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Edward Burne-Jones
1833-1898 ~ England

The earth, the sky, the rocks, the trees, the men and women of Burne-Jones are not those of this world; but they are themselves a world, consistent with itself, and having therefore its own reality. Charged with the beauty and with the strangeness of dreams, it has nothing of a dream’s incoherence. Yet it is a dreamer always whose nature penetrates these works, a nature out of sympathy with struggle and strenuous action. Burne-Jones’s men and women are dreamers too. It was this which, more than anything else, estranged him from the age into which he was born. But he had an inbred “revolt from fact” which would have estranged him from the actualities of any age. That criticism seems to be more justified which has found in him a lack of such victorious energy and mastery over his materials as would have enabled him to carry out his conceptions in their original intensity. Yet Burne-Jones was singularly strenuous in production.

 

Edward Burne-Jones The Doom Fulfilled

 

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Hieronymus Bosch
1450-1860 ~ Denmark

Bosch produced several triptychs. Among his most famous is The Garden of Earthly Delights. This painting, for which the original title has not survived, depicts paradise with Adam and Eve and many wondrous animals on the left panel, the earthly delights with numerous nude figures and tremendous fruit and birds on the middle panel, and hell with depictions of fantastic punishments of the various types of sinners on the right panel. When the exterior panels are closed the viewer can see, painted in grisaille, God creating the Earth. These paintings—especially the Hell panel—are painted in a comparatively sketchy manner which contrasts with the traditional Flemish style of paintings, where the smooth surface—achieved by the application of multiple transparent glazes—conceals the brushwork. In this painting, and more powerfully in works such as his Temptation of St. Anthony, Bosch draws with his brush. Bosch also produced some of the first autonomous sketches in Northern Europe.

 

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Nicholas Roerich
1874-1947 ~ Russia

During the 1900s (decade) and early 1910s, Roerich, largely due to the influence of his wife Helena, developed an interest in eastern religions, as well as alternative (to Christianity) belief systems such as Theosophy. Both Roerichs became avid readers of the Vedantist essays of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore, and the Bhagavad Gita. The Roerichs’ commitment to occult mysticism steadily increased. It was brought to a new pitch during World War I and the Russian revolutions of 1917, to which the couple, like many Russian intellectuals, attached apocalyptic significance. The influence of Theosophy, Vedanta, Buddhism, and other mystical strains of thought can be seen not only in many of his paintings, but in the many short stories and poems Roerich wrote before and after the 1917 revolutions, including the Flowers of Morya cycle, begun in 1907 and completed in 1921.

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Salvador Dali
1904-1989 ~ Spain

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.[1][2] His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media. Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes”[3] to an “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors. Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.[4]

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Frida Kahlo
1907-1954 ~ Mexico

Following a car  accident, Kahlo abandoned the study of medicine to begin a painting career. She painted to occupy her time during her temporary immobilization. Her self-portraits were a dominant part of her life when she was immobile for three months after her accident. Kahlo once said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”[9] Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits which often incorporate symbolic portrayals of physical and psychological wounds.  Kahlo was also influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, which is apparent in her use of bright colors, dramatic symbolism and primitive style. She frequently included the symbolic monkey. In Mexican mythology, monkeys are symbols of lust, but Kahlo portrayed them as tender and protective symbols.Christian and Jewish themes are often depicted in her work.[21] She combined elements of the classic religious Mexican tradition with surrealist renderings. Kahlo created a few drawings of “portraits,” but unlike her paintings, they were more abstract.

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Remedios Varo Uranga
1908-1963 ~ Spain

Remedios Varo’s mature paintings, fraught with arguably feminist meaning, are predominantly from the last few years of her life. Varo’s partner for the last 15 years of her life, Walter Gruen, dedicated his life to cataloguing her work and ensuring her legacy. The paintings of androgynous characters that share Varo’s facial features, mythical creatures, the misty swirls and eerie distortions of perspective are characteristic of Varo’s unique brand of surrealism. Varo has painted images of isolated, androgynous, auto-biographical figures to highlight the captivity of the true woman. While her paintings have been interpreted as more surrealist canvases that are the product of her passion for mysticism and alchemy, or as auto-biographical narratives, her work carries implications far more significant.


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Ernst Fuchs
1930-present ~ Austria

Between 1950 and 1961, Fuchs lived mostly in Paris, and made a number of journeys to the United States and Israel. His favourite reading material at the time was the sermons of Meister Eckhart. He also studied the symbolism of the alchemists and read Jung’s Alchemy and Psychology. His favourite examples at the time were the mannerists, especially Jacques Callot, and he was also very much influenced by Jan Van Eyck and Jean Fouquet. In 1956 he converted to Roman Catholicism (his mother had him baptized during the war in order to save him from being sent to a concentration camp). In 1957 he entered the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion where he began work on his monumental Last Supper and devoted himself to producing small sized paintings on religious themes such as Moses and the Burning Bush.

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Mati Klarwein

1932-2002 ~ Germany

Much of Klarwein’s most famous work is inspired by surrealism and pop culture, but also reflects his interest in non-Western deities, symbolism, and landscapes. The alleged connection between Klarwein and the so-called psychedelic art of the period is not entirely unfounded, as he has detailed his experience with LSD in his 1988 book Collected Works; however, Klarwein also explains that drugs were never his prime inspirational source,[1] and in one interview, denies their influence entirely. His extensive travels and wide interests (notwithstanding the fact that his style had fully developed before the “psychedelic era”) are further support of his claims. Klarwein claims that his friend Timothy Leary once told him, based on the character of his paintings, that Klarwein “didn’t need psychedelics”.[2]

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Robert Venosa
1936-2011

Robert Venosa has been exhibited worldwide and is represented in major collections, including those of noted museums, rock stars, and European aristocracy. In addition to painting, sculpting, and film design (pre-sketches and conceptual design for the movie Dune, and Fire in the Sky for Paramount Pictures, and the upcoming Race for Atlantis for IMAX), he has recently added computer art to his creative menu. His work has been the subject of three books, as well as being featured in numerous publications – most notably Omni magazine – and on a number of CD covers, including those of Kitarō and progressive metal band Cynic. He is a member of the Society for the Art of Imagination, Surreal Art Collective, and the Labyrinthe group.

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Pablo Amaringo
1938-2009 ~ Peru

Pablo Cesar Amaringo, renowned for his intricate, colourful depictions of his visions from drinking the entheogenic plant brew ayahuasca.[1] He was first brought to the West’s attention by Dennis McKenna and Luis Eduardo Luna, who met Pablo in Pucallpa while traveling during work on an ethnobotanical project. Pablo worked as a vegetalista, a shaman in the mestizo tradition of healing, for many years; up to his death, he painted, helped run the Usko-Ayar school of painting, and supervised ayahuasca retreats.

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