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Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

Sanda Miller

(b Hobitza, Gorj, Feb 19, 1876; d Paris, March 16, 1957).

French sculptor, draughtsman, painter, and photographer of Romanian birth. He was one of the most influential 20th-century sculptors, but he left a relatively small body of work centred on 215 sculptures, of which about 50 are thought to have been lost or destroyed.

The fifth of seven children of a family of peasants, he left his tiny village c. 1887 for Slatina, after which he made his way to Craiova, the provincial capital of Oltenia. There he became a student at the School of Arts and Crafts in 1894. Mechanical technology, industrial design, mathematics, and physics figured prominently on his syllabus with some theoretical studies. He did not, therefore, receive a traditional academic training in sculpture; in fact he began studying at the newly founded Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, but even there instruction was still at an experimental stage, particularly in sculpture.

Brancusi is thought to have been prolific in his student years in Craiova. Various objects subsequently discovered on the premises of his old school have been attributed to him, some of them perhaps as collaborations with other fellow students, including a walnut casket (Craiova, Maria C. S. Nicolǎescu-Plopşor priv. col., see Brezianu, ...

Article

Mattie Boom

(b Rotterdam, Sept 12, 1857; d Amsterdam, June 5, 1923).

Dutch painter and photographer. He trained as a painter and draughtsman at the academy in The Hague. Although the Dutch painter Charles Rochussen taught the students history and landscape painting, Breitner’s interests did not lie in this area. In 1880 he worked for a year in the studio of Willem Maris after his academy training. Maris belonged to the Hague school of painters, who worked in the plein-air tradition of the French Barbizon school. Breitner painted outdoor life with them, although it was not the picturesqueness of the landscape or the Dutch skies that appealed to him. With Van Gogh he roamed the working-class districts of The Hague and through the dockyards of Rotterdam. Both artists recorded the vitality of city life in their sketchbooks. Breitner consciously chose these themes and motifs: he wanted to paint people going about their daily lives, and on his trips through the towns and docks he was constantly in search of motifs and impressions that he could use in his paintings....

Article

Christina Lodder

revised by Benjamin Benus

Avant-garde tendency in 20th-century painting, sculpture, photography, design and architecture, with associated developments in literature, theatre and film. The term was first coined by artists in Russia in early 1921 and achieved wide international currency in the 1920s. Russian Constructivism refers specifically to a group of artists who sought to move beyond the autonomous art object, extending the formal language of abstract art into practical design work. This development was prompted by the utopian climate following the October Revolution of 1917, which led artists to seek to create a new visual environment, embodying the social needs and values of the new Communist order. The concept of International Constructivism defines a broader current in European art, most vital from around 1922 until the end of the 1920s, that was centred primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. International Constructivists were inspired by the Russian example, both artistically and politically. They continued, however, to work in the traditional artistic media of painting and sculpture, while also experimenting with film and photography and recognizing the potential of the new formal language for utilitarian design. The term Constructivism has frequently been used since the 1920s, in a looser fashion, to evoke a continuing tradition of geometric abstract art that is ‘constructed’ from autonomous visual elements such as lines and planes, and characterized by such qualities as precision, impersonality, a clear formal order, simplicity and economy of organization and the use of contemporary materials such as plastic and metal....

Article

Silvia Lucchesi

[Marius Pictor]

(b Bologna, Sept 8, 1852; d Venice, March 18, 1924).

Italian painter, photographer, architect and illustrator. He trained initially as a musician and only later became a painter, studying (1872–8) at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna under the history and portrait painter Antonio Puccinelli (1822–97). He made several short trips to Paris and London before moving to Rome where he became friends with Vincenzo Cabianca (1827–1902), a plein-air painter, and joined the group founded by Nino Costa, In Arte Libertas (see Rome, §III, 7). He made his name in 1885 when he exhibited 18 paintings at the group’s first exhibition. In the 1880s he experimented with photography, and in certain cases photographs acted as preliminary stages for his paintings. In 1892 he settled definitively in Venice and two years later adopted the pseudonym ‘Marius Pictor’. His work expressed the romantic and literary climate of the fin-de-siècle, and his painting is linked with the work of such writers as Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe. De Maria’s work derives from flower painting and from the painting of Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps; brushstrokes are carefully built up, and rough, chalky colour is thickly applied. He was extremely skilful in his manipulation of colour and light to express the richness of his imagination. He liked to create evocative images and to represent the most fantastic and unusual aspects of nature, as in the famous painting the ...

Article

Diorama  

Pieter van der Merwe

[Gk: ‘through view’]

Large-scale, illusionistic form of transparency painting, developed in 1821–2 as a public entertainment by the French scenic artist and pioneer of photography Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, in association with the architectural painter Charles-Marie Bouton (1781–1853); also the special building in which it was shown. Like the earlier Panorama, the diorama was a late step in the history of attempts to recreate the appearance of nature by means of painting and the mechanical regulation of light. Daguerre’s subsequent progression from the diorama to photography marks the vital change of medium by which this aim was eventually achieved in the form of cinematography. Daguerre’s device consisted of a fine cloth painted with landscape subjects such as mountains and evocative ruins, in a manner exploiting popular taste for the Sublime and the picturesque. The solid features of the paintings were executed in opaque colour, but transparent tints were used for the effects of atmosphere, weather, and time of day. The audience sat in near-darkness: the pictures were shown by means of daylight admitted through windows concealed both above the spectators and behind the intervening cloth and regulated by a system of shutters and coloured filtering screens. Light reflected off the front of the cloth was modified by light transmitted through it to produce effects ranging from sunshine to thick fog. Daguerre’s oil painting ...

Article

Ester Coen and John Musgrove

Italian movement, literary in origin, that grew to embrace painting, sculpture, photography and architecture, which was launched by the publication on 20 February 1909 of ‘Le Futurisme’ by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Marinetti’s intention was to reject the past, to revolutionize culture and make it more modern. The new ideology of Futurism set itself with violent enthusiasm against the weighty inheritance of an art tied to the Italian cultural tradition and exalted the idea of an aesthetic generated by the modern myth of the machine and of speed.

Marinetti laid the foundations of the new literary poetics in his first manifesto, written in late 1908. Every new creation or action, he wrote, was now based on the ‘beauty of speed’; museums, libraries, ‘venerated’ cities and academies had to be destroyed, as they belonged to traditional culture. An art born of progress was now to take the place of all the artistic forms of the past, even the most recent ones, because they were stale and static. These words were immediately taken up by a group of young painters based in Milan—...

Article

Dennis Radford

(b Dresden, Oct 16, 1813; d Stellenbosch, Oct 8, 1898).

German architect, builder, painter and photographer, active in South Africa. He showed a talent for drawing at an early age. In 1825 he entered the Akademie der Künste, Dresden, to study architecture, qualifying in 1829. He emigrated to Cape Town in 1838. His first commission in 1840 was the new Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary, Cape Town, undertaken with his partner Carel Sparmann, which was an unsuccessful venture. Hager then moved to Stellenbosch living principally by portrait painting (examples in Stellenbosch Mus.). It was not until 1854 that his next building, the Lutheran Church, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, was built. Only in 1863, however, did he receive his first major commission, the remodelling of the Dutch Reformed Church, Stellenbosch. This involved the addition of a large nave, aisles and tower to the existing cruciform church. All the additions were strongly Gothic Revival in character, and the rest of the church was given a Gothic appearance. It would be an exaggeration to claim that it was Hager who introduced the Gothic style into Dutch Reformed churches, but it can be said that he introduced a purer strain of the Revival, although this was still far from ‘correct’. The church at Stellenbosch differs most from previous attempts to Gothicize Dutch Reformed churches in the tower, which has triple-stage base tracery windows surmounted by a broach spire. The open Gothic trussed roof marks its first appearance in Dutch Reformed churches. In ...

Article

Gjergj Frashëri

[Nikollë]

(b Shkodër, Aug 15, 1860; d Shkodër, Dec 12, 1939).

Albanian painter, architect, sculptor and photographer. His grandfather Andrea Idromeno was a painter and a doctor of theology; his father, Arsen Idromeno, was a furniture designer and painter. Kol Idromeno took private lessons in painting (1871–5) at the studio of the photographer and painter Pietro Marubi (1834–1903). In 1875 he won a competition and began studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice. However, due to arguments with his teacher, he abandoned the school and continued his studies in one of the large studios in Venice (1876–8).

At first Idromeno produced works with both religious and secular themes that were noted for their highly realistic rendering of the human form (e.g. St Mary Magdalene, oil on canvas, 1877; Shkodër Mus.). Many of his biblical works were executed in churches within the Shkodër district, with perhaps his best work being the frescoes of the Orthodox Church in Shkodër, especially the fragment depicting ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Tirza Latimer

[Markovitch, Henriette Theodora]

b Paris, Nov 22, 1907; d Paris, July 16, 1997

French photographer and painter. Maar’s father was Croatian and her mother was from La Touraine in western France. She grew up in Argentina, where her father practised architecture, and was repatriated in 1926 to study at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, Ecole de Photographie and the Académie Julien in Paris. In the early 1930s she set up her first photography studio with her collaborator, Pierre Kéfer, sharing the darkroom with Georges Brassaï.

Maar was closely associated with the Surrealists in the mid-1930s, signing political tracts, taking photographs of the movement’s members and exhibiting in group exhibitions. She was seeing Georges Bataille when, in 1936, the poet Paul Eluard introduced her to Pablo Picasso at the Café Deux Magots. Picasso was apparently intrigued by her dark beauty, her edginess, her theatricality and her violence. According to Françoise Gilot: ‘She was wearing black gloves with little pink flowers appliquéd on them. She took off the gloves and picked up a long, pointed knife, which she began to drive into the table between her outstretched fingers to see how close she could come to each finger without actually cutting herself. From time to time she missed by a fraction of an inch and before she stopped playing with the knife, her hand was covered with blood’ (Gilot, pp. 85-6). Picasso, playing the scene out to its fullest, later enshrined the bloody gloves for display in his apartment. Picasso described Maar as his ‘weeping woman’ and painted her obsessively for almost a decade. She sat for portraits that included ...

Article

(b London, April 19, 1910; d Malden, Essex, March 11, 2005).

English photographer, painter and textile designer. He studied architecture at the Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg, in Germany (1927–8) and at the Architectural Association School in London (1929–34). During his time in Germany he absorbed the influence of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement and of photographic developments in illustrated journals such as the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung and Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung. Though largely self-taught, he did learn photographic techniques from his brother Michael Spender, an employee of the Leitz camera factory. Among other jobs he worked as a commercial and portrait photographer (1934–9), and as a staff photographer for the Daily Mirror (1936–8) and for Picture Post (1946–9). From its foundation in 1937 until 1939 he was the official photographer for the Mass Observation project, which brought together painters, poets, social scientists and film makers to record the details of everyday British life. During the project Spender worked with a concealed camera so that the scenes he captured were entirely natural, as in ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

(b Warsaw, Feb 24, 1885; d Jeziory, Polesie, Sept 17, 1939).

Polish writer, art theorist, painter and photographer . He was the son of the architect, painter and critic Stanisław Witkiewicz (1851–1915), creator of the ‘Zakopane style’ ( see Poland, Republic of §II 3. ). He spent his childhood in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains and was educated at his family home, a place frequented by artists and intellectuals, and also through his many travels to Eastern and Western Europe. From his wide acquaintance with contemporary art, he was particularly impressed by the paintings of Arnold Böcklin. Witkiewicz’s often interrupted studies (1904–10) under Józef Mehoffer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków had less influence than his lessons in Zakopane and Brittany with Władysław Slewiński, who introduced him to the principles of Gauguin’s Synthetism. Witkiewicz abandoned the naturalism of his first landscapes, executed under the influence of his father, rejected linear perspective and modelling and began to use flat, well-contoured forms and vivid colours, as in ...