Category Archives: Art History

October 20

Princess Rákóczi by Nicolas de Largillière

On the 20th of October 1656, the French Rococo painter Nicolas de Largillière was born in Paris. Brought up in Antwerp and Paris, he also lived and worked in London, gaining the admiration of kind Charles II, then James II, as well as the French king Louis XIV, all of whom he painted, alongside various […]

October 19

Quincunx, Electricity, Computer… The Mastermind of Sir Thomas Browne

Sir Thomas Browne was an English author of numerous medical, religious, scientific and esoteric works. He was born on the 19th of October 1605 and died exactly 77 years later on the 19th of October 1682. This numerological symmetry seems in his case more of a necessity than a coincidence for it supports his theory […]

October 17

Natalia Goncharova’s Stand Against Western Modernism

Russian artist Natalia Goncharova (b. 1881) died on the 17th of October 1962 in Paris. One of the leaders of the early 20th century Russian avant-garde, her art spanned from Primitivism, Fauvism, Cubism to Futurism and Rayonism, but she was mostly known in the West for her book illustrations and stage decorations for ballet, costumes […]

October 11

Piaf and Cocteau: Les Enfants Terribles

When I write I disturb. When I make a film I disturb. When I paint I disturb. When I exhibit my paintings I disturb, and I disturb if I don’t. I have a knack for disturbing. (Jean Cocteau, Diary of an Unknown) On the 11th of October 1963, a French poet, novelist, designer, playwright, artist, […]

October 04

Mount Rushmore: Personal Ambition to National Heritage

On the 4th of October 1927, Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) began sculpting Mount Rushmore, a long project which ended unfinished in 1941, the year of the artist’s death. Borglum was a Danish-American  sculptor, son of a bigamist Mormon father who started off as a woodcarver, then moved with Gutzon’s aunt to New York to train as […]

October 02

Duchamp and the Dadaist Gender Offensive

On the 2nd of October 1968, artist Marcel Duchamp died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His Rouen grave was engraved with the humorously defiant epitaph “Besides, it’s always the others who die!”. In death, as in life, he remained a master of sarcasm and controversy. A puzzling development in his career occurred in 1920, when Duchamp started adopting a […]

September 28

English Utopia in the Art of Helen Allingham

On the 28th of September 1926, Victorian water-colourist and illustrator Helen Allingham, born Helen M. E. Paterson, died in Haslemere, Surrey, England. Her career “was circumscribed by, relied upon, and exceeded accepted norms of landscape painting in the nineteenth century. She painted out-of-doors, for example, a common mode of practice none the less considered suspect […]