Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky's writings. Categorised by scholars of religion as part of the occultist current of Western esotericism, it draws upon both older European philosophies like Neoplatonism and Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism; as taught by Blavatsky, Theosophy teaches that there is an ancient and secretive brotherhood of spiritual adepts known as Mahatmas, who—although found across the world—are centered in Tibet. These Masters are believed to have cultivated great wisdom and seemingly-supernatural powers, Theosophists believe that it was they who initiated the modern Theosophical movement through disseminating their teachings via Blavatsky, they believe that these Masters are attempting to revive knowledge of an ancient religion once found across the world and which will again come to eclipse the existing world religions.
Theosophical groups do not refer to their system as a "religion". Theosophy preaches the existence of a divine Absolute, it promotes an emanationist cosmology in which the universe is perceived as outward reflections from this Absolute. Theosophy teaches that the purpose of human life is spiritual emancipation and claims that the human soul undergoes reincarnation upon bodily death according to a process of karma, it promotes values of universal brotherhood and social improvement, although it does not stipulate particular ethical codes. Theosophy was established in New York City in 1875 with the founding of the Theosophical Society by Blavatsky, Henry Olcott, William Quan Judge. Blavatsky and Olcott relocated to India, where they established the Society's headquarters at Adyar, Tamil Nadu. Blavatsky described her ideas in Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. Blavatsky was accused of fraudulently producing purportedly supernatural phenomena in connection with these "masters". Following Blavatsky's death in 1891, there was a schism in the Society, with Judge leading the Theosophical Society in America to secede.
Under Judge's successor Katherine Tingley, a Theosophical community named Lomaland was established in San Diego. The Adyar-based Society was taken over by Annie Besant, under whom it grew to its largest extent during the late 1920s, before going into decline. Theosophy played a significant role in bringing knowledge of South Asian religions to Western countries, as well as in encouraging cultural pride in various South Asian nations. A variety of prominent artists and writers have been influenced by Theosophical teachings. Theosophy has an international following, during the twentieth century had tens of thousands of adherents. Theosophical ideas have exerted an influence on a wide range of other esoteric movements and philosophies, among them Anthroposophy, the Church Universal and Triumphant, the New Age. Theosophy's founder, the Russian Helena Blavatsky, insisted that it was not a religion, although did refer to it as the modern transmission of the "once universal religion" that she claimed had existed deep into the human past.
That Theosophy should not be labelled a religion is a claim, maintained by Theosophical organisations, who instead regard it as a system that embraces what they see as the "essential truth" underlying religion and science. As a result, Theosophical groups allow their members to hold other religious allegiances, resulting in Theosophists who identify as Christians, Buddhists, or Hindus; some scholars of religion who have studied Theosophy have characterised it as a religion. In his history of the Theosophical movement, Bruce F. Campbell noted that Theosophy promoted "a religious world-view" using "explicitly religious terms" and that its central tenets are not unequivocal fact, but rather rely on belief. Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein termed it "one of the modern world's most important religious traditions". Various scholars have pointed to its eclectic nature. Scholars have classified Theosophy as a form of Western esotericism. Campbell for instance referred to it as "an esoteric religious tradition", while the historian Joy Dixon called it an "esoteric religion".
More it is considered a form of occultism. Along with other groups like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Theosophical Society has been seen as part of an "occult revival" that took place in Western countries during the late nineteenth century; the historian of religion Wouter Hanegraaff noted that Theosophy helped to establish the "essential foundations for much of twentieth-century esotericism". Although Theosophy draws upon Indian religious beliefs, the sociologist of religion Christopher Partridge observed that "Theosophy is fundamentally Western; that is to say, Theosophy is not Eastern thought in the West, but Western thought with an Eastern flavour." At a meeting of the Miracle Club in New York City on 7 September 1875, Blavatsky and Judge agreed to establish an organisation, with Charles Sotheran suggesting that they call it the Theosophical Society. Prior to adopting the name "Theosophical", they had debated various potential names, among them the Egyptological Society, the Hermetic Society, the Rosicrucian Society.
The term was not new, but had been used in various contexts by the Philaletheians and the Christian mystic Jakob Böhme. Etymologically, the term came from the Greek theos and sophia, thus meaning "god-wisdom", "divine wisd
Existentialism is the philosophical study that begins with the human subject—not the thinking subject, but the acting, living human individual. It is associated with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief in that beginning of philosophical thinking. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Søren Kierkegaard is considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, though he did not use the term existentialism, he proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or "authentically".
Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, thanks to Sartre who read Heidegger while in a POW camp, influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, art and psychology. The term "existentialism" was coined by the French Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel in the mid-1940s. At first, when Marcel applied the term to him at a colloquium in 1945, Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it. Sartre subsequently changed his mind and, on October 29, 1945, publicly adopted the existentialist label in a lecture to the Club Maintenant in Paris; the lecture was published as L'existentialisme est un humanisme, a short book that did much to popularize existentialist thought. Marcel came to reject the label himself in favour of the term Neo-Socratic, in honor of Kierkegaard's essay "On The Concept of Irony"; some scholars argue that the term should be used only to refer to the cultural movement in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s associated with the works of the philosophers Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Albert Camus.
Other scholars extend the term to Kierkegaard, yet others extend it as far back as Socrates. However, the term is identified with the philosophical views of Sartre; the labels existentialism and existentialist are seen as historical conveniences in as far as they were first applied to many philosophers in hindsight, long after they had died. In fact, while existentialism is considered to have originated with Kierkegaard, the first prominent existentialist philosopher to adopt the term as a self-description was Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre posits the idea that "what all existentialists have in common is the fundamental doctrine that existence precedes essence", as scholar Frederick Copleston explains. According to philosopher Steven Crowell, defining existentialism has been difficult, he argues that it is better understood as a general approach used to reject certain systematic philosophies rather than as a systematic philosophy itself. Sartre himself, in a lecture delivered in 1945, described existentialism as "the attempt to draw all the consequences from a position of consistent atheism".
Although many outside Scandinavia consider the term existentialism to have originated from Kierkegaard himself, it is more that Kierkegaard adopted this term from the Norwegian poet and literary critic Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven. This assertion comes from two sources; the Norwegian philosopher Erik Lundestad refers to the Danish philosopher Fredrik Christian Sibbern. Sibbern is supposed to have had two conversations in 1841, the first with Welhaven and the second with Kierkegaard, it is in the first conversation that it is believed that Welhaven came up with "a word that he said covered a certain thinking, which had a close and positive attitude to life, a relationship he described as existential". This was brought to Kierkegaard by Sibbern; the second claim comes from the Norwegian historian Rune Slagstad, who claims to prove that Kierkegaard himself said the term "existential" was borrowed from the poet. He believes that it was Kierkegaard himself who said that "Hegelians do not study philosophy'existentially'.
Sartre argued that a central proposition of Existentialism is that existence precedes essence, which means that the most important consideration for individuals is that they are individuals—independently acting and responsible, conscious beings —rather than what labels, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individuals fit. The actual life of the individuals is what constitutes what could be called their "true essence" instead of there being an arbitrarily attributed essence others use to define them. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life. Although it was Sartre who explicitly coined the phrase, similar notions can be found in the thought of existentialist philosophers such as Heidegger, Kierkegaard: The subjective thinker’s form, the form of his communication, is his style, his form must be just as manifold as are the opposites. The systematic eins, drei is an abstract form that must run into trouble whenever it is to be applied to the concrete.
To the same degree as the subjective thinker is concrete, to the same degree his form must be concretely dialectica
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca named Piero di Benedetto, was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. To contemporaries he was known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art, his painting is characterized by its use of geometric forms and perspective. His most famous work is the cycle of frescoes The History of the True Cross in the church of San Francesco in the Tuscan town of Arezzo. Piero was born Piero di Benedetto in the town of Borgo Santo Sepolcro, modern-day Tuscany, to Benedetto de' Franceschi, a tradesman, Romana di Perino da Monterchi, members of the Florentine and Tuscan Franceschi noble family, his father died before his birth, he was called Piero della Francesca after his mother, who supported his education in mathematics and art. He was most apprenticed to the local painter Antonio di Giovanni d'Anghiari, because in documents about payments it is noted that he was working with Antonio in 1432 and May 1438, he took notice of the work of some of the Sienese artists active in San Sepolcro during his youth.
In 1439 Piero received, together with Domenico Veneziano, payments for his work on frescoes for the church of Sant'Egidio in Florence, now lost. In Florence he must have met leading masters like Fra Angelico, Luca della Robbia and Brunelleschi; the classicism of Masaccio's frescoes and his majestic figures in the Santa Maria del Carmine were for him an important source of inspiration. Dating of Piero's undocumented work is difficult because his style does not seem to have developed over the years. Piero was elected to the City Council of Sansepolcro. Three years he received his first commission, to paint the Madonna della Misericordia altarpiece for the church of the Misericordia in Sansepolcro, completed in the early 1460s. In 1449 he executed several frescoes in the Castello Estense and the church of Sant'Andrea of Ferrara, now lost, his influence was strong in the Ferrarese allegorical works of Cosimo Tura. The Baptism of Christ, now in the National Gallery in London, was completed in about 1450 for the high altar of the church of the Priory of S.
Giovanni Battista at Sansepolcro. Other notable works are the frescoes of The Resurrection in Sansepolcro, the Madonna del parto in Monterchi, near Sansepolcro. Two years he was in Rimini, working for the condottiero Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. In 1451, during that sojourn, he executed the famous fresco of St. Sigismund and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in the Tempio Malatestiano, as well as a portrait of Sigismondo. In Rimini, Piero may have met the famous Renaissance mathematician and architect Leon Battista Alberti, who had redesigned the Tempio Malatestiano, although it is known that Alberti directed the execution of his designs for the church by correspondence with his building supervisor. Thereafter Piero was active in Ancona and Bologna. In 1454, he signed a contract for the Polyptych of Saint Augustine in the church of Sant'Agostino in Sansepolcro; the central panel of this polyptych is lost, the four panels of the wings, with representations of saints, are now scattered around the world.
A few years summoned by Pope Nicholas V, he moved to Rome, where he executed frescoes in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, of which only fragments remain. Two years he was again in the Papal capital, painting frescoes in the Vatican Palace, which have since been destroyed. In 1452, Piero della Francesca was called to Arezzo to replace Bicci di Lorenzo in painting the frescoes of the basilica of San Francesco; the work was finished in 1464. The History of the True Cross cycle of frescoes is considered among his masterworks and those of Renaissance painting in general; the story in these frescoes derives from legendary medieval sources as to how timber relics of the True Cross came to be found. These stories were collected in the Golden Legend of Jacopo da Varazze of the mid-13th century. At some point, Giovanni Santi invited Piero to Urbino. Between 1469 and 1486 Piero worked in the service of Count Federico III da Montefeltro; the Flagellation is considered Piero's oldest work in Urbino. It is one of the most controversial pictures of the early Renaissance.
As discussed in its own entry, it is marked by an air of geometric sobriety, in addition to presenting a perplexing enigma as to the nature of the three men standing at the foreground. Another famous work painted in Urbino is the Double Portrait of Federico and his wife Battista Sforza, in the Uffizi; the portraits in profile take their inspiration from large bronze medals and stucco roundels with the official portraits of Fedederico and his wife. Other paintings made in Urbino are the monumental Montefeltro Altarpiece in the Brera Gallery in Milan and also the Madonna of Senigallia. In Urbino Piero met the painters Melozzo da Forlì, Fra Carnevale and the Flemish Justus van Gent, the mathematician Fra Luca Pacioli, the architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini and also Leon Battista Alberti. In his years, painters such as Perugino and Luca Signorelli visited his workshop, he completed the treatise On Perspective in painting in the mid-1470s to 1480s. By 1480, his vision began to deteriorate, but he continued writing treatises such as Short Book on the Five Regular Solids in 1485.
It is documented that Piero rented a house in Rimini in 1482. Piero made his will in 1487 and he died five years on 12 October 1492, in his own house in San Sepolcro, he left his possessions to the church. He
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist. He was born in Rotterdam and moved to the United States in 1926, becoming an American citizen in 1962. In 1943, he married painter Elaine Fried. In the years after World War II, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as abstract expressionism or "action painting", was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School. Other painters in this group included Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Nell Blaine, Adolph Gottlieb, Anne Ryan, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, Richard Pousette-Dart. Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on April 24, 1904, his parents, Leendert de Kooning and Cornelia Nobel, were divorced in 1907, de Kooning lived first with his father and with his mother. He became an apprentice in a firm of commercial artists; until 1924 he attended evening classes at the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen, now the Willem de Kooning Academie.
In 1926 de Kooning travelled to the United States as a stowaway on the Shelley, a British freighter bound for Argentina, on August 15 landed at Newport News, Virginia. He stayed at the Dutch Seamen's Home in Hoboken, New Jersey, found work as a house-painter. In 1927 he moved to Manhattan, he supported himself with jobs in house-painting and commercial art. De Kooning began painting in his free time and in 1928 he joined the art colony at Woodstock, New York, he began to meet some of the modernist artists active in Manhattan. Among them were the American Stuart Davis, the Armenian Arshile Gorky and the Russian John Graham, whom de Kooning collectively called the "Three Musketeers".:98 Gorky, whom de Kooning first met at the home of Misha Reznikoff, became a close friend and, for at least ten years, an important influence.:100 Balcomb Greene said that "de Kooning worshipped Gorky". None of them were executed, but a sketch for one was included in New Horizons in American Art at the Museum of Modern Art, his first group show.
Starting in 1937, when De Kooning had to leave the Federal Art Project because he did not have American citizenship, he began to work full-time as an artist, earning income from commissions and by giving lessons. That year de Kooning was assigned to a portion of the mural Medicine for the Hall of Pharmacy at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, which drew the attention of critics, the images themselves so new and distinct from the era of American realism. De Kooning met Elaine Fried, at the American Artists School in New York, she was 14 years his junior. Thus was to begin a lifelong partnership affected by alcoholism, lack of money, love affairs and separations, they were married on December 9, 1943. De Kooning worked on his first series of portrait paintings: standing or sedentary men like Two Men Standing and Seated Figure combining with self-portraits as with Portrait with Imaginary Brother. At this time, de Kooning's work borrowed from Gorky's surrealist imagery and was influenced by Picasso.
This changed only when de Kooning met the younger painter Franz Kline, working with the figurative style of American realism and had been drawn to monochrome. Kline, who died young, was one of de Kooning's closest artist friends. Kline's influence is evident in de Kooning's calligraphic black images of this period. In the late 1950s, de Kooning's work shifted away from the figurative work of the women and began to display an interest in more abstract, less representational imagery, he became a US citizen on 13 March 1962, in the following year moved from Broadway to a small house in East Hampton, a house which Elaine's brother Peter Fried had sold to him two years before. He built a studio near by, lived in the house to the end of his life, it was revealed that, toward the end of his life, de Kooning had begun to lose his memory in the late 1980s and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for some time. This revelation has initiated considerable debate among scholars and critics about how responsible de Kooning was for the creation of his late work.
Succumbing to the progression of his disease, de Kooning painted his final works in 1991. He was cremated. Elaine had admired Willem's artwork before meeting him. After meeting, he began to instruct her in painting, they painted in Willem's loft at 143 West 21st Street, he was known for his harsh criticism of her work, "sternly requiring that she draw and redraw a figure or still life and insisting on fine, clear linear definition supported by modulated shading." He destroyed many of her drawings, but this "impelled Elaine to strive for both precision and grace in her work". When they married in 1943, she moved into his loft and they continued sharing studio spaces. Elai
Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian artist and writer born in Greece. In the years before World War I, he founded the scuola metafisica art movement, which profoundly influenced the surrealists, his most well-known works feature Roman arcades, long shadows, mannequins and illogical perspective. His imagery reflects his affinity for the philosophy of Nietzsche and for the mythology of his birthplace. After 1919, he became a critic of modern art, studied traditional painting techniques, worked in a neoclassical or neo-Baroque style, while revisiting the metaphysical themes of his earlier work. De Chirico was born in Greece, as the eldest son of Gemma Cervetto and Evaristo de Chirico, his mother was his father a Sicilian barone from a family of remote Greek origin. De Chirico's family was in Greece at the time of his birth because his father, was in charge of the construction of a railroad. Beginning in 1900, de Chirico studied drawing and painting at Athens Polytechnic—mainly under the guidance of the Greek painters Georgios Roilos and Georgios Jakobides.
After Evaristo de Chirico's death in 1905, the family relocated in 1906 to Germany, after first visiting Florence. De Chirico entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he studied under Gabriel von Hackl and Carl von Marr and read the writings of the philosophers Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer and Otto Weininger. There, he studied the works of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger; the style of his earliest paintings, such as The Dying Centaur, shows the influence of Böcklin. He spent six months in Milan. By 1910, he was beginning to paint in a simpler style of anonymous surfaces. At the beginning of 1910, he moved to Florence where he painted the first of his'Metaphysical Town Square' series, The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, after the revelation he felt in Piazza Santa Croce, he painted The Enigma of the Oracle while in Florence. In July 1911 he spent a few days in Turin on his way to Paris. De Chirico was profoundly moved by what he called the'metaphysical aspect' of Turin the architecture of its archways and piazzas.
The paintings de Chirico produced between 1909 and 1919, his metaphysical period, are characterized by haunted, brooding moods evoked by their images. At the start of this period, his subjects were motionless cityscapes inspired by the bright daylight of Mediterranean cities, but he turned his attention to studies of cluttered storerooms, sometimes inhabited by mannequin-like hybrid figures. De Chirico's conception of Metaphysical art was influenced by his reading of Nietzsche, whose style of writing fascinated de Chirico with its suggestions of unseen auguries beneath the appearance of things. De Chirico found inspiration in the unexpected sensations that familiar places or things sometimes produced in him: In a manuscript of 1909 he wrote of the "host of strange and solitary things that can be translated into painting... What is required above all is a pronounced sensitivity." Metaphysical art combined everyday reality with mythology, evoked inexplicable moods of nostalgia, tense expectation, estrangement.
The picture space featured illogical and drastically receding perspectives. Among de Chirico's most frequent motifs were arcades, of which he wrote: "The Roman arcade is fate... its voice speaks in riddles which are filled with a peculiarly Roman poetry". De Chirico moved to Paris in July 1911. Through his brother he met Pierre Laprade, a member of the jury at the Salon d'Automne, where he exhibited three of his works: Enigma of the Oracle, Enigma of an Afternoon and Self-Portrait. During 1913 he exhibited paintings at the Salon des Indépendants and Salon d’Automne, his time in Paris resulted in the production of Chirico's Ariadne. In 1914, through Apollinaire, he met the art dealer Paul Guillaume, with whom he signed a contract for his artistic output. At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Italy. Upon his arrival in May 1915, he enlisted in the army, but he was considered unfit for work and assigned to the hospital at Ferrara; the shop windows of that town inspired a series of paintings that feature biscuits and geometric constructions in indoor settings.
In Ferrara he met with Carlo Carrà and together they founded the pittura metafisica movement. He continued to paint, in 1918, he transferred to Rome. Starting from 1918, his work was exhibited extensively in Europe. In November 1919, de Chirico published an article in Valori plastici entitled "The Return of Craftsmanship", in which he advocated a return to traditional methods and iconography; this article heralded an abrupt change in his artistic orientation, as he adopted a classicizing manner inspired by such old masters as Raphael and Signorelli, became part of the post-war return to order in the arts. He became an outspoken opponent of modern art. In the early 1920s, the Surrealist writer André Breton discovered one of de Chirico's metaphysical paintings on display in Guillaume's Paris gallery, was enthralled. Numerous young artists who were affected by de Chirico's imagery became the core of the Paris Surrealist group centered around Breton. In 1924 de Chirico visited Paris and was accepted into the group, although the surrealists were critical of his post-metaphysical work.
De Chirico met and married his first wife, the Russian ball
Paolo Uccello, born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and mathematician, notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. In his book Lives of the Most Excellent Painters and Architects Giorgio Vasari wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his study trying to grasp the exact vanishing point. While his contemporaries used perspective to narrate different or succeeding stories, Uccello used perspective to create a feeling of depth in his paintings, his best known works are the three paintings representing the battle of San Romano, which were wrongly entitled the "Battle of Sant' Egidio of 1416" for a long period of time. Paolo worked in the Late Gothic tradition, emphasizing colour and pageantry rather than the classical realism that other artists were pioneering, his style is best described as idiosyncratic, he left no school of followers. He has had some influence on literary criticism; the sources for Paolo Uccello’s life are few: Giorgio Vasari’s biography, written 75 years after Paolo’s death, a few contemporary official documents.
Due to the lack of sources his date of birth is questionable. It is believed that Uccello was born in Pratovecchio in 1397, his tax declarations for some years indicate that he was born in 1397, but in 1446 he claimed to have been born in 1396, his father, Dono di Paolo, was a barber-surgeon from Pratovecchio near Arezzo. His nickname Uccello came from his fondness for painting birds. From 1412 until 1416 he was apprenticed to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. Ghiberti was the designer of the doors of the Florence Baptistery and his workshop was the premier centre for Florentine art at the time. Ghiberti's late-Gothic, narrative style and sculptural composition influenced Paolo, it was around this time that Paolo began his lifelong friendship with Donatello. In 1414, Uccello was admitted to the painters' guild, Compagnia di San Luca, just one year in 1415, he joined the official painter's guild of Florence Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali. Although the young Uccello had left Ghiberti's workshop by the mid 1420s, he stayed on good terms with his master and may have been privy to the designs for Ghiberti's second set of Baptistery doors, The Gates of Paradise.
These featured a battle scene "that might well have impressed itself in the mind of the young Uccello," and thus influenced The Battle of San Romano. According to Vasari, Uccello’s first painting was a Saint Anthony between the saints Cosmas and Damianus, a commission for the hospital of Lelmo. Next, he painted two figures in the convent of Annalena. Shortly afterwards, he painted three frescoes with scenes from the life of Saint Francis above the left door of the Santa Trinita church. For the Santa Maria Maggiore church, he painted a fresco of the Annunciation. In this fresco, he painted a large building with columns in perspective. According to Vasari, people found this to be a great and beautiful achievement because this was the first example of how lines could be expertly used to demonstrate perspective and size; as a result, this work became a model for artists who wished to craft illusions of space in order to enhance the realness of their paintings. Paolo painted the Lives of the Church Fathers in the cloisters of the church of San Miniato, which sat on a hill overlooking Florence.
According to Vasari, Paolo protested against the monotonous meals of cheese pies and cheese soup served by the abbot by running away, returned to finish the job only after the abbot promised him a more varied diet. Uccello was asked to paint a number of scenes of distempered animals for the house of the Medici; the scene most appreciated by Vasari was his depiction of a fierce lion fighting with a venom-spouting snake. Uccello loved to paint animals and he kept a wide variety of pictures of animals birds, at home; this love for birds is what led to Paolo Uccelli. By 1424, Paolo was earning his own living as a painter. In that year, he proved his artistic maturity by painting episodes of the Creation and Expulsion, which are now badly damaged, for the Green Cloister of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. Again, this assignment allowed him to paint a large number of animals in a lively manner, he succeeded in painting trees in their natural colours. This was a skill, difficult for many of his predecessors, so Uccello began to acquire a reputation for painting landscapes.
He continued with scenes from the Deluge, the story of Noah's Ark, Noah's sacrifice and Noah's drunkenness. These scenes brought him great fame in Florence. In 1425, Uccello travelled to Venice, where he worked on the mosaics for the façade of San Marco, which have all since been lost. During this time, he painted some frescoes in the Prato Cathedral and Bologna; some suggest he visited Rome with his friend Donatello before returning to Florence in 1431. After he returned, Uccello remained in Florence for most of the rest of his life, executing works for various churches and patrons, most notably the Duomo. Despite his leave from Florence, interest in Uccello did not diminish. In 1432, the Office of Works asked the Florentine ambassador in Venice to enquire after Uccello’s reputation as an artist. In 1436, he was given the commission for the monochromatic fresco of Sir John Hawkwood; this equestrian monument exemplified his keen interest in perspective. The condottiere and his horse are presented.
It is wid
Giotto di Bondone, known mononymously as Giotto and Latinised as Giottus, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence during the Late Middle Ages. He worked during the Gothic/Proto-Renaissance period. Giotto's contemporary, the banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani, wrote that Giotto was "the most sovereign master of painting in his time, who drew all his figures and their postures according to nature" and of his publicly recognized "talent and excellence". In his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters and Architects, Giorgio Vasari described Giotto as making a decisive break with the prevalent Byzantine style and as initiating "the great art of painting as we know it today, introducing the technique of drawing from life, neglected for more than two hundred years". Giotto's masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua known as the Arena Chapel, completed around 1305; the fresco cycle depicts the Life of Christ. It is regarded as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Early Renaissance.
That Giotto painted the Arena Chapel and that he was chosen by the Commune of Florence in 1334 to design the new campanile of the Florence Cathedral are among the few certainties about his life. Every other aspect of it is subject to controversy: his birth date, his birthplace, his appearance, his apprenticeship, the order in which he created his works, whether or not he painted the famous frescoes in the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi and his burial place. Tradition holds that Giotto was born in a farmhouse at Colle di Romagnano or Romignano. Since 1850, a tower house in nearby Colle Vespignano has borne a plaque claiming the honor of his birthplace, an assertion, commercially publicized. However, recent research has presented documentary evidence that he was born in Florence, the son of a blacksmith, his father's name was Bondone. Most authors accept that Giotto was his real name, but it is to have been an abbreviation of Ambrogio or Angelo; the year of his birth is calculated from the fact that Antonio Pucci, the town crier of Florence, wrote a poem in Giotto's honour in which it is stated that he was 70 at the time of his death.
However, the word "seventy" fits into the rhyme of the poem better than any longer and more complex age so it is possible that Pucci used artistic license. Vasari states that Giotto was a shepherd boy, a merry and intelligent child, loved by all who knew him; the great Florentine painter Cimabue discovered Giotto drawing pictures of his sheep on a rock. They were so lifelike that Cimabue approached Giotto and asked if he could take him on as an apprentice. Cimabue was one of the two most renowned painters of Tuscany, the other being Duccio, who worked in Siena. Vasari recounts a number of such stories about Giotto's skill as a young artist, he tells of one occasion when Cimabue was absent from the workshop, Giotto painted a remarkably-lifelike fly on a face in a painting of Cimabue. When Cimabue returned, he tried several times to brush the fly off. Vasari relates that when the Pope sent a messenger to Giotto, asking him to send a drawing to demonstrate his skill, Giotto drew a red circle so perfect that it seemed as though it was drawn using a pair of compasses and instructed the messenger to send it to the Pope.
The messenger departed ill pleased. The messenger brought other artists' drawings back to the Pope in addition to Giotto's; when the messenger related how he had made the circle without moving his arm and without the aid of compasses the Pope and his courtiers were amazed at how Giotto's skill surpassed all of his contemporaries. Many scholars today are uncertain about Giotto's training and consider Vasari's account that he was Cimabue's pupil as legend. About 1290, Giotto married the daughter of Lapo del Pela of Florence; the marriage produced four sons, one of whom became a painter. By 1301, Giotto owned a house in Florence, when he was not traveling, he would return there and live in comfort with his family. Cimabue went to Assisi to paint several large frescoes at the new Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, it is possible but not certain that Giotto went with him; the attribution of the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis in the Upper Church has been one of the most disputed in art history.
The documents of the Franciscan Friars that relate to artistic commissions during this period were destroyed by Napoleon's troops, who stabled horses in the Upper Church of the Basilica, so scholars have debated the attribution to Giotto. In the absence of documentary evidence to the contrary, it has been convenient to ascribe every fresco in the Upper Church, not by Cimabue to Giotto, whose prestige has overshadowed that of every contemporary. An early biographical source, Riccobaldo Ferrarese, mentions that Giotto painted at Assisi but does not specify the St Francis Cycle: "What kind of art made is testified to by works done by him in the Franciscan churches at Assisi, Padua..." Since the idea was put forward by the German art historian, Friedrich Rintelen in 1912, many scholars have expressed doubt that Giotto was the author of the Upper Church frescoes. Without documentation, arguments on the attribution have relied upon connoisseurship, a notoriously unreliable "science", but technical examinations and comparisons of the workshop painting processes at Assisi and Padua in 2002 have provided strong evidence that Giotto did not paint the St. Francis Cycle.
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