The Defiant American Natural Landscape Art Form and Luminism

Albert-Bierstadt-Among-the-Sierra-Nevada-California-American-landscape

Artists in the America’s who continually pushed further west, pioneered the technique of “luminism” which used light effects and concealed brush strokes to create paintings which were considered so overwhelming detailed that opera glasses were needed to fully appreciate their true beauty. The American landscape was psychologically bore out of feelings of inferiority and competition with the European continent, as the Americas at this time were not the industrialized indomitable power they are today, but rather a fairly poor country still developing itself and not yet having reached the same milestones which Europe had already accomplished. During the 18th and 19th century, those living in the Americas rejected the notion that Rome, Italy was the center of art and that the best landscapes with the highest and most spectacular mountains were only found in places like France and Switzerland, as the west had its own mountains and its own unique monoliths and animals which could be depicted and celebrated to create American pride within the American landscape

Chinese Landscape Painting

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Landscape painting came into itself during the 10th century in China and by the 11th century, the art form had inlaid deep roots into the Song Dynasty and Chinese culture as a whole. Painting academies were established and books were written about the philosophy and practice of landscape art. It was believed by the Chinese that to be Chinese was to be civilized and to be civilized was to paint. While Europe was in the depths of the Dark Ages, and the Mayan civilization in Central America was collapsing, the Chinese were trading in paper money and developing and using advanced technologies like gun powder. Perspective Chinese bureaucrats were expected to demonstrate artistic talent by taking and passing examinations in calligraphy before being able to serve in government roles

Ancient Stained Glass Manufacturing

ancient-stained-glass

The manufacturing of stained glass is an ancient technology which dates back so far that the ancient Egyptians knew how to do it 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval Europe inherited this form of technology but did not invent it as is common belief. Deep, rich blue glass was very difficult to make and therefore needed to be imported from southern Italy. The deep blues which the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France is so famous for can historically be traced through documentation to fragments coming from the Byzantine Empire as well as the Roman Empire. These imports were melted down and used to create new glass. Most colors and dyes came from the natural world in the forms of roots, berries, barks, leaves, minerals, and crushed insects, but the most prized colors were imported into Europe from the east, specifically India and China using Ottoman trade routes. The simple luck of geography made Venice, Italy an incredibly wealthy city as it acted as a nexus between the east and west. The blue hue referred to as “ultramarine” was the most expensive color to acquire and therefore it was almost always saved for depictions of the Virgin Mary, typically in her cloak or some other form of clothing, as Mary was depicted as the focal point of every painting she appeared within. Ultra Marine came from the mineral of lapis lazuli and when it was ground up into powder, some parts would inevitably become smaller than others which allowed these particles to reflect more light and provide a deeper, richer color to work with and appreciate. Vermillion Red was almost as precious as ultramarine, and has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in various illuminated manuscripts. Made from the mineral cinnabar, vermillion was adopted in places outside of Europe like meso-America for painting, India for bindi dots, and China to create lacquerware

Winston Churchill

Winston-Churchill

Winston Churchill took up painting in his middle age, and painted over 500 canvases during the last 50 years of his life. Churchill preferred to paint bright landscapes and dark portraits. Churchill worked as a government minister during World War I, and played a crucial role in spearheading the Dardanelles campaign which unfortunately failed miserably causing over 200,000 allied soldiers to lose their lives. Churchill soon after resigned from his position within the government and enlisted in the British military to go and fight on the Western Front. It was in the brief interlude between enlisting and visiting the Hell of Flanders, that Churchill began to paint. Churchill struck and maintained friendships with many painters who he spent time learning techniques from. Churchill hated being disturbed whilst painting and was one to bellow out at whoever was barging in, including his beloved grandchildren. Churchill was born to the aristocracy but never had much income of his own, yet he dreamed of becoming a millionaire. Churchill wrote many short stories and journals amongst other publications but only 1 fictitious romantic novel called “Savrola”, which was written in his early 20’s. The book garnered terrible reviews which forced Churchill to recede back into writing non-fiction. Churchill only painted on a single occasion during World War II, which he did in Marrakech, Morocco. Churchill brought Franklin Roosevelt and gave him the painting he created as a gift