Thomas Rowlandson

Thomas Rowlandson was an English artist and caricaturist of the Georgian Era, noted for his political satire and social observation. A prolific artist and printmaker, Rowlandson produced a wide variety of illustrations for novels, joke books, topographical works. Like other contemporary pre-Victorian caricaturists like James Gillray, he too depicted characters in bawdy postures and he produced erotica, censured by the 1840s, his caricatures included those of people in power such as the Duchess of Devonshire, William Pitt and Napoleon Bonaparte. Rowlandson was born in the City of London, he was baptised on 23 July 1757 at London to William and Mary Rowlandson. The baptismal record for ST Mary, now in the London archives gives his birth-date as 13 July 1757, not 1756 as given in most earlier biographies, his father, had been a weaver, but had moved into trading supplies for the textile industry and after overextending himself was declared bankrupt in 1759. Life became difficult for him in London and, in late 1759, he moved his family to Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Thomas's uncle James died in 1764, his widow Jane provided both the funds and accommodation which allowed Thomas to attend school in London. Rowlandson was educated at the school of Dr Barvis in Soho Square "an academy of some celebrity," where one of his classmates was Richard Burke, son of the politician Edmund Burke; as a schoolboy, Rowlandson "drew humourous characters of his master and many of his scholars before he was ten years old," covering the margins of his schoolbooks with his artwork. In 1765 or 1766 he started at the Soho Academy. There is no documentary evidence that Rowlandson took drawing classes at the business-oriented school, but it seems as on leaving school in 1772, he became a student at the Royal Academy. According to his obituary of 22 April 1827 in The Gentleman's Magazine, Rowlandson was sent to Paris at the age of 16, spent two years studying in a "drawing academy." There. In Paris he studied drawing "the human figure" and continued developing his youthful skill in caricature.

It was on his return to London that he took classes at the Royal Academy based at Somerset House. Rowlandson spent six years studying at the Royal Academy, but about a third of this time was spent in Paris where he may have studied under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, he made frequent tours to the Continent, enriching his portfolios with numerous sketches of life and character. In 1775 he exhibited a drawing of Dalilah Payeth Sampson a Visit while in Prison at Gaza at the Royal Academy and two years received a silver medal for a bas-relief figure, he was spoken of as a promising student. On the death of his aunt, he inherited £7,000 with which he plunged into the dissipations of the town and was known to sit at the gaming-table for 36 hours at a stretch. In time poverty overtook him, his drawing of Vauxhall, shown in the Royal Academy exhibition of 1784, had been engraved by Pollard, the print was a success. Rowlandson was employed by Rudolph Ackermann, the art publisher, who in 1809—issued in his Poetical Magazine The Schoolmaster's Tour—a series of plates with illustrative verses by Dr. William Combe.

They were the most popular of the artist's works. Again engraved by Rowlandson himself in 1812, issued under the title of the Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque, they had attained a fifth edition by 1813, were followed in 1820 by Dr Syntax in Search of Consolation, in 1821 by the Third Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of a Wife, he produced a body of erotic prints and woodcuts. The same collaboration of designer and publisher appeared in the English Dance of Death, issued in 1814–16 and in the Dance of Life, 1817. Rowlandson illustrated Smollett and Sterne, his designs will be found in The Spirit of the Public Journals, The English Spy, The Humorist. Rowlandson's designs were done in outline with the reed-pen, delicately washed with colour, they were etched by the artist on the copper, afterwards aquatinted—usually by a professional engraver, the impressions being coloured by hand. As a designer he was characterised by his ease of draughtsmanship, he dealt less with politics than his fierce contemporary, but touching, in a rather gentle spirit, the various aspects and incidents of social life.

His most artistic work is to be found among the more careful drawings of his earlier period. His work included a personification of the United Kingdom named John Bull, developed from about 1790 in conjunction with other British satirical artists such as Gillray and George Cruikshank, he produced many works depicting the characters involved in election campaigns and race meetings. However, his satirical works of London's street life such as the "pleasure gardens at Vauxhall, jostling with soldiers, students and society beauties," which exhibit acute social observation and commentary are amongst his finest. Rowlandson's caricatures include those on the medical profession which developed through his friendship with John Wolcot around 1778, he earned money illustrating books of physicians and quacks. In life, he produced caricatures on medical themes, his patron and friend Matthew Michell collected hundreds of his paintings which Michell displayed at his country residence, Grove House in Enfield, Middlesex

Diana and Her Companions

Diana and Her Companions is a painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer completed in the early to mid-1650s, now at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. Although the exact year is unknown, the work may be the earliest painting of the artist still extant, with some art historians placing it before Christ in the House of Martha and Mary and some after; the painting's solemn mood is unusual for a scene depicting the goddess Diana, the nymph washing the central figure's feet has captured the attention of critics and historians, both for her activity and contemporary clothing. Rather than directly illustrating one of the dramatic moments in well-known episodes from myths about Diana, the scene shows a woman and her attendants at her toilette; the theme of a woman in a private, reflective moment would grow stronger in Vermeer's paintings as his career progressed. Nothing of the work's history before the mid-19th century is known, the painting was not accepted as one of Vermeer's until the early 20th century, when its similarities with Mary and Martha were noticed.

About one ninth of the painting's width has been removed from the right side, it was not discovered until 1999 or 2000 was that the sky in the upper right-hand corner had been added in the 19th century. The painting depicts the Greek and Roman goddess Diana with four of her companions, she wears a loose fitting, yellow dress with an animal-skin sash and, on her head, a diadem with a symbol of the crescent moon. As she sits on a rock, a nymph washes her left foot. Another, behind Diana, sits with her bare back to the viewer, a third nymph, sitting at Diana's left, holds her own left foot with her right hand. A fourth stands in the rear, somewhat apart from the rest of the group and facing them and the viewer at an angle, her eyes cast down, her fists in front of her. A dog sits in the lower left-hand corner near Diana, its back to the viewer as it faces the goddess, her attendants and in front of it, a thistle. Except for the woman whose face is turned away from the viewer, all of the other faces in the painting are to one degree or another in shadow, including that of the dog.

None of the women look at each other, each absorbed in their own thoughts, a fact which contributes to the solemn mood of the piece. In 1999-2000, when the painting underwent restoration work and was cleaned, it was discovered that an area of blue sky in the upper right corner had been added in the 19th century. Numerous reproductions up to that time had included the blue sky. Restorers covered over the patch with foliage to approximate the original image; the canvas had been trimmed on the right, where about 15 cm was removed. Descriptions of the scene being in a "woodland glade" or "near the edge of a wood" may rely on the patch of sky erroneously thought to be original to the painting, although light without shadows does fall on the scene from above and to the left, with short shadows forming to the viewer's right; the observation that the scene appeared to be taking place in "the gathering dusk" may have been influenced by the lighter, but darkening patch of sky contrasted with the dark mass of foliage in the background of the painting, together with the shadows on all the visible faces.

The painting is signed on the rock between the thistle and the dog. The canvas is a plain weave linen with a thread count of 14.3 by 10 per square centimeter. Vermeer first outlined the composition with dark brown brushwork (some of which shows through as pentimenti in the skirt of the woman washing Diana's foot. Hairs on the dog's ear were scratched in with the handle of the artist's brush. Paint has been lost in vertical lines left of the painting's center. According to Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. the painting "has no visual precedent". As a depiction of Diana, the painting is notable in part for what it does not depict—neither Actaeon catching sight of Diana and her nymphs bathing nor the actual moment when Callisto's pregnancy is revealed, both popular themes in mannerist painting in the early 17th century. Nor does the artist show Diana's hot temper or her harsh reactions to those episodes; the goddess's ability as a huntress is not signalled by bows and arrows. The dog is depicted as a gentle animal, not like the fast hounds seen in paintings of Diana.

Nor does the painting use Diana as an allegorical portrait, a tradition for which had developed by the mid-17th century, with identifiable women depicted as the goddess, a symbol of chastity. An example of this tradition is Diana and Her Nymphs, painted by Jacob van Loo in Amsterdam around 1648, about seven or eight years before Vermeer's work. (Vermeer's Diana has been compared to van Loo's. In van Loo's painting, Diana sits in a forest clearing with a small group of companions, but the mood is different; the similarities between Vermeer's painting and Rembrandt's style are close enough that the work was attributed to Rembrandt's student, Nicolaes Maes when auctioned in 1876. Vermeer's signature on the painting had been altered, making it look like Maes'. During a restoration the original signature of J. v. Meer was faintly discernible, though this was ascribed to the Utrecht artist Johannes van der Meet. Vermeer is known to have incorporated other artists' ideas and the poses in which they depict subjects.

Some features of Diana share the techniques of Rembrandt. Diana's stout figure is much like those in Rembrandt's work, Vermeer used thick impasto brushwork following the lines of the folds of her clothing, as Rembrandt did. Like Rembrandt, Vermeer cast the faces of the group in shadows, which gives a mo

This Is Me (Randy Travis album)

This Is Me is the ninth studio album by country music star Randy Travis, was released on April 26, 1994 by Warner Bros.. Producer Kyle Lehning, A&R Martha Sharp considered more than 1,000 songs before settling on the final ten; the tracks "Before You Kill Us All", "Whisper My Name", "This Is Me", "The Box" were all released as singles, peaking at #2, #1, #5, #8 on the Billboard country music charts. "Small Y'all" was recorded by George Jones on his 1998 album It Don't Get Any Better Than This. "Honky Tonky Side of Town" - 3:09 "Before You Kill Us All" - 3:24 "That's Where I Draw the Line" - 3:20 "Whisper My Name" - 3:11 "Small Y'all" - 2:55 "Runaway Train" - 3:22 "This Is Me" - 3:26 "The Box" - 3:21 "Gonna Walk That Line" - 3:19 "Oscar the Angel" - 4:25