DEATH: 1986 O'KEEFFE
BIRTH: 1475 MICHELANGELO
on 06 March 1986: Georgia O'Keeffe,
in Santa Fe ^top^
Georgia O'Keeffe was an artist who gained worldwide fame for her austere minimalist paintings of the US Southwest. Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on 15 November 1887, O'Keefe grew up in Virginia and first studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. Initially, she embraced a highly abstracted, urban style of art. She later moved to New York where she thrived within the growing community of abstract expressionists. Beginning in 1912, though, she began spending time in Texas and she became the head of the art department at the West Texas State Normal College in 1916. O'Keeffe's time in Texas sparked her enduring fascination with the stark and powerful western landscape. She began to paint more representational images that drew on the natural forms of the canyons and plains that surrounded her. O'Keeffe's paintings of cow skulls and calla lilies gained particular attention and won her an enthusiastic audience.
Her marriage to the New York art dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz brought O'Keeffe back to the northeast. For a decade, she divided her time between New York City and the couple's home in Lake George, New York. In 1919, O'Keeffe made a brief visit to the small New Mexican village of Taos, and she returned for a longer stay in 1929. Attracted to the clear desert light and snow-capped mountains, she began returning to New Mexico every summer to paint. O'Keeffe found a vibrant and supportive community among the artists that had been flocking to Taos and Santa Fe since the 1890s.
After Stieglitz died in 1949, O'Keeffe permanently relocated to Abiquiu, New Mexico. There she continued to produce her hauntingly simple images of the southwestern land she loved. By the time she died in 1986, O'Keeffe was considered one of the preeminent artists of the American West and had inspired legions of imitators.
Georgia O'Keeffe was an abstract painter, famous for the purity and lucidity of her still-life compositions. She was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Art Students League of New York. She taught art in Texas from 1913 to 1918. In 1916 the US photographer and art gallery director Alfred Stieglitz (whom she married in 1924) became interested in her abstract drawings and exhibited them at “291,” his gallery in New York City. Her work was shown annually in Stieglitz's galleries until his death and was widely exhibited in other important institutions.
O'Keeffe, who moved to New Mexico in 1949, is best known for her large paintings of desert flowers and scenery, in which single blossoms or objects such as a cow's skull are presented in close-up views. Although O'Keeffe handles her subject matter representationally, the starkly linear quality, the thin, clear coloring, and the boldly patterned compositions produce abstract designs. A number of her works have an abstracted effect, the flower paintings in particular — such as Black Iris (1926)—in which the details of the flower are so enlarged that they become unfamiliar and surprising. In the 1960s, inspired by a series of airplane flights, O'Keeffe introduced motifs of sky and clouds, as seen from the air, into her paintings. One of her largest works is the mural Sky above Clouds (1965), which is 7.3 m wide.
Blue and Green Music (1919) Red Canna (1923) Grey Line with Black, Blue and Yellow (1923) Light Iris (1924) Two Jimson Weeds With Green Leaves And Blue Sky (1925) Oriental Poppies (1927) Two Calla Lillies on Pink (1928) Black Cross, New Mexico (1929) Horse's Skull on Blue (1930) Cow's Skull With Calico Roses (1931) Sunflower, New Mexico I (1935) The Shell (1934) Cebolla Church (1945) Sky Above White Clouds I (1962) The Lawrence Tree
Shell # 1 (1928, 18x18cm) Jack-in-the-Pulpit #2 Jack-in-the-Pulpit #3 Jack-in-the-Pulpit #4 Jack-in-the-Pulpit #5 (1930) Jack-in-the-Pulpit #6 Jack-in-the-Pulpit (1933) Summer Days 1936 Radiator Building Gray Tree
Cottonwood III (1944, 50x74cm) [with commentary]
on 06 March 1475 Michelangelo
pittore, scultore, architetto e poeta [Rime]
(Miguel Angel Buonarroti, arquitecto, escultor y pintor italiano renacentista)
Nato da genitori fiorentini, a 13 anni fu a Firenze nella bottega del Ghirlandaio, poi nella scuola di S. Marco con Bertoldo, l'allievo di Donatello. Prima dei vent'anni sperimentò nel marmo ogni tecnica antica e contemporanea. In due opere giovanili, la Madonna della Scala e la Lotta dei Centauri coi Lapiti, manifestò già i caratteri del suo stile: il creare nel marmo per via di levare, il concepire in grande, il contrapporre a masse in ombra altre in vivida luce.
Dopo aver visto opere di J. della Quercia a Bologna, scolpisce a Roma, nel 1497, la "Pietà". Con il "David", il tondo del Bargello e il "S. Matteo" (1504), di cui -il non finito- accresce la suggestività, termina il periodo giovanile. A 30 anni Giulio II lo incaricò del suo Mausoleo in S. Pietro. Quest'opera, che gli era carissima e che mai ebbe modo di realizzare, costituì un motivo di tormento per tutta la vita di Michelangelo.
I contrasti con i Della Rovere ebbero termine soltanto con Paolo III, quando si collocò la tomba in S. Pietro in Vincoli, con una sola statua realizzata dall'artista: il Mosè. Gli "Schiavi", sono le cariatidi realizzate per il Mausoleo. Riconciliatosi con Papa Giulio, a Michelangelo, che poco aveva operato nella pittura ("Madonna Doni", cartoni per la Battaglia di Cascina) fu richiesto di dipingere in affresco la volta della Cappella Sistina. Si accinse all'opera di mala voglia, e in 4 anni (1508-12) realizzò questo capolavoro composto da 9 riquadri (dal "Caos" alla "Creazione dell'uomo", dal "Peccato" al "Diluvio" e al "Noè ebbro") e da 8 timpani posti tra le 12 nicchie monumentali, con le figure dei Profeti e delle Sibille, dei Pargoli e degli Ignudi.
Dopo questa grande fatica, un insieme di eventi (la tomba di Giulio, mai fatta; la facciata di S. Lorenzo in Firenze, mai posta in opera, l'incomprensione di Leone X, le mura apprestate per la difesa di Firenze, rese vane dal tradimento) incupì l'animo dell'artista. Ne sono visibili testimonianze le statue de "L'Aurora" e del "Crepuscolo" (1525), del "Giorno" e della "Notte" (1526) poste sulle arche di Giuliano e Lorenzo de' Medici. Tali statue, risolte nell'architettura della Sacrestia Nuova di S. Lorenzo da M. stesso attuata per volere di Clemente VII, mostrano l'apice raggiunto nella espressione plastica, e la sfiducia nell'umano operare.
Finì con lo scolpire soltanto per sé. Le tre "Pietà", quella di Palestrina (Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze), di Firenze (Duomo) e Rondanini (Milano, Castello), realizzate per la sua tomba, nel silenzio della casa a Macel de' Corvi presso la colonna Traiana, quelle "Pietà" che non lo accontentarono mai, sulle quali lavorò sino a poco prima di morire, dimostrano quanto la sua scultura maturasse e cambiasse insieme a lui, con gli eventi della vita, con il passare degli anni. Solo nella "Madonna dei Medici" il reclinarsi e il risolversi di ogni atto della mesta Madre per la vita del Pargolo, di un gagliardo freschissimo modellato, ci riporta alla speranza.
Nel 1534, esule volontario dalla patria asservita, Michelangelo si stabilisce a Roma e vi rimane fino alla morte (1564). Nell' "Epistolario" si rammarica continuamente di così lunga vita, ma quello che fa e dice è un preludio all'arte del domani, in una essenzialità romantica che ritroviamo nelle fabbriche del Borromini, nelle sculture di A. Rodin e, prosegue quella pittoricità plastica di cui si sostanziano il cielo e il suolo di Roma, dalle Fondamenta alla Cupola di S. Pietro, dal cornicione del Palazzo Farnese alla Piazza del Campidoglio, da S. Maria degli Angeli a Porta Pia.
Il Maderno, il Bernini e particolarmente il Borromini s'ispireranno alla sua opera per legarvi il meglio del barocco. Anche nella poesia, quando l'istinto lo libera di forza dal petrarchismo, il suo verso si fa di plastico vigore, si sostanzia di sillabe che dicono oltre il cantato e il disporre metrico. Oggi si parla di Michelangelo come del maggior poeta lirico del Cinquecento. Si spense a 89 anni, all'Avemaria del 18 febbraio 1564. Un mese dopo, la salma, rapita dai concittadini, come avveniva nel Medioevo per le reliquie dei santi, entrava a Firenze e con solenni esequie la si poneva in Santa Croce.
I recenti restauri della volta della Sistina (1989-91) e del "Giudizio Universale" (1990-94), hanno fatto emergere nuovi ed inaspettati elementi che hanno posto in una luce totalmente diversa la pittura michelangiolesca. Se la plasticità dei corpi, così simili a figure scolpite più che dipinte, è stata ulteriormente evidenziata dall'opera di pulitura, la rimozione dello strato secolare che ricopriva l'affresco, (polvere, condensazione del fumo delle candele, e, soprattutto, le diverse mani di colla che sono state stese nel tempo per ravvivare i colori ma che, col tempo, hanno ottenuto solo il risultato di formare una patina scura sull'opera), ha rivelato una luminosità ed un cromatismo inaspettati e del tutto differenti da quelli da sempre attribuiti al maestro fiorentino.
Il tripudio di colori acidi e chiari, la drastica rimozione delle ombre, hanno infatti avvicinato la pittura di M. a quella manierista, facendo così dell'artista, a dispetto della tradizione, il primo di quei pittori -di maniera- che, negli anni immediatamente successivi, avrebbero dato vita al fenomeno del Manierismo. ^top^
Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, is born in the small village of Caprese.
The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist's apprentice at age 13. Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de' Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. For two years beginning in 1490, he lived in the Medici palace, where he was a student of the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni and studied the Medici art collection, which included ancient Roman statuary.
With the expulsion of the Medici family from Florence in 1494, Michelangelo traveled to Bologna and Rome, where he was commissioned to do several works. His most important early work was the Pietà (1498), a sculpture based on a traditional type of devotional image that showed the body of Christ in the lap of the Virgin Mary. Demonstrating masterful technical skill, he extracted the two perfectly balanced figures of the Pietà from a single block of marble.
With the success of the Pietà, the artist was commissioned to sculpt a monumental statue of the biblical character David for the Florence cathedral. The 17-foot statue, produced in the classical style, demonstrates the artist's exhaustive knowledge of human anatomy and form. In the work, David is shown watching the approach of his foe Goliath, with every muscle tensed and a pose suggesting impending movement. Upon the completion of David in 1504, Michelangelo's reputation was firmly established.
That year, he agreed to paint a mural for the Florence city hall to rest alongside one being painted by Leonardo da Vinci, another leading Renaissance artist and an influence on Michelangelo. These murals, which depicted military scenes, have not survived. In 1505, he began work on a planned group of 12 marble apostles for the Florence cathedral but abandoned the project when he was commissioned to design and sculpt a massive tomb for Pope Julius II in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. There were to have been 40 sculptures made for the tomb, but the pope soon ran out of funds for the project, and Michelangelo left Rome.
In 1508, he was called back to Rome to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel--the chief consecrated space in the Vatican. Michelangelo's epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works. Central in a complex system of decoration featuring numerous figures are nine panels devoted to biblical world history. The most famous of these is The Creation of Adam, a painting in which the arms of God and Adam are outstretched toward each other.
In 1512, Michelangelo completed the Sistine Chapel ceiling and returned to his work on Pope Julius II's tomb. He eventually completed a total of just three statues for the tomb, which was eventually placed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli. The most notable of the three is Moses (1513-15), a majestic statue made from a block of marble regarded as unmalleable by other sculptors. In Moses, as in David, Michelangelo infused the stone with a powerful sense of tension and movement.
Having revolutionized European sculpture and painting, Michelangelo turned to architecture in the latter half of his life. His first major architectural achievement was the Medici chapel in the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, built to house the tombs of the two young Medici family heirs who had recently died. The chapel, which he worked on until 1534, featured many innovative architectural forms based on classical models. The Laurentian Library, which he built as an annex to the same church, is notable for its stair-hall, known as the ricetto, which is regarded as the first instance of mannerism as an architectural style. Mannerism, a successor to the Renaissance artistic movement, subverted harmonious classical forms in favor of expressiveness.
In 1534, Michelangelo left Florence for the last time and traveled to Rome, where he would work and live for the rest of his life. That year saw his painting of the The Last Judgment on a wall above the altar in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul III. The massive painting depicts Christ's damnation of sinners and blessing of the virtuous, and is regarded as a masterpiece of early mannerism. During the last three decades of his life, Michelangelo lent his talents to the design of numerous monuments and buildings for Rome, which the pope and city leaders were determined to restore to the grandeur of its ancient past. The Capitoline Square and the dome of St. Peter's, designed by Michelangelo but not completed in his lifetime, remain two of Rome's most famous visual landmarks.
Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost. He was also an accomplished poet, and some 300 of his poems are preserved. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe's greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music.