Pablo Picasso 1881 – 1973
Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, poet, playwright, stage designer and printmaker. He co-founded the Cubist movement an early 20th century avent garde art movement that revolutionised European painting and sculpture. He invented the ‘constructed sculpture’ and was co-inventor of the collage, both similar in there assemblage of different forms of individual elements.
Picasso was born into a middle class family where his father was a painter by trade specialising in naturalistic depictions of birds and wild game. From a very early age it was said Picasso showed an incredible artistic talent, painting seemed to be natural to him. His early adulthood witnessed considerable change in his paintings as he explored different theologies and philosophies and experimenting with different artistic mediums. He is most well known for his surrealism period of the 1920’s and for the amount of works produce, reportedly in the region of 50,000, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, this great number also comes with a down side and Picasso is the most stolen artist with a recorded 1500 pieces listed missing.
Herman Hesse 1877 – 1962
Was a German born writer, poet and painter, from his childhood Hesse was a headstrong character testing the will and patience of his parents on many occasion, having a firm upbringing and stern timetables are accredited to turning a wild spirited child into a young man filled with love for music, poetry, literature and the arts.
He was educated in Switzerland and Germany and was to show early signs of excellence, however it was in the beautifully preserved Maulbronn Abbey school, that Hesse started a rebellious streak which involved conflict with his parents, school and his religious beliefs. It wasn’t until a chance work placement at a book store specialising in philosophy, theology and law that Hesse settles and his creative nature flourished. Having access to all those books and information grabbed Hesse’s attention and a passion was born and has influenced all his great classics.
His best known works, all of which explore spirituality, self knowledge and the individuals quest for authenticity, include ‘Siddhartha’, ‘Steppenwolf’ and ‘The Glass Bead Game’ considered by many as one of Germans greatest contributors to literacy. Herman Hesse was awarded the Nobel peace price for literature in 1946.
Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962
An American diplomat, civil rights activist, writer and political figure serving as First Lady of the United States during her husband Franklin D Roosevelt’s four terms as United States president. A passionate human rights activist that has her the nickname ‘the First Lady of the world’ first coined by president Harry S Truman.
She was born into the prestigious family of Livingston but lost both her parents at a young age. She was educated in both America and London England where it is said the headmistress had an enormous impact on her life. She married Franklin D Roosevelt in 1905 and after her husband had an affaire she became more independent wanting a public life of her own.
Sometimes outspoken always headstrong she redefined the role as First Lady campaigning strongly for civil rights of African and Asian Americans and the World War II refugees. Following he husbands death she would spend the next 17 years in public service becoming the United States very first delegate of the United Nations. Regarded by many as one of the most esteemed women of the world.
Charles Dickens 1812 – 1870
One of England’s greatest literary and social critics creating some of the most loved and well known fictional characters of our time. Born into a family of eight children it was his fathers brief time working as a clerk for the Navy Pay Office that enabled a few years private education for Charles, however Charles’s father was living well above his means and in 1824 was imprisoned in a debtors prison, at the age of twelve Charles was forced to leave school and find employment working a 10hr shift in a warehouse pasting labels, cementing an image that Dickens would recreate so well in future works.
Dickens literacy success began with the publication of the Pickwick Papers and within a few years he had risen to become an internationally celebrated author. For the most part Dickens novels that we know and love today started out as serial publications, mostly monthly, some weekly instalments that pioneered the serial publication that become the Victorian’s standard way of book publication. Because of the serial episode approach, Dickens was able to add flavours and feelings of the time and use the current politics for wit and satire to great effect, developing characters as he went based on his readers reactions. As such, his works become a fascinating insight into Victorian England. His great works of classics fiction include ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and a ‘Tale of Two Cities’ to name but just a few. He is revered by fellow literary artists as one of the all time greats.
Plato 428 – 348BC
Plato was a Classical Greek philosopher and founder of the very first institution for higher learning in the western world. He set up and established the ‘Academy’ in Athens a school where Aristotle himself studied for twenty years.
Plato is widely considered one of the forefathers of western philosophy, spirituality and even influencing western religions. His insights and contributions to our modern world cannot be underestimated, his realist solutions to universal problems now known as Platonism one of the many contributions to modern man.
Along with his teacher Socrates and his student Aristotle the three have set the course of human reasoning into overdrive and a golden Age of Enlightenment has followed. We still base some of our deep rooted ethics and philosophies in our lives from this period.
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