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ART “4” “2”-DAY  02 April
^ Born on 02 April 1827: William Holman Hunt, English Pre-Raphaelite painter who died on 07 September 1910. — Not to be confused with US painter William Morris Hunt [31 March 1824 – 08 September 1879]
— William Holman Hunt was born in London. A clerk for several years, he left the world of trade to study at the British Museum and the National Gallery. In 1844 he entered the Royal Academy. Here he joined with Millais and Rossetti to develop the Pre-Raphaelite theories of art and, in 1848, to found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His first painting to interpret these themes was Rienzi, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1849. In 1854 Hunt went to the Holy Land to portray scenes from the life of Christ, aiming to achieve total historical and archaelogical truth. He returned to Palestine in 1869 and again in 1873. Throughout his life Hunt remained dedicated to Pre-Raphaelite concepts, as exemplified in such works as The Light of the World, The Scapegoat, and The Shadow of Death. Hunt died in Kensington, London.

— Hunt worked as an office clerk in London from 1839 to 1843, attending drawing classes at a mechanics’ institute in the evenings and taking weekly lessons from the portrait painter Henry Rogers. Holman Hunt overcame parental opposition to his choice of career in 1843, and this determined attitude and dedication to art could be seen throughout his working life. In July 1844, at the third attempt, he entered the Royal Academy Schools. His earliest exhibited works, such as Little Nell and her Grandfather (1846), reveal few traces of originality, but the reading of John Ruskin’s Modern Painters in 1847 was of crucial importance to Holman Hunt’s artistic development. It led him to abandon the ambitious Christ and the Two Marys in early 1848, when he realized its traditional iconography would leave his contemporaries unmoved. His next major work, The Flight of Madeline and Porphyro during the Drunkenness Attending the Revelry (1848), from John Keats’s Eve of Saint Agnes, though displaced into a medieval setting, dramatized an issue dear to contemporary poets and central to Holman Hunt’s art: love and youthful idealism versus loyalty to one’s family. His first mature painting, it focuses on a moment of psychological crisis in a cramped and shallow picture space. The Keatsian source, rich colors and compositional format attracted the attention of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, leading to his friendship with Holman Hunt and thus contributing to the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the autumn of 1848.

— In 1844, Hunt was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy, where he met John Millais [08 Jun 1829 – 13 Aug 1896] and Dante Gabriel Rossetti [12 May 1828 – 09 Apr 1882]. For some time he shared a studio with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and the pair, along with Millais and a few others, who had a common contempt of contemporary English art and its academic rules, started the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which aimed at restoring English painting to its former heights. John Ruskin supported the group and supplied a theoretical foundation for its aims.
          Hunt believed that renewal of art must involve a return to honored religious and moral ideals, and these became the center of his work. He used biblical subjects; to paint scenery for these themes he visited Palestine several times, see The Scapegoat (1856) and The Finding of Savior in the Temple (1860). He also frequently took themes from old English myths and sagas, from Shakespeare, and Keats, filling them with an intense symbolism in which every small detail contributed to the picture's message and which is not easy to understand to a modern viewer. The years 1866-1868, he worked in Florence.
        At first Victorian England did not accept his works. Thus The Awakening Conscience (1853) infuriated the public; it was normal for a Victorian man to keep a mistress, but nobody spoke about it aloud and who was this Hunt to accuse others? When the public gradually grew to accept to Hunt his work was highly regarded. Hunt's series of magazine articles gathered in the book Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1905) is a valuable record of the movement.
— Hunt, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was born in London, the son of a warehouse manager. Throughout his life he was a devout Christian. He was also serious minded, and lacking in a sense of humour. Hunt joined the Royal Academy Schools in 1844, where he met Millais and Rossetti, and, in fact brought them together. In 1854 Hunt decided to visit the Holy Land, to see for himself the genuine background for the religious pictures he intended to paint. The first tangible results of this journey were two paintings, The Scapegoat, and The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, which was exhibited nationally to great acclaim in 1860, and sold for the sum of 5,500 guineas, Hunt was advised on the price by Charles Dickens.) This sale, which included the copyright established the painter both financially, and artisticly. Hunt’s famous picture The Light of the World, was one of the greatest Christian images of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Hunt worked at night on this picture, in an unheated shelter in a wood near Ewell in Surrey.
      Hunt did not have the natural talent of Millais, or the intellect and vision of Rossetti. He made up for this by sheer hard work and commitment. He could have been a very successful portrait painter had he chosen to be so. In later years, as his sight started to fail, perhaps, his colors became increasingly harsh. He was still capable of great things, however, as shown by his wonderful late picture The Lady of Shallott, surely one of the most powerful Pre-Raphaelite images. In his last years Hunt became the patriach of Victorian painting. He was awarded the Order of Merit by King Edward VII in 1905. Hunt married firstly Fanny Waugh, and after her death in childbirth her younger sister Edith. He was also a far more attractive personality than is generally supposed, with a wide range of interests, which included horse racing and boxing.

Self-Portrait (1845, 46x39cm)
Isabella, or the Pot of Basil (1867; 192x91cm) _ This painting is based on Isabella, or the Pot of Basil by John Keats [31 Oct 1795 – 23 Feb 1821].
May Morning on Magdalen Tower, Oxford (1890, 155x200cm, 840x1092pix — ZOOM to 1700x2205pix, 2178kb)

— smaller, very slightly different, version: May Morning on Magdalen Tower, Oxford (1893, 39x49cm, 931x1177pix, 184kb — or see the 931x1177pix picture in a 2354x2350pix round frame, 2104kb) _ Following a custom thought to derive from the ancient druids, a service was held on the tower of Magdalen College, Oxford, on May Day morning. Choristers and college staff sang hymns to welcome spring at the break of day. The light blue sky and pink clouds convey the freshness of the early morning light, while the abundant flowers remind us of the imminent arrival of summer. At the far right is an Indian Parsee, or sun-worshipper.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1883, 30x23cm)
The Dead Sea from Siloam (1855, 25x35cm)
Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus (1851)
The Light of the World (1853, 126x60cm) —
The Lady of Shalott (1892) — Shadow of Death (1873, 93x73cm)
Il Dolce Far Niente (1866) — The Lantern Maker's Courtship (1854)
The Awakening Conscience (1853)
A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids (1850, 111x141cm)
The Scapegoat (1854) — On English Coasts (1852) _ sheep
The Triumph of the Innocents (157x248cm)
The Hireling Shepherd (1851, 77x110cm) — Claudio and Isabella (1853, 78x46cm)
^ Born on 02 April 1891: Max Ernst, German French Surrealist painter and sculptor who died on 01 April 1976.
— Ernst lived in Paris, New York 1940-1948, became a French citizen in 1958. He was a leading advocate for irrationality in art, and an originator of the Automatism movement of Surrealism. As a youth his interests were psychiatry and philosophy, however he abandoned his studies at the University of Bonn for painting. Ernst served in the German army during World War I. Converted to Dadaism, the nihilistic art movement, he formed a group of Dadaist artists in Cologne. With artist-poet Jean Arp [16 Sep 1887 – 07 Jun 1966], Ernst edited journals and created a scandal by staging a Dada exhibit in a public restroom. More important, however, were his Dada collages and photomontages — startlingly illogical compositions which suggest multiple identities for the things depicted.
     Ernst moved to Paris in 1922 and two years later became a founding member of the Surrealists. To facilitate the flow of imagery from the unconscious mind, Ernst began to use "frottage" (pencil rubbings of such things as wood grain, fabric, or leaves) and "decalcomania" (the transferring of paint from one surface to another by pressing them together). By contemplating the accidental patterns and textures resulting from these techniques, he allowed free association to suggest images he then used in a series of drawings (Histoire naturelle, 1926) and in many paintings such as The Forest (1928) and The Temptation of St. Anthony (1945). These vast landscapes stem from the tradition of the German Romantics. After 1934 Ernst's activities centered more and more on sculpture, using improvised techniques.
      At the onset of World War II, Ernst moved to the US, where he joined his third wife, the collector and gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim [26 Aug 1898 – 23 Dec 1979], and his son, the US painter Jimmy Ernst [1920-1984]. After 1946 he moved to Sedona, Arizona, with his 4th wife, US painter Dorothea Tanning. After Ernst returned to France in 1949, his work became less and less experimental: he spent much of his time perfecting his modeling technique in traditional sculptural materials.
— Ernst was born in Bruhl, Germany. He enrolled in the University at Bonn in 1909 to study philosophy, but soon abandoned this pursuit to concentrate on art. At this time he was interested in psychology and the art of the mentally ill. In 1911 Ernst became a friend of August Macke and joined the Rheinische Expressionisten group in Bonn. Ernst showed for the first time in 1912 at the Galerie Feldman in Cologne. At the Sonderbund exhibition of that year in Cologne he saw the work of Paul Cézanne [19 Jan 1839 – 22 Oct 1906], Edvard Munch [12 Dec 1863 – 23 Jan 1944], Pablo Picasso [25 Oct 1881 – 08 Apr 1973], and Vincent van Gogh [30 Mar 1853 – 29 Jul 1890]. In 1913 he met Guillaume Apollinaire [26 Aug 1880 – 09 Nov 1918] and Robert Delaunay [12 Apr 1885 – 25 Oct 1941] and traveled to Paris. Ernst participated that same year in the Erste deutsche Herbstsalon. In 1914 he met Jean Arp, who was to become a lifelong friend.
      Despite military service throughout World War I, Ernst was able to continue painting and to exhibit in Berlin at Der Sturm in 1916. He returned to Cologne in 1918. The next year he produced his first collages and founded the short-lived Cologne Dada movement with Johannes Theodor Baargeld [09 Oct 1892 – 18 Aug 1927]; they were joined by Arp and others. In 1921 Ernst exhibited for the first time in Paris, at the Galerie au Sans Pareil. He was involved in Surrealist activities in the early 1920s with Paul Eluard [14 Dec 1895 – 18 Nov 1952] and André Breton [18 Feb 1896 – 28 Sep 1966]. In 1925 Ernst executed his first frottages; a series of frottages was published in his book Histoire naturelle in 1926. He collaborated with Joan Miró [20 Apr 1893 – 25 Dec 1983] on designs for Sergei Diaghilev that same year. The first of his collage-novels, La Femme 100 têtes, was published in 1929. The following year the artist collaborated with Salvador Dalí [11 May 1904 – 23 Jan 1989] and Luis Buñuel on the film L’Age d’or.
      Ernst's first show in the US was held at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, in 1932. In 1936 Ernst was represented in Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1939 he was interned in France as an enemy alien. Two years later Ernst fled to the United States with Peggy Guggenheim, whom he married early in 1942. After their divorce he married Dorothea Tanning [1910~] and in 1953 resettled in France. Ernst received the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and in 1975 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum gave him a major retrospective, which traveled in modified form to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1975. He died in Paris.

Rhythmic Composition (24x19cm) — Paysage Arizona (1960)
Les Correspondances Dangereuses (1947) — Étoile de Mer (1950, 43x27cm)
The Clothing of the Bride (1940) — Elephant of Celebes (1921)
Histoire Naturelle (1923, 232x356cm) — Ecole d'Oiseaux (1947 etching)
Von Minimax Dadamax selbst konstruiertes Maschinchen (1920, 49x31cm) _ This was made in Cologne the year Dada was established there. It belongs to a series of about fifty works dating from 1919–1920, based on diagrams of scientific instruments, in which Max Ernst used printer’s plates to reproduce preexisting images. The impressions, once altered by traditional coloristic and modeling effects, occupy a position between found object and artistic product, like his collages.
      In both subject and style the series can be compared with Francis Picabia’s mechanomorphic drawings and paintings. Ernst shared with Picabia [22 Jan 1879 – 30 Nov 1953] an interest in typography, printed images, and language; many of the forms in the present work can be read as letters. They function as well to describe a mechanical structure that can be seen as a symbol of sexual activity, like Picabia’s Très rare tableau sur la terre (1915, 126x98cm) and his L'Enfant Carburateur (1919), or The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1923) of Marcel Duchamp [28 Jul 1887 – 02 Oct 1968]. Ernst’s machine is a fantasized solution to the psychological pressures of sexual Performance, as announced in the humorously heroic inscription at the bottom of the sheet: “Little machine constructed by minimax dadamax in person for fearless pollination of female suckers at the beginning of the change of life and for other such fearless functions”. The right side of the machine seems to comprise a miniature laboratory for the production of semen, which is indicated as a red drop that courses through passageways to the left side of the apparatus. The drop finally issues from the yellow faucet, accompanied by a whimsically self-assured and cheerful “Bonjour.” Alternatively, the machine can be seen as a combination of male and female halves. The female (at the right) is dowdy and angular; the more brilliantly colored male (at the left) “fearlessly” points away from her.
Le Baiser (1927, 129x161cm) _ From humorously clinical depictions of erotic events in the Dada period, such as Little Machine Constructed by Minimax Dadamax in Person, Max Ernst moved on to celebrations of uninhibited sexuality in his Surrealist works. His liaison and marriage with the young Marie-Berthe Aurenche in 1927 may have inspired the erotic subject matter of this painting and others of this year. The major compositional lines of this work may have been determined by the configurations of string that Ernst dropped on a preparatory surface, a procedure according with Surrealist notions of the importance of chance effects. However, Ernst used a coordinate grid system to transfer his string configurations to canvas, thus subjecting these chance effects to conscious manipulation. Visually, the technique produces undulating calligraphic rhythms, like those traced here against the glowing earth and sky colors.
      The centralized, pyramidal grouping and the embracing gesture of the upper figure in The Kiss have lent themselves to comparison with Renaissance compositions, specifically the The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne by Leonardo da Vinci [15 Apr 1452 – 02 May 1519]. The Leonardo work was the subject of a psychosexual interpretation by Sigmund Freud, whose writings were important to Ernst and other Surrealists. The adaptation of a religious subject would add an edge of blasphemy to the exuberant lasciviousness of Ernst’s picture.
La Forêt (1928, 96x130cm) _ André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto of 1924 proclaimed “pure psychic automatism” as an artistic ideal, emphasizing inspiration derived from the chance juxtaposition of forms and the haphazard use of materials. Max Ernst came under the influence of Breton’s ideas in 1924, and soon thereafter developed his frottage or rubbing technique.1 In making his first frottages, he dropped pieces of paper at random on floor boards and rubbed them with pencil or chalk, thus transferring the design of the wood grain to the paper. He next adapted this technique to oil painting, scraping paint from prepared canvases laid over materials such as wire mesh, chair caning, leaves, buttons, or twine. His repertory of objects closely parallels that used by Man Ray [27 Aug 1890 – 18 Nov 1976] in his experiments with Rayograms during the same period. Using his grattage (scraping) technique, Ernst covered his canvases completely with pattern and then interpreted the images that emerged, thus allowing texture to suggest composition in a spontaneous fashion. In The Forest the artist probably placed the canvas over a rough surface (perhaps wood), scraped oil paint over the canvas, and then rubbed, scraped, and overpainted the area of the trees.
      The subject of a dense forest appears often in Ernst’s work of the late twenties and early thirties. These canvases, of which The Quiet Forest (1927), is another example, generally contain a wall of trees, a solar disk, and an apparition of a bird hovering amid the foliage. Ernst’s attitude toward the forest as the sublime embodiment of both enchantment and terror can be traced to his experiences in the German forest as a child. His essay “Les Mystères de la forêt,” published in Minotaure in 1934, vividly conveys his fascination with the various kinds of forests. The Peggy Guggenheim canvas resonates with those qualities he identified with the forests of Oceania: “They are, it seems, savage and impenetrable, black and russet, extravagant, secular, swarming, diametrical, negligent, ferocious, fervent, and likeable, without yesterday or tomorrow. . . . Naked, they dress only in their majesty and their mystery”
Couple zoomorphe (1933, 92x73cm) _ By 1925 Ernst had developed his frottage technique, which he associated with a childhood memory of accidental forms materializing within the grooves of wooden floorboards. He also acknowledged the influence of his later discovery of Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise on Painting, in which artists are advised to gaze at the stains on walls until figures and scenes emerge. In the Hordes series of 1926–32 Ernst placed twine beneath his canvases and then rubbed pigment over their surfaces. The meanderings of the twine were thus revealed; these chance configurations were then manipulated to elicit imagery.
      In Zoomorphic Couple, the appearance of light, sinuous channels through dark painted areas produces a relieflike effect suggestive of frottage. However, the artist created the effect here by putting paint-laden string or rope on top of the canvas and spraying over it. The image of the bird, which recurs frequently in Ernst’s work from 1925, had become an almost obsessive preoccupation by 1930. In the present painting one can discern a vaguely birdlike form and a caressing humanoid arising from the primordial material that gives them their substance. It has been suggested that the atavistic imagery in Ernst’s work of this period alludes to the failure of European civilization in the face of the rising National Socialist threat in Germany. (Ernst was blacklisted by the party in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor of the Third Reich.) Though a sensitivity to the current political climate may be inferred, it is not confirmed by anecdotal detail. The forms have the effect of dream or poetic apparition.
      The sense of genesis and evolutionary stirrings in Zoomorphic Couple is complemented by the creative inventiveness of the artist, who combines layers of pastel color under spattered, blown, and dripped paint.
La Toilette de la mariée (1940, 130x96cm) _ This is an example of Max Ernst’s veristic or illusionistic Surrealism, in which a traditional technique is applied to an incongruous or unsettling subject. The theatrical, evocative scene has roots in late nineteenth-century Symbolist painting, especially that of Gustave Moreau [06 Apr 182618 Apr 1898]. It also echoes the settings and motifs of sixteenth-century German art. The willowy, swollen-bellied figure types recall those of Lucas Cranach the Elder [1472 – 16 Oct 1553] in particular. The architectural backdrop with its strong contrast of light and shadow and its inconsistent perspective shows the additional influence of Giorgio de Chirico [10 Jul 1888 – 19 Nov 1978], whose work had overwhelmed Ernst when he first saw it in 1919.
      The pageantry and elegance of the image are contrasted with its primitivizing aspects—the garish colors, the animal and monster forms—and the blunt phallic Symbolism of the poised spearhead. The central scene is contrasted as well with its counterpart in the picture-within-a-picture at the upper left. In this detail the bride appears in the same pose, striding through a landscape of overgrown classical ruins. Here Ernst has used the technique of decalcomania invented in 1935 by Oscar Domínguez [07 Jan 1906 – 01 Jan 1958], in which diluted paint is pressed onto a surface with an object that distributes it unevenly, such as a pane of glass. A suggestive textured pattern results.
      The title of this work had occurred to Ernst at least as early as 1936, when he italicized it in a text in his book Beyond Painting. Ernst had long identified himself with the bird, and had invented an alter ego, Loplop, Superior of the Birds, in 1929. Thus one may perhaps interpret the bird-man at the left as a depiction of the artist; the bride may in some sense represent the young English Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington.
The Antipope (March 1942, 161x127cm) _ Max Ernst settled in New York in 1941 after escaping from Europe with the help of Peggy Guggenheim. The same year he painted a small oil on cardboard that became the basis for the large-scale The Antipope. When Guggenheim saw the small version, she interpreted a dainty horse-human figure on the right as Ernst, who was being fondled by a woman she identified as herself. She wrote that Ernst conceded that a third figure, depicted in a three-quarter rear view, was her daughter Pegeen; she did not attempt to identify another horse-headed female to the left.1 When Ernst undertook the large version from December to March he changed the body of the “Peggy” figure into a greenish column and transferred her amorous gesture to a new character, who wears a pink tunic and is depicted in a relatively naturalistic way. The “Pegeen” figure in the center appears to have two faces, one of a flayed horse that looks at the horse-woman at the left. The other, with only its cheek and jaw visible, gazes in the opposite direction, out over the grim lagoon, like a pensive subject conceived by Caspar David Friedrich [05 Sep 1774 – 07 May 1840].
      The great upheavals in Ernst’s personal life during this period encourage such a biographical interpretation. Despite his marriage to Guggenheim, he was deeply involved with Leonora Carrington [1917~] at this time, and spent hours riding horses with her. As birds were an obsession for Ernst, so horses were for Carrington. Her identification with them is suggested throughout her collection of stories La Dame ovale, published in 1939 with seven illustrations by Ernst, two of which include metamorphosed horse creatures. It seems plausible that the alienated horse-woman of The Antipope, who twists furtively to watch the other horse-figure, represents a vision of Guggenheim. Like the triumphal bride in Attirement of the Bride, she wears an owl headgear. Her irreconcilable separation from her companion is expressed graphically by the device of the diagonally positioned spear that bisects the canvas. The features of the green totemic figure resemble those of Carrington, whose relationship with Ernst was to end soon after the painting was completed, when she moved to Mexico with her husband.
^ Died on 02 April 1709: Giovanni-Battista Gaulli “Il Baciccio”, Italian Baroque painter born on 08 May 1639.
— Italian painter, born in Genoa (Giovanni Battista Gaulli) and active mainly in Rome, where he settled in 1657 and became a protégé of Bernini. He achieved success as a painter of altarpieces and portraits (he painted each of the seven popes from Alexander VII to Clement XI), but is remembered mainly for his decorative work and above all for his Adoration of the Name of Jesus (1679) on the ceiling of the nave of the Gesu. This is one of the supreme masterpieces of illusionistic decoration, ranking alongside the slightly later ceiling by Pozzo [30 Nov 1642 — 31 Aug 1709] in S. Ignazio. The stucco figures that are so brilliantly combined with the painted decoration (from the ground it is not always possible to tell which is which) are the work of Bernini's student Antonio Raggi [1624-1686].
— It is believed that Gaulli, known as Baciccio (the Genoese nickname for Giovanni Battista), left his native Genoa after his entire family perished, presumably in the plague of 1657. At that time he moved permanently to Rome. During the decade of the 1660s Baciccio established himself as one of the leading artists working in the Eternal City, most particularly as the result of the favor of the illustrious sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Baciccio became a member of the Academy of Saint Luke in 1662 and held several offices in that body. Through Bernini's recommendation Baciccio was chosen over such competitors as Carlo Maratta [15 May 1625 – 15 Dec 1713], Giacento Brandi, and Ciro Ferri [1634-1689] to execute the decorative cycle for the interior of the church of the Gesù, the recently completed mother church of the Jesuit order. Begun in 1676, the nave vault fresco, The Triumph of the Name of Jesus, was unveiled on New Year's Eve of 1679. In this work, universally considered the culmination of baroque illusionistic ceiling painting, Baciccio masterfully orchestrated painting and sculptural details within the architectural context. He created a tumultuous scene of figures who seem to hover over or tumble into the viewer's space. Baciccio continued to work in the Gesù until 1685, frescoing nave, dome, pendentives, apse, and transept vaults. The total ensemble is one of the glories of the Counter-Reformation. Stylistically Baciccio's works reveal the lasting influence of his Genoese heritage. This early exposure to fellow Genoese artists, including Valerio Castello [1624-1659] and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione [1616-1670], is evident in the vibrant coloring, activated drapery, and fluid figural lines. In addition Baciccio employed the energetic brushstroke introduced to Genoa in the 1620s by the Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck [22 Mar 1599 – 09 Dec 1641]. In his later works Baciccio set aside the flamboyant rhythms and colors of the high baroque, conceding to the ascendancy of late baroque classicism.

Diana the Huntress (1690, 161x211cm; 952x1243pix, 703kb _ ZOOM to 1771x2312pix; 2406kb) with a dead (recently killed as shown in a miniature scene in the background) and two dogs, one of which, a white greyhound, seems to want to be breast-fed.
Landscape with Tobias and the Angel (600x1841pix, 289kb _ ZOOM not recommended to blurry 1400x4296pix, 602kb)
The Adoration of the Lamb (1680, oval 65x105cm; 1/3 size _ ZOOM to 2/3 size) model for an apse fresco.
Pietà (1667, 183x116cm) _ The canvas is identifiable as the "Dead Christ in the arms of the weeping Virgin with two little angels", for which the painter received payment on 25 May 1667. The painting was carried out for Cardinal Flavio Chigi, along with another canvas of The Assumption of the Virgin. It is a fundamental work for the career of Gaulli, and looks back to the famous Pietà of Annibale Carracci. Gaulli, however, translates the carracciesque language to achieve one of the highest examples of "baroque classicism". His synthesis also shows the influence of Van Dyck's art.
Apotheosis of the Franciscan Order (1707) _ Pietro da Cortona's illusionistic effects were taken to extremes by the religious decorators of the second half of the 17th century. Baciccio and Andrea Pozzo were the most successful among them. Bacciccio's masterpiece was the painted ceiling in the Church of Il Gesù in Rome.
Apotheosis of Saint Ignatius (1685, 48x64cm) _ This is a bozzetto — a preparatory sketch for the fresco Baciccio painted for the vaulting of the left transept of the Jesuits' principal church of Il Gesù in Rome. The bozzetto differs from the fresco only in a few of the angel figures and in the use of stronger colors. Although the apotheosis of the saint has a firm place in the overall ecclesiastical design of the church, from which it cannot be dissociated, this oil study is nevertheless an independent painting, executed with greater care than one might expect of a sketch. The saint is carried heavenwards by a group of music-making, flower-strewing angels that are inebriated with joy. His arms spread wide, he soars towards a golden stream of light that is breaking through from the depths of the heavens. Baciccio does not treat this supernatural triumphal procession as a transcendental vision, but as a real occurrence. The body of the saint and the angels are not transcended by light, but are sculpturally tangible, and in its earthly corporeality, the painting mediates between the world of the spectator and the light whose source remains invisible to us, but which is perceptible in the figure of the saint.
— Portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1665, 72x61cm) _ This painting has been connected to a drawing at Windsor dated 1665, evidence which led to date the painting to that year. The preparatory design for the portrait is a drawing at the Palazzo Bianco in Genoa: a drawing derived from it is conserved at Weimar. First considered a self-portrait of Bernini, the painting was only later given to Baciccio. Gaulli carried out several other portraits of Bernini, his teacher and friend. One example, coming from the Altieri collection, dates to around 1673. Another version, once belonging to Queen Christina of Sweden, was in the Geymuller collection. The first Gaulli portrait of Bernini was executed some time before Christmas, 1669, as it is mentioned in a dated letter from Rangoni to the Duke of Modena.
Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici (1667; 550x432pix, 42kb)
^ Born on 02 April 1688: John Smibert (or Smybert), Scottish and Colonial Baroque painter specialized in Portraits, who died on 02 (24?) March 1751. — {Did people think that his first name was Bert because his mom would proudly say of his paintings: “It's Smybert”?}
— From 1702 to 1709 he was apprenticed to a house painter and plasterer in Edinburgh. He set out for London at the end of his apprenticeship, about which time he began recording in a Notebook the events of his life and in succeeding years the details of his travels and records of his painting activities. The appearance of a professionally trained British painter in the American colonies in 1729 marks a crucial point in the history of US art. Smibert not only imported the skills necessary to convey the impression of substantial, rounded forms in a picture, but his commercial success also inspired others to contemplate careers as painters. Born in Edinburgh and schooled in London and Italy, Smibert attracted numerous clients upon his arrival in Boston.
— John Smibert divided his early career between Edinburgh, his birthplace, and London, where he variously studied art, worked as a plasterer, painted houses and coaches, and eventually set up as a portrait painter and copyist. He arrived in Italy in 1717, copied master paintings in Florence and Rome for his patron Cosimo III de' Medici, and then returned to London. By 1722 he had a studio there and was considered a leading portraitist. Smibert arrived in the American colonies in 1728, attracted by climate, opportunity, and the promise of employment in a visionary utopian colony to be established in the Bermudas. It failed to materialize, but he remained, the first fully trained artist in the colonies. He established a highly successful portrait practice in Boston.
— A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Smibert received his professional training in London at Sir Godfrey Kneller's Great Queen Street Academy. In 1716, after three years at the academy, he painted in Scotland, Italy, and London, and achieved a reputation as a painter of some note. He arrived in Boston in 1728 as part of the venture of Dean George Berkeley [12 Mar 1685 – 14 Jan 1753] to establish an academy in Bermuda, where Smibert was to be the professor of painting. The venture was commemorated with his influential group portrait The Bermuda Group (1728); the academy, however, never materialized, as Berkeley did not receive the £20'000 grant he expected from the British Parliament, and returned to England in October 1731. Smibert stayed in Boston, making his living as the portraitist of Boston's leading citizens and as the owner of a shop that sold prints and artists' supplies. He is noted as the first academically trained painter to carve out a career as a portraitist in the British colonies in America.

John Nelson (1732, 113x91cm; 1/3 size _ ZOOM to 2/3 size)
The Bermuda Group (Dean Berkeley and his Entourage) (1730; 735x1000pix, 112kb) _ George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish Anglican clergyman, philosopher, and scientist, best known for his Empiricist philosophy (A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge), which holds that everything except the spiritual exists only insofar as it is perceived by the senses. He became bishop of Cloyne in 1734. He is shown in Newport, Rhode Island, with his wife holding their young son, and others who accompanied him on his unsuccessful American venture.
      The frenzied speculation that preceded the September 1720 bursting of the South Sea Bubble had shaken Berkeley's faith in the Old World, and he looked in hope to the New. His Essay Towards preventing the Ruin of Great-Britain (1721) was succeeded by his prophetic verses “Westward the course of empire takes its way; The four first acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day: Time’s noblest offspring is the last.” in On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America (1726). By 1722 he had resolved to build a college in Bermuda for the education of young Amerindians, publishing the plan in A Proposal For the better Supplying of Churches in our Foreign Plantations and Converting the Savage Americans to Christianity by a College to be Erected in the Summer Islands, otherwise called the Isles of Bermuda. (1724).
     While Berkeley touted slavery as the best way to Christianize Blacks, he proposed a different way for Amerindians. He thought the best people to convert Amerindians to Christianity would be the Amerindians themselves. He recommended recruiting potential missionaries "by peaceable methods" if possible, but by "taking captive the children of our enemies" if necessary. For the success of his school, he suggested enrolling “only such savages as are under 10 years of age, before evil habits have taken a deep root” . Bermuda was the perfect setting for his social experiment. “Young Americans, educated in an island at some distance from their own country, will more easily be kept under discipline till they have attained a complete education." While on the continent, they (unlike Blacks) “might find opportunities of running away to their countrymen,” while, captive on the island, they would be prevented them from “returning to their brutal customs, before they were thoroughly imbued with good principles and habits.”
      The scheme caught the public imagination; the King granted a charter; the Archbishop of Canterbury acted as trustee; subscriptions poured in; and Parliament passed a contingent grant of £20,000. But there was opposition; an alternative charity for Georgia was mooted; and Sir Robert Walpole [26 Aug 1676 – 18 Mar 1745], the Prime Minister (from 1721 to 1742), hesitated.
      In 1728 Berkeley married Anne, daughter of Chief Justice Forster, a talented and well-educated woman, who defended her husband's philosophy after his death. Soon after the wedding, they sailed for America, settling at Newport, R.I., where Berkeley bought land and slaves for his Whitehall plantation, where he built a house, and waited. Berkeley preached often in Newport and its neighborhood, and a philosophical study group met at Whitehall. Eventually, word came that the grant would not be paid, and Berkeley returned to London in October 1731. Several American universities benefited by Berkeley's visit, Yale in particular, to which he donated his Whitehall plantation and its slaves upon his departure. Yale's first scholarship was funded for up to 50 years with money earned from slave labor.
     Berkeley's correspondence with Samuel Johnson, later president of King's College (now Columbia University), is of philosophical importance. Berkeley's Alciphron; or, The Minute Philosopher (1732) was written at Newport, and the setting of the dialogues reflects local scenes and scenery. It is a massive defense of theism and Christianity with attacks on deists and freethinkers and discussions of visual language and analogical knowledge and of the functions of words in religious argument.
     While at his Whitehall plantation in Newport, on 04 October 1730, Berkeley purchased "a Negro man named Philip aged Fourteen years or thereabout." A few days later he purchased "a negro man named Edward aged twenty years or thereabouts." On 11 June 11 1731, “Dean Berkeley baptized three of his negroes, 'Philip, Anthony, and Agnes Berkeley' ” . Berkeley's sermons explained to the colonists why Christianity supported slavery, and hence slaves should become baptized Christians. He said that it would be of advantage to their slave masters' affairs to have slaves who should “obey in all things their masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, as fearing God;” and that gospel liberty is consistent with temporal servitude; and that their slaves would only become better slaves by being Christian.
Benjamin Colman (1740; 350x279pix, 19kb) _ A member of Boston's colonial elite, Benjamin Colman [1710-1765] was the nephew of Reverend Dr. Benjamin Colman, one of the most distinguished citizens of Boston, a founder of the Church in Brattle Square, and a voluminous writer on colonial economics. As did most young Boston men of his social station, Colman attended Harvard College. He graduated in 1727, despite being fined for "being once at a Tavern unseasonably & drinking strong drink & with Companions of ill fame as also for being with More when he cut Mr Gookins's sadle & killed his Peahen as also for Lying at first to conceal these crimes." A merchant like his father, Colman formed a partnership with Nathaniel Sparhawk of Kittery. Both were related to Lieutenant General Sir William Pepperill, a commander in the British army, through whose influence they obtained a government contract to outfit Massachusetts troops and to supply construction materials and workers for the garrison at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. They also sold legal advice in business matters and collected debts for London merchants. The firm, however, declared bankruptcy in 1758, and in 1765 Colman was identified by his obituary in The Boston Gazette as "formerly a noted Merchant in this Town." Smibert's portrayal of Colman records both his high social status and his occupation as a merchant. Dressed in a frock coat and matching waistcoat of a rich burgundy color, Colman stands beside a table and proffers a letter. Based on portraits of British nobility, the pose indicates Colman's status as a gentleman. The letter was also a well-established convention, both for indicating the sitter's trade and for recording his identity. Colman's letter is inscribed "To Mr. Benjn Colman Mercht Boston." Painted near the end of Smibert's career, the portrait of Benjamin Colman is similar to Smibert's other merchant portraits, including Peter Fanueil (1740) and Richard Bill (1733). This repetition of pose and costume was an accepted convention in colonial society, for as citizens of the British crown, the colonists above all aspired to imitate the customs of the British aristocracy and the tastes of London's fashionable society.
Judge Samuel Sewall (1729, 76x63cm; 457x379pix, 44kb) _ A judge at the 1692 Salem witch trials that convicted and executed nineteen people, Samuel Sewall [1625–1730] later publicly confessed his error. He was an eminent citizen of colonial Boston: a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, manager of Boston’s only licensed printing press, and chief justice of the Superior Court. His diaries provide a lively record of the social, political, and religious life of his time. This was among the first of almost 250 portraits that Smibert made in Boston during his seventeen-year residence. His ability to capture character as well as appearance and his deft modeling of three-dimensional form caused a sensation in Boston, and his studio in Scollay Square became a mecca for aspiring artists.

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click for 1812 self-portraitDied on 02 April 1872: Samuel Finley Breese Morse, US painter, telegraph pioneer, born on 27 April 1791.
     Morse developed an electric telegraph, which he first demonstrated in 1838. Several years later, he received a grant from Congress to build an experimental telegraph line, from Baltimore to Washington DC. In 1844, Morse transmitted the historic message, "What hath God wrought?"
     Morse is born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the eldest son of Reverend Jedidiah Morse and Elizabeth Ann Breese. Morse's intellectual outlook and future commitment to cultural nationalism were deeply influenced by the orthodox Calvinist millennialism and evangelism he inherited from his father. He began to paint portraits in the naive style characteristic of the Connecticut School while attending Yale University. After graduation he moved to Boston and became the private student and friend of Washington Allston, who introduced him to a traditional program of academic study that encompassed drawing, anatomy, and art theory. With Allston's encouragement he went to London in 1811, where he met Benjamin West, befriended Charles Robert Leslie, and was accepted as a student at the Royal Academy of Art.
      Morse's first major painting, The Dying Hercules (1813), was a fairly competent attempt at the neoclassical history painting that was in vogue among Academy painters. Full of optimism, the young painter returned to America in 1815 with expectations of establishing himself as a professional artist. The unsophisticated cultural atmosphere was not conducive to his aspirations, and Morse was forced into earning a meager living as an itinerant portraitist, active in New England, Charleston, South Carolina, and New York. He suffered a major disappointment when his painting The House of Representatives (1823), envisioned as a touring picture for public entertainment, was a critical and financial failure.
      Morse's perseverance was finally rewarded in 1824 when he won the most prestigious commission of the decade to paint the full-length portrait The Marquis de Lafayette (1826) when the French hero was on his triumphal tour of America. The successful completion of this important portrait gained Morse the recognition and professional eminence he had sought for a decade, and designated the apex of his career as an artist. An educated, eloquent, and tireless crusader on behalf of artists' rights, in 1826 Morse used his new prestige to lead a group of young artists who seceded from the moribund American Academy of Art and founded the progressive National Academy of Design; he served as its first president until 1845. The foundation of this new organization, which was dedicated primarily to art instruction, led directly to an efflorescence of American art, and a new generation of painters and sculptors made their debuts at its annual exhibitions.
      In 1826 Morse delivered a series of four important lectures at the New York Athenaeum in which he argued for the advancement of art in US society. In 1829 he embarked on a three year grand tour of Europe, where he studied and copied works by the old masters in the museums of France and Italy. This period culminated in the large Gallery of the Louvre (1833), a pictorial summation of European art with which he hoped to improve US culture after his return to New York in 1832. Despite its favorable reception among the intelligentsia, the painting failed before the general public. Morse was further humiliated in 1837 when the Congressional Committee on Public Buildings decided not to commission him to paint a mural for the Capitol Rotunda. This rejection may in part have been brought about by Morse's reputation for radical politics; in the middle 1830s he became associated with the Native American party and wrote several widely-read and vitriolic anti-Catholic diatribes whose xenophobic tone bordered on paranoia.
      Disillusioned by failure, Morse ceased painting in 1837 at the age of forty-six, and devoted the last thirty-five years of his life to perfecting the electromagnetic telegraph. He died in New York in 1872. Strictly as an artist Morse did not exert a major impact on the stylistic development of nineteenth century US art, and his ideas and art appealed exclusively to the cultural elite. Well before his death Morse's invention of the telegraph had eclipsed his early renown as a painter, and it was only after the retrospective exhibition of his work held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1932 that interest in his art revived. With the exception of the romantic Lafayette portrait, his most ambitious works failed before an unreceptive public. Unable to earn a living through painting historical subjects he was forced into portraiture, and many of these paintings are of negligible quality. It was as a founder and first president of the National Academy of Design that Morse did much to advance art in America.
Inventor of the telegraph, but not the first.
     Samuel F. B. Morse developed an early interest in electricity at Yale from the lectures of Jeremiah Day and Benjamin Silliman in 1807. Although he pursued a career as an artist, Morse loved to tinker with machines and scientific problems, developing a wide range of talents that would make him the "American Leonardo." During a trip to Europe in 1830, he observed the French semaphore system for sending messages, as Morse described, "by telegraphic despatch" faster than the slow mail in the US. He believed that an electric spark could send messages faster than the French semaphores ( see Telegraphs before Morse) During the return voyage to the US on the ship Sully in October and November 1832, Morse designed his telegraph using a simple code of dots and dashes. These would be recorded on paper tape by an electromagnetic lever moving a pencil up and down according to changes in the electric current sent from a distant transmitter. Morse apparently was unaware of earlier telegraphs based on the discoveries of Volta, Oersted, and Ampère.
      His first device built in 1835 used a pencil and paper tape to record electric signals transmitted by a "portrule" metal bar device. The portrule was like the barrel organ; teeth represented digits that would be used to reconstruct words. The original code for the digit "1" was a single dot, represented on the portrule as a single tooth. The code for the digit "6" was a dot followed by a dash, represented on the portrule as a single tooth followed by an empty space. The teeth were loaded into the portrule like movable type. When the teeth touched a contact point, an electrical current went to the receiver where an electromagnet suspended from a canvas-stretcher frame moved a pencil, recording a wavy line on paper tape that corresponded to the teeth opening and breaking the circuit.
      The direct-current electricity came from gravity batteries that were the weak point in the 1835 model. With the help of Leonard Gale who had read Joseph Henry's 1831 article on electromagnetism, the original one-cell battery was replaced with a 20-cell battery, and 100 turns of wire were wound around the electromagnet. By 03 October, 1837, the device could transmit through 15 km of wire, and Morse file a patent caveat. Gale owned a share of the patent, as well as a new partner, Arthur Vail, who helped redesign and improved the telegraph for a successful demonstration on 06 January 1838, at Vail's Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey, transmitting 3 km the sentence: "Railroad cars just arrived, 345 passengers."
      By the time of the next demonstration on 24 January at New York University, Morse developed a new code with dots and dashes representing letters rather than digits. Vail's family later claimed that Arthur Vail invented the Morse code, but Vail himself denied it and wrote that Morse invented the code. Vail's most important contribution was to replace the portrule with a hand-operated key that reproduced the code by means of a pattern of clicks. On 21 February 1838, Morse demonstrated his telegraph to President Van Buren and the Cabinet in Washington. To help sell his telegraph to the government, Morse accepted the partnership of Francis O.J. "Fog" Smith, Chairman of the Committee on Commerce.
1849 Morse telegraph      However, Congress would not pass the bill to spend $30'000 for a telegraph line until 03 March 1843. Ezra Cornell was hired to lay the underground pipe for the wires from Washington to Baltimore using a trenching plow of his own design. When the pipe was found to be defective, Morse put the wires on overhead poles as Dyar had done in Long Island and Wheatstone in England. The double wires were insulated with gum shellac and raised on the chestnut poles 7 m high and 60 m apart, starting north from Washington in March, 1844, reaching Annapolis Junction by the time the Whig convention met on 01 May in Baltimore. When Clay and Freylinheusen won the nomination, the news was telegraphed by Vail in Annapolis Junction to Morse at the Capitol in Washington.

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      On 24 May 24 was finished and Morse sent to Baltimore the code for “What hath God wrought!” (chosen by Annie Ellsworth from Numbers 23:23). Telegraph operators quickly learned to send and receive solely from the sound of the clicks rather than use paper tape.
[Telegraph Register, 01 May 1849 patent # 6420 by Morse >]
      Morse was not the first to invent a telegraph, but he is known as the “father” of the telegraph because he created a new industry. Hiram Sibley and Ezra Cornell made Western Union into one of the most influential corporate empires in American history. The electric telegraph was the stimulus for inventors to search for better methods of sending and recording all kinds of messages, including voice and music. David E. Hughes, a Professor of Music at St. Joseph's College in Kentucky, invented in 1855 a keyboard telegraph with rotating type-wheel printer that became the foundation of the modern telex industry. In Germany, telegraph printers were patented as early as 1848 and Philip Reis invented an acoustic transmitter in 1861 that used a diaphragm to open and close an electrical circuit. He called it a “telephone” hoping to use it to reproduce speech and music but was unsuccessful. Elisha Gray and his Western Electric Company in Chicago had also invented an improved telegraph receiver, calling it a “telephone” after 1874 because it produced a wide range of sounds, but failed make a similar transmitter. [Morse coder]

Self Portrait (1812; 76x64cm) — Self Portrait (1818)
“The Muse”Mrs. and Mr. Terry — The Goldfish Bowl
Lucretia MorseMrs. Kahlenkamp
— Chapel of the Virgin at SubiacoNiagara Falls

William Cullen Bryart (1830; 600x515pix, 43kb_ ZOOM not recommended to blurry 1400x1202pix, 98kb)
CongressJames Monroe (1820)
Lucretia Morse and her Children (1824) — Gallery of the Louvre (1833)
^ Baptized as an infant on 02 April 1648: Cornelis Huysmans van Mechelen, Flemish painter who died on 01 June 1727.
— He was the son of a builder, Hendrik Huysmans, and Catharina van der Meyden. After their deaths he was brought up by his uncle, who may have apprenticed him to the landscape painter Gaspard de Witte [1624–1681] or to Cornelis Huysman’s half-brother Pieter. He moved to Brussels to be trained by Jacques d’Arthois, who, on Huysmans’s own testimony, was the most important influence on his development as a painter. On 24 January 1682 he married Maria Anna Schepers in Mechelen and in 1688 signed an agreement with the Mechelen painters’ guild, which allowed him, upon payment of 24 guilders and 14 stuivers, to practise his trade there. Perhaps some difficulties he experienced with the guild encouraged his move to Antwerp, where he became a master in 1706–1707. In 1716 he returned to Mechelen, where he took on Augustus-Casimir Redel and Jean Edmond Turner as students.
— Born in Antwerp, son of the architect Hendrick Huysmans. Student in Antwerp of Jasper de Witte and then in Brussels of Jacques d’Arthois for whom he also worked as an assistant for a time. He was still living in Brussels in 1681, but in 1682 he settled in Mâlines, where he married Anna Scheppers on 26 January that year. It may be that he also spent a time in England. In 1702 he went to Antwerp and in 1706-1707 became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke, but returned to Mâlines in 1716, working there until his death.
     Cornelis Huysmans, who was called Huysmans van Mechelen, was a landscape painter and represents the Brussels-influenced decorative landscape painting in Antwerp and Mâlines [= Mechelen]. To a later age he has become an artist to whom over the years a large number of landscapes of a specific character have with more or less justification been attributed, while signed works by him are extremely rare. His younger brother, and possibly student, Jan~Baptist Huysmans [1654-1716] was a landscape painter, too, but has been overshadowed by Cornelis, and it has earlier been difficult to distinguish their works from each other. Now, however, we know of a modest number of signed works by Jan Baptist (dated between 1690 and 1700), just sufficient for outlining his style. It may become possible to distinguish some of the works now known under the name of Cornelis as being by Jan Baptist, thereby contributing to a clearer picture of Cornelis’ oeuvre. A landscape which until recently was for considered typical of Cornelis Huysmans, now seems to be of Adriaen van der Cabel [1631-1705].

— Mountainous Landscape (561x700pix, 149kb) — Forested Landscape (639x725kb, 156kb)
— Landscape with a Horseman in a Clearing (764x688pix, 141kb)
Landscape with a Ruined Tower (81x118cm; 575x825pix, 212kb)
— Paysage Animé (56x72cm; 410x530pix, 58kb)
Wooded Landscape I (81x116cm; 575x841pix, 220kb)
— Wooded Landscape II  (55x81cm; 285x416pix, 26kb)

^ Died on a 02 April:

1905 Hjalmar “Magnus” Munsterhjelm, Swedish French artist born on 19 October 1840.

1901 Claude Thomas Stanfield Moore, British artist born on 10 June 1853. — [It is a pity that there are no more Moore moor paintings, or, for that matter, any others that I can find on the internet] — Relative? of Albert Joseph Moore [1841-1893], Henry Moore [1898-1986], or another Henry Moore [1831-1895]

1881 Johannes (or Jan) Tavenraat (or Tavenraet ), Rotterdam Dutch painter born on 20 March 1809. — {Was Tavenraat a tavern rat?} — He was intended to succeed his father in the family cloth-dyeing business. In the evenings he attended classes of the genre painter Cornelis Bakker [1771–1849] at the Rotterdam Hierdoor tot Hoger society (‘The way to higher things’). In 1839 he decided to paint full time and continued his training under Willem Hendrik Schmidt [1809–1849]. Throughout his life Tavenraat traveled in order to paint, visiting Belgium, Germany (following the Rhine), Bohemia, and the Tyrol. From 1842 to 1846 he lived in Antwerp working with Felix de Bovie [1812–1880], a student of Barend Cornelis Koekkoek. He also continued his training under Eugène de Block [1812–1893].

Born on a 02 April:

1837 Johan Conrad Greive, Dutch artist. People did grieve for Greive when he died on 14 May 1891.

1811 William Joseph Shayer Junior, British artist who died in 1892.

1810 Kaspar Karsen (or Karssen), Dutch artist who died on 24 July 1896. — [Do NOT give his initials as KKK]

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