Portrait: Richard the Lionheart, King of England

26 June 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  7 minutes

Richard Coeur de Lion, Carlo Marochetti's 1856 statue outside the Palace of Westminster, London © Jonathan Cardy/cc-by-sa-3.0

Richard Coeur de Lion, Carlo Marochetti’s 1856 statue outside the Palace of Westminster, London
© Jonathan Cardy/cc-by-sa-3.0

Richard I, known as Richard Cœur de Lion (Norman French: Quor de Lion) or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior, was King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine, and Gascony; Lord of Cyprus; Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes; and was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and was therefore not expected to become king, but his two elder brothers predeceased their father.   read more…

Portrait: Caspar David Friedrich, a German Romantic landscape painter

22 May 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  7 minutes

Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen

Caspar David Friedrich by Gerhard von Kügelgen

Caspar David Friedrich was a German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s gaze towards their metaphysical dimension”.   read more…

Portrait: Gustave Eiffel, a French civil engineer

24 April 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Paris / Île-de-France, Portrait Reading Time:  17 minutes

Eiffel Tower and La Defense from the Tour Montparnasse © Wladyslaw - Taxiarchos228/cc-by-3.0

Eiffel Tower and La Defense from the Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France © Wladyslaw – Taxiarchos228/cc-by-3.0

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (: Bonickhausen dit Eiffel) was a French civil engineer. A graduate of École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, he made his name with various bridges for the French railway network, most famously the Garabit Viaduct. He is best known for the world-famous Eiffel Tower, designed by his company and built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, and his contribution to building the Statue of Liberty in New York. After his retirement from engineering, Eiffel focused on research into meteorology and aerodynamics, making significant contributions in both fields.   read more…

Portrait: Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, geologist and biologist

27 March 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  7 minutes

Charles Darwin by Julia Margaret Cameron, c. 1868 © Alfred Steiglitz Collection - Art Institute of Chicago

Charles Darwin by Julia Margaret Cameron, c. 1868
© Alfred Steiglitz Collection – Art Institute of Chicago

Charles Robert Darwin FRS FRGS FLS FZS JP (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, widely known for his contributions to evolutionary biology. His proposition that all species of life have descended from a common ancestor is now generally accepted and considered a fundamental concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.   read more…

Portrait: Baron Munchausen

31 January 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  10 minutes

Munchhausen Museum in the former Schulenburg (residential tower) in Bodenwerder © JoachimKohler-HB/cc-by-sa-4.0

Munchhausen Museum in the former Schulenburg (residential tower) in Bodenwerder © JoachimKohler-HB/cc-by-sa-4.0

Baron Munchausen is a fictional German nobleman created by the German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe in his 1785 book Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The character is loosely based on baron Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen.   read more…

Portrait: Walt Disney, an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur

2 December 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  8 minutes

Walt Disney with film roll and Mickey Mouse on his right arm, 1935 © Library of Congress

Walt Disney with film roll and Mickey Mouse on his right arm, 1935 © Library of Congress

Walter Elias Disney was an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations by an individual. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and have also been named as some of the greatest films ever by the American Film Institute.   read more…

Portrait: Montesquieu, a French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher

22 November 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  33 minutes

Statue of Baron de Montesquieu in Bordeaux © Als33120/cc-by-a-4.0

Statue of Baron de Montesquieu in Bordeaux © Als33120/cc-by-a-4.0

Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher. He is the principal source of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He is also known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon. His anonymously published The Spirit of Law (1748), which was received well in both Great Britain and the American colonies, influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States in drafting the U.S. Constitution.   read more…

Portrait: Raymond Loewy, a French-born American industrial designer

25 October 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Design & Products, Portrait Reading Time:  8 minutes

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner © Tysto

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner © Tysto

Raymond Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. He was recognized for this by Time magazine and featured on its cover on October 31, 1949.   read more…

Portrait: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer and physician

27 September 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  6 minutes

Arthur Conan Doyle by Walter Benington, 1914 © RR Auction

Arthur Conan Doyle by Walter Benington, 1914 © RR Auction

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are milestones in the field of crime fiction.   read more…

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