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: Alexei Navalny, opposition leader, lawyer, documentary filmmaker, anti-corruption activist and political prisoner murdered by the fascist Putin regime

21 February 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  24 minutes

in 2020 © flickr.com - Michal Siergiejevicz/cc-by-2.0

in 2020 © flickr.com – Michal Siergiejevicz/cc-by-2.0

Alexei Anatolyevich Navalny was a Russian opposition leader, lawyer, anti-corruption activist, and political prisoner. He organised anti-government demonstrations and ran for office to advocate reforms against corruption in Russia, and against President Vladimir Putin and his government. Navalny was a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member. He was the leader of the Russia of the Future party and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). He was recognised by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and was awarded the Sakharov Prize for his work on human rights.   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: Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker, and draughtsman

27 December 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  5 minutes

Rembrandt statue and the sculptures of 'The Night Watch' at the Rembrandtplain in Amsterdam © Hippolyte/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rembrandt statue and the sculptures of ‘The Night Watch’ at the Rembrandtplain in Amsterdam © Hippolyte/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, usually simply known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker, and draughtsman. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. It is estimated Rembrandt produced a total of about three hundred paintings, three hundred etchings, and two thousand drawings.   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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