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Leonardo da Vici was born on 15 April 1452 in the town of Vinci, the illegitimate son of the notary Ser Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman called Caterina. His childhood spent in the Tuscan countryside inspired in him a life-long passion for the observation and depiction of nature.When he was seventeen, he moved to Florence, where his talent for drawing impressed the great master Verrocchio who took him on as a pupil.Leonardo da Vinci worked for such powerful patrons as Ludovico da Sforza, Duke of Milan; Cesare Borgia; Cardinal Giuliano de Medici, brother of Leon X; and for the French king Francois I at Amboise, where he died in 1519.
It has become fashionable to speak of 'Leonardo the artist' and 'Leonardo the scientist' as if he had been some schizophrenic genius torn between two disparate pursuits and therefore rarely, if ever, able to accomplish anything in either. But Leonardo's own contemporaries, though impatient of his volatility, master himself such a dichotomy would have been incomprehensible. To say that as 'a man of the Renaissance' he believed that a painter needed the aid of anatomy, perspective, optics and so forth is not a proper answer. In fact, these alleged 'scientific' studies of Renaissance artists were a fashion confined to a small circle. In any case, Michelangelo and Raphael to name only two outstanding examples - did not share these interests but were great artists nonetheless. Leonardo's inquiries were rooted in his personality, not in some tendency of the age, and many of his notes and drawings having nothing to do with the tasks awaiting painters of his time. They are not a vast store from which to draw raw materials for his art, nor was his art simply a finely distilled compound of observations and imagination.
In fact, many of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings are different from those of his contemporaries and those by artists from any other period. Of course, there are among them rapid sketches from life, portraits, quick notes for compositions, elaborate cartoons, drapery studies, designs for machines, buildings, drawings of plants and animals, anatomical and proportion studies. But it is their nature which is so often peculiar. The plans of buildings grow before our eyes like the cells of some organism, plants appear on the same sheet both in bud and in flower, trees are drawn schematically to demonstrate the principle of growth, there is a drawing of the peaceful Arno valley, and there are the cataclysmic visions of utter physical destruction of the world. The grotesque heads - to call them caricatures is a misnomer - are combinations and variations of human forms creating a morphological sequence of types. The anatomical drawings demonstrate not only the position of muscles and tendons or the bone structure, they also show the embryo in its mother's womb and a bare skull, - the beginning and end of life. All these drawings are concerned not just with the collection of visual data useful to the painter but with the processes of life, with growth and decay, whether in plants, beast, man, or the world at large. The same is true of Leonardo's designs for his various mechanical contrivances which are so often engines of construction or destruction.
Leonardo da Vinci's notes should be considered in the same context. It is perhaps a pity that we have got used to thinking of them as if they had been written in preparation for some comprehensive treatise on painting. But it should be remembered that the huge manuscript known as Trattato della Pittura is not a autograph. It was compiled in the sixteenth century, probably by Francesco Melzi, from no less then eighteen of the original notebooks. The result certainly is a labor of love, but nevertheless this gathering divided into eight chapters is too rigid, too much like a textbook to reveal Leonardo da Vinci's truly dynamic nature...
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Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dal i Domnech, 1st Marqus de Dal de Pubol (May 11, 1904 January 23, 1989), known as Salvador Dal (Catalan pronunciation: [səɫβəˈo əˈɫi]), was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Spain.
Dal was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dal's expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.
Dal attributed his "love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes" to a self-styled "Arab lineage", claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.
Dal was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.
In 1931, Dal painted one of his most famous works, The Persistence of Memory, which introduced a surrealistic image of soft, melting pocket watches. The general interpretation of the work is that the soft watches are a rejection of the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic. This idea is supported by other images in the work, such as the wide expanding landscape, and other limp watches shown being devoured by ants.
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Tattooing has been practiced for centuries in many cultures, particularly in Asia, and spread throughout the world. The Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan, traditionally had facial tattoos. Today, one can find Atayal of Taiwan, Berbers of Tamazgha (North Africa), Hausa people of Northern Nigeria, Kurdish people in East-Turkey, and Māori of New Zealand with facial tattoos.
Tattooing was widespread among Polynesians and among certain tribal groups in Africa, Borneo, Cambodia, Europe, Japan, the Mentawai Islands, MesoAmerica, New Zealand, North America and South America, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Indeed, the island of Great Britain takes its name from tattooing; Britons translates as "people of the designs", and Picts, the peoples who originally inhabited the northern part of Britain, literally means "the painted people". Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the practice continues to be popular in many parts of the world.
Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times. tzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BC, was found in the tz valley in the Alps and had some 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. These tattoos were thought to be a form of healing because of their placement, which resembles acupuncture. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered, such as the Mummy of Amunet from ancient Egypt and the mummies at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau.
Pre-Christian Germanic, Celtic and other central and northern European tribes were often heavily tattooed, according to surviving accounts. The Picts were famously tattooed (or scarified) with elaborate, war-inspired black or dark blue woad (or possibly copper for the blue tone) designs. Julius Caesar described these tattoos in Book V of his Gallic Wars (54 BC).
Various other cultures have had their own tattoo traditions, ranging from rubbing cuts and other wounds with ashes, to hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes.
Modern tattooing in the Western world has its origins in sixteenth through eighteenth century maritime expeditions, which promoted contact between explorers and the amerindian tribes and Polynesians they encountered. The Polynesian practice, especially, became popular among European sailors, who took the Samoan word tatau to describe the actual tattoo. As sailors traveled abroad and returned home with tattoos inscribed on their bodies, tattoos began to appear in mainstream European, and eventually North American, figurations, as well.
As many tattoos were stimulated by Polynesian and Japanese examples, amateur tattoo artists were in great demand in port cities all over the world, especially by European and American sailors. The first documented professional tattoo artist in the USA was Martin Hildebrandt, a German immigrant who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1846. Between 1861 and 1865, he tattooed soldiers on both sides in the American Civil War. The first documented professional tattooist in Britain was established in Liverpool in the 1870s. Tattooing was an expensive and painful process and by the 1870s had become a mark of wealth for the crowned heads of Europe.
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