to install the completed murals with Abbey's widow Gertrude; the remaining two rooms, which Abbey had been unable to finish, were given to Violet Oakley, who completed the commission using her own designs. Abbey was elected to the National Academy of Design, in 1902, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was honorary member of the Royal Bavarian Society and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, was made a chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. He was a prolific illustrator, attention to detail, including historical accuracy, influenced successive generations of illustrators. In 1890, Edwin married the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant. Mrs Abbey encouraged her husband to secure more ambitious commissions, although with their marriage commencing when both were in their forties, the couple remained childless. After her husband's death, Gertrude was active in preserving her husband's legacy, writing about his work and giving her substantial collection and archive to Yale.

Edwin had been a keen supporter of the newly founded British School at Rome, so, in his memory, she donated £6000 to

Gustave Dutailly

Gustave Dutailly was a French botanist and art collector. He studied plant physiology in Paris, in the meantime made contributions to the Dictionnaire de botanique. In 1870, he became a member of the Société linnéenne de Paris, in 1875 a member of the Société botanique de France. In 1880, he was appointed a professor of botany to the faculty of sciences at Lyon. In Lyon, he served as director of the Parc de la Tête d'Or. From 1882, he was a member of the Société d'anthropologie de Lyon. In 1881, he resigned his professorship in order to pursue scientific activities that included work associated with the Association française pour l’avancement des sciences. During the same year, he became a deputy of the arrondissement of Chaumont, in 1885 was named deputy of the department of Haute-Marne. A passionate collector of poster art, during his lifetime he amassed a collection of 5000 posters composed by artists that included Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Pierre Bonnard, Leonetto Cappiello, Eugène Grasset, Adolphe Léon Willette and Jules-Alexandre Grün.

At the time of his death, his art collection as well as a library of 3500 volumes were bequeathed to the city of Chaumont. The genus Dutaillyea was named in his honor by Henri Ernest Baillon

Sturmtruppen

Sturmtruppen is a successful Italian series of anti-war comic books written and drawn by Bonvi, the artistic pseudonym of Franco Bonvicini. It started as four-frame comic strips back in 1968 and evolved into sized collector books by the 1990s; the series continued until the early 2000s. Sturmtruppen concerns the misadventures of an anonymous German army unit in various war theatres of World War II, by portraying the daily life, sufferings and joys of the average, anonymous soldier; the Sturmtruppen never see a single enemy soldier in the course of decades of comic strips, though the enemy's presence is felt through sniper- tank- and artillery fire, whose lethal effects rake all too through the ranks of the Sturmtruppen's forgotten soldiers. The series never explicitly mentioned that the war being fought is World War II, since no specific date is mentioned. There are, occasional references to specific battle theaters, place names as well as the accurate portrayal of vehicles and uniforms of the period.

Several deliberate anachronisms such as mentions of the Kaiser appear throughout the series, giving the impression that the war in question wages on endlessly, that the stories told could be, in fact, referring to any war. A trademark of the comic is the use of an improper, German-mocking Italian achieved by adding a final "-en" to most Italian words, or by exchanging "q"s with "k"s, "v"s with "f"s to achieve a "German-sounding" Italian; the stories and characters themselves are based on the military experience of the author himself, on military literature, folklore and of course stereotypes. Bonvi was an expert in World War II German uniforms and equipment and, despite some cartoonish deformations, all of the Sturmtruppen hardware is faithful: from iconic objects and vehicles, to more obscure and esoteric weapons; the subject of the stories themselves carry a lot of criticism against war and the absurdity of military bureaucracy and mentality and the message that "civilian" life isn't much different from military life, disguised.

But criticism can subtly extend to today life's aspects, including TV predominance, class divisions and Roman Church's dogma. The monologue of an anonymous soldier muttering to himself: "Kuesta maledetta najen dovrà pur finiren. Ne ho piene le tasken di dofer dire'Signorsì' a un kvalsiasi graduaten. Non fedo l'oren di ridifentaren un cifilen kvalsiasi e poter diren'Sissisignore' a un kvalsiasi superioren",which can be translated more or less as: "Zis damned military service vill haff to end sometime. I've grown tired of hafing to say'sir yes' to anyone with a higher ranken. I kan vait to return to being an anonymous civilian and being able to zay'Yes,sir' to any of my superiors..."This gives a clear idea of the black humour and Kafkaesque atmosphere of this comic book. Most characters don't have proper names but, are called by their military rank or position. Most simple soldiers are given generic "German" names such as Otto, Fritz, etc. Recurring characters include: The "Sergenten", a cruel veteran absorbed into the system and obsessed with "duty" and "discipline".

He abuses his position by beating up soldiers for no reason and using them as living barbed wire poles and barricades, ordering them to run into a minefield or to remove their gas masks in the middle of a gas attack to "check out if it's safe", etc. Although he is referred to as a Sergeant, his arm rank chevrons are those of a Wehrmacht obergefreiter, which would be equivalent to a conscript corporal and not a feldwebel; the "Kapitanen" is sometimes one of the few characters representing sanity in an otherwise insane environment. He stays calm and rational when dealing with the most bizarre and peculiar situations. However, he is hopelessly tied to the system and unable to think outside it, he is easily drawn to dangerous tasks in order to advance his rank. If he is just a Captain, he is mentioned as commanding a battalion. Throughout the series his commanded unit is mentioned as being the "3rd Battalion", his character is one of the most variable throughout the series, to adapt to new situations.

Most of the time he is portrayed as no-nonsense and distanced from his subordinates, while at the other extreme he has been portrayed as a chronic alcoholic with disregard for personal danger, caring for his soldiers after his death. When more than one higher officer were present in the same strip they ALL shared the same features as if to reinforce Bonvi's'class warfare' statement that'superiors' are a kind of'separate race' from'common people'; the "Mediken Militaren", a Major of the medical corps who had studied as a veterinarian, but because "...animals refused to be treated by him, he was assigned to the closest human category: the soldiers." From time to time the doctor becomes obsessed with things such as vampires, researching the elixir of invisibility or some "revolutionary" battlefield medicine procedure at the expense of the poor soldiers and his fellow officers. His rank of Major is ever mentioned in the series, with the most famous case being the episode with Captain asking for the doctor's urgent recovery in a p