Portrait: Ayn Rand, the voice of libertarian Objectivism

24 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ayn Rand quote - American Adventure - Epcot Center - Walt Disney World © flickr.com - Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand quote – American Adventure – Epcot Center – Walt Disney World © flickr.com – Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand< was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, to a Russian-Jewish bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals. Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.   read more…

Portrait: Musician and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

27 May 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his early death at the age of 35. The circumstances of his death have been much mythologized.   read more…

Portrait: Pablo Picasso, painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright

22 April 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Pablo Picasso in 1962 © Argentina. Revista Vea y Lea - magicasruinas.com.ar

Pablo Picasso in 1962 © Argentina. Revista Vea y Lea – magicasruinas.com.ar

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War.   read more…

Portrait: Johannes Brahms, composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period

25 March 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Hamburg, Portrait

Johannes Brahms in 1889 - New York Public Library - C. Brasch

Johannes Brahms in 1889 – New York Public Library – C. Brasch

Johannes Brahms was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna. His reputation and status as a composer are such that he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs” of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.   read more…

Portrait: The novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka

26 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Franz Kafka in 1923 © Archiv Frans Wagenbach

Franz Kafka in 1923 © Archiv Frans Wagenbach

Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.   read more…

Portrait: Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar

22 January 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

in 1882 by Gustav Adolf Schultze

in 1882 by Gustav Adolf Schultze

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900.   read more…

Portrait: Architect, city planner, painter, furniture and stage designer Karl Friedrich Schinkel

25 December 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Berlin, Portrait

Schinkel in 1836 © Carl Joseph Begas

Schinkel in 1836 © Carl Joseph Begas

Karl Friedrich Schinkel was a Prussian architect, city planner, and painter who also designed furniture and stage sets. Schinkel was one of the most prominent architects of Germany and designed both neoclassical and neogothic buildings. His most famous buildings are found in and around Berlin.   read more…

Portrait: John S. Collins, the founder of Miami Beach

27 November 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Miami / South Florida, Portrait

John S. Collins © floridamemory.com

John S. Collins © floridamemory.com

John Stiles Collins was an American Quaker farmer from Moorestown Township, New Jersey who moved to South Florida and attempted to grow vegetables and coconuts on the swampy, bug-infested stretch of land between Miami and the ocean, a barrier island which became Miami Beach. John S. Collins died in 1928 at the age of 90. Collins Avenue and the Collins Canal, both on Miami Beach, are named in his honor.   read more…

Portrait: Creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, and caricaturist Karl Lagerfeld

23 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Design & Products, Hamburg, Paris, Portrait

© Georges Biard/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Georges Biard/cc-by-sa-3.0

Karl Otto Lagerfeld was a German creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, and caricaturist who lived in Paris. He was known as the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel, a position held from 1983 until his death, and was also creative director of the Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi, and of his own eponymous fashion label. He collaborated on a variety of fashion and art-related projects. Lagerfeld was recognized for his signature white hair, black sunglasses, fingerless gloves, and high, starched, detachable collars.   read more…

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