Here are some of the incredibly fabulous works of this architect…and artist…from my hometown, Valencia, Spain…
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Perhaps he is known as the architect of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, yet, he has done many interesting and innovative projects throughout Spain and Europe…
Calatrava is known as an architect of large scale projects. He has received numerous prizes along the course of his career, to include the coveted Premio Principe de Asturias de las Artes in 1999. He was also named Doctor Honoris Causa on several occasions.
He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes from the age of eight, the age when he began his formal preparation as an artist and illustrator. His family sent him to Paris at the age of thirteen as an exchange student. Upon his return to Valencia, he went to the Escuela de Bellas Artes y Oficios de Burjasso and in 1969 began studying architecture at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. He graduated in 1974. Wanting to familiarise himself more with the work of the classical masters, he went to Zúrich in 1975, and studied Civil Engineering at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, from which he graduated in 1979.
Some of his works of architectural art are
In 1983 he designed the Railroad Station of Stadelhofen, which is located in downtown Zürich.
In 1984 he designed the Bac de Roda bridge in Barcelona. Other bridges were the Lusitania in Mérida (1991), the Alamillo of Sevilla (1992) and the 9 de octubre bridge in Valencia (1995).
1989 found Calatrava opening his second office and working in Paris, developing the design of the Railroad Station of the Lyon airport, Estación de Lyon-Saint-Exupéry TGV. And in 1991, he opened his third office, back home in Valencia. It was from there that he began work on a magnum project the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias.
1992: The Communications Tower of Montjuic (Barcelona), as well as one of the bridges of the Exposición Universal de Sevilla, el Puente del Alamillo
2003: He finishes building the Auditorio de Tenerife in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
2009: The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland.
2010: The Roundhouse Building, in Suhr, Switzerland.
2014: Calatrava was selected to work in the reconstruction project of the Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, which was badly damaged during the attacks on 11 SEP 2001.
And so on and so forth. This is one busy architect and a great artist with a vision so clear, so geometrical and so spiritual that I am always delighted by visiting his work. Lucky for me I live in Valencia and very close to the City of Arts and Sciences and I usually visit that area almost every day. The complex is situated where the River Turia once flowed and which is now an urban park. So I go there to bicycle, jog, do some footing or just stroll around with friends. On many nights I also attended the opera at the Palau de les Arts, one of the iconic buildings of the complex…
Architect Santiago Calatrava Valls was born in Benimámet, (Valencia), on the 28th of July 1951.
Of course I will, as customary, feature the works…some…in a short photo montage video…
Here are some of my favourite images of this great master…
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One of the most iconic images in the world today…and has been for a while…is this print by Hokusai, which we call “The Great Wave off Kanagawa“, or simply “The Wave“. It is a woodblock print published sometime between 1829 and 1833…1830 is the agreed date…in what is known as the late Edo period. The wave is quite interesting for many things, one is that you can see birds flying off the crest. Is it that the wave is turning into birds as it reaches the shore? Or is it that the wave is actually birds flying above the coast in the Sagami Bay. And as you can see Mount Fuji, in all its majesty is in the background.
Needless to say, he is quite well known for “The Wave“, but his body of work is enormous and it spans many subjects and themes, to include erotic art, the supernatural, and of course many landscapes. He was somewhat obsessed with Mt. Fuji, and produced two series of images, the first one, “The Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji“, is where “The Wave” comes from (1830). This series is his masterpiece and won him national as well as international fame.
Hokusai, which went by various names, Shunro, Sori, Kako, Taito, Gakyonjin, Iitsu y Manji. These and many more, as it is believed he changed his name around fifty times. In his later periods, circa 1834, he called himself “Gakyō Rōjin”, which can be translated into English as “The Old Man Mad About Art”, (El viejo loco de la pintura).
In the colophon to his 1834 work “One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji“…different from the 1830 series…Hokusai states the meaning of his existence and his thoughts on art:
From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking into account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvellous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own.
Hokusai started painting at the age of 6. Later he became an apprentice at the art of woodblock printing, a style developed in Japan during the XVIIth Century, and which extended itself until the XIXth Century, called ukiyo-e, in which artists created various scenes, e.g. female beauties, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, as well as scenes from history and landscapes, in the woodblocks. In 1804, in Edo…now Tokyo…Hokusai painted a 240m² representation of a Buddhist monk named Daruma. This made him a famous artist. Later, in 1814, he published a series of sketches, which were to become the first volume, of fifteen, known as the HokusaiManga.
By convention, it is agreed that Hokusai was born on the 31st of October 1760 in Edo, (Tokyo), Japan. He went by the name of Tokitarō as a child. His love of art, as well as of nature, led him to paint and create images of what may be considered simple, every-day things and people…
The end of his life found him hard at work at two paintings: “The Dragon of Smoke Escaping from Mt Fuji” and “Tiger in the Snow”. It was early 1849. Also, desiring always to improve, he is said to have declared in his deathbed: “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years … Just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”
Hokusai died on May 10, 1849. He is buried at the Seikyō-ji in Tokyo. Shortly before his death he wrote a haiku…did I mention he was a poet as well…that said: “Though as a ghost, I shall lightly tread, the summer fields”.
I would encourage artists, students of art, art history enthusiasts and one and all to discover more of Hokusai, The Old Man Mad About Art. His work is fascinating and so is his life. I did not want to get into a biographical composition here, I know you can find all the resources online to investigate him. And when you do, please tell me about it. Let us discuss, converse and share ideas, after all that’s what it’s supposed to be about, no?
And, take a look at my companion piece on this great Japanese artist…
These are some of my favourites…well, there are many more…that I wanted to share in this photo-montage video…I hope you like it and more so, I hope you would tell me what you think. What makes El Greco so popular, so different, what does he say to you.
And of course we…our team…would love the likes, the shares and the subscriptions to our YouTube channel, which helps us a lot in getting the word of art out there. We certainly appreciate your support and encouragement here at Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia.
In my opinion, he was modern back in the XVIth Century. He was a prolific painter. He was a busy painter, meaning that he had many requests, many important commissions and sold much. And he was a painter that broke through the canons of his day and did, basically, whatever he wanted to do.
He started off as a painter of icons for the Greek Orthodox Church. El Greco’s iconic work is considered to be in the post-Byzantine style. He did this in the island of Crete, where he lived until he was twenty six. From there he went and spent ten years in Italy, first in Venice and then in Rome. And of course, he learned much from the great Renaissance masters and from the classics.
He actually moved to Rome in the year 1570. There he opened a workshop and did a rather extensive amount of work. One of the benefits was learning from the works of Michelangelo, from whom he learned the elements of Mannerism, which he made his in his own particular way. He then went to Spain and in 1577, moved to Toledo. It was in Toledo that he produced his best known works and where he lived and worked until his death.
One can say…I certainly would…that El Greco is the father of modern expressionism, even cubism some have noted. I am not too convinced about cubism, but definitely, El Greco was not understood in his day. He was way more advanced…meaning that he painted in ways not yet understood…and created his own style. It could be said he practically created his own school because, frankly, he is hard to categorise in accordance to the styles of the XVIth Century. Perhaps those elongated figures and pigmentation come from his early training as a painter of religious icons…
A brief history would tell you that he was born in 1541 in the island of Crete, which was at the time part of the Republic of Venice and called Kingdom of Candia (1205-1645). This is present day Heraklion, Greece. Doménikos Theotokópoulos (Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος), his real name, studied not only the techniques of painting icons, but he improved a bit on them, adding elements of Italian mannerist styles. He also studied the Greek and Latin Classics. And from the beginning he loved books. He left behind a library containing more than 130 volumes to include a Greek Bible and a Vasari annotated book.
While working on a commission, El Greco suddenly took ill and died on the 7th of April 1614. He was buried in the Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, in Toledo, at the age of 73.
For me El Greco is the perfect painter. I am a great admirer of the use of colour, and that was something that El Greco was almost obsessed about, and the representation of people as being what one perceives them to be. El Greco always used excellent materials, to include high quality canvases, and although he used the pigmentation of his day, his colours were rich in oils and his paintings glowed with the light he gave to each of the elements of his compositions…
His education, Greek, Italian, Spanish, his background in painting icons, later his influence by the masters of the High Renaissance in Italy and his coming to genius in Spain, all make of El Greco a unique painter in art history. I visited his museum in Toledo, Spain and I was really impressed by the canvases and how different it is to actually look at the painting than looking at a photograph of the painting. On the original you can see the strength of the colours, on the photographs you have to imagine them…
I hope you will also watch the companion post which is a photo montage video that I’ve prepared with some of my favourite El Greco paintings. And as well some of the paintings that represent the great master in different styles, such as portraiture, something he excelled in.