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Salvador Dali

Arts Days: May 11, 1904: The Eccentric Dreamer
The school of artwork we call Surrealism took a radical leap forward when Salvador Dali teamed up with fellow Surrealists in the late 1920s. The Surrealists were rebelling against what they saw as predictable, traditional art, and Dali—who had already been kicked out of art school and was famous for his eccentric behavior and attire—fit right in.

His artworks—including The Persistence of Memory, with its clocks draped over trees, ledges, and what appears to be a piece of bone with a face not unlike Dali’s own— are filled with quirky images, startling contrasts, and symbolism (meaning that one object stood for something else—an idea, a memory, a concept). But some of his images are surprisingly sentimental: People he loved, like Lucia, a woman who took care of him when he was a child, appear frequently in his art.
Europe, Visual Arts, Innovators & Pioneers

Joan Miró

Arts Days: April 20, 1893: Señor of Surreal
The playful works of the Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró are admired and appreciated around the world today, but when he first created them, they shocked viewers. No one had ever seen serious paintings filled with colorful, cartoon-like blobs, some of which looked like animals or eyes or socks floating across the canvas.

Miró, who early in his career painted landscapes and still-lifes of recognizable objects, didn’t care about what people thought about his style of painting. What he cared about was rejecting what he saw as people’s narrow assumptions of what art was…and was not. He was part of a group of artists called the Surrealists, working in the 1920s that was creating art filled with startling, funny, or just plain odd images.
Europe, Visual Arts, Innovators & Pioneers

Raphael

Arts Days: April 06, 1483: Renaissance Man
Raffaello Sanzio is considered one of the finest painters of the Italian Renaissance, which flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries. And so, Raphael needs only one name. His paintings, including The Madonna of the Meadow and The School of Athens (one of the series of paintings in the Vatican’s Stanze di Rafaello, or “Raphael’s rooms”) are filled with trademarks of his signature techniques, from their rich, luminous colors to the graceful placement of his human figures.

Important apprenticeships, combined with his own abundant talent, set the stage for Raphael’s thriving career painting commissioned pieces for churches and royal palaces. There’s also no question he paid attention to what Leonardo da Vinci was doing. But in the end, Raphael’s style—its nod to classic Greek art, the soft light that pervades many of the images—came to be all his own.
Europe, Visual Arts

Leonardo Da Vinci

Arts Days: April 15, 1452: The Da Vinci Mode
Though some assume his last name was “da Vinci,” no one really knows the last name of perhaps the greatest all-around creative genius who ever lived. The left-handed Leonardo was so very good at so many things: painting (the portrait of Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and The Adoration of the Magi ), solving math problems, playing music, and technological inventiveness—he envisioned an early helicopter and other flying machines.

He learned about these subjects while apprenticing with various artists, doctors, and others, but his own curiosity helped him apply all he learned in entirely new ways. His interests fed off of one another. For example, his human anatomy sketches are stunning in their detail and accuracy, and that understanding of how bodies moved helped him to be a better painter. Leonardo also brought his deep understanding of geometry to his art, arranging figures in ways thought to be pleasing to the eye of the spectator. His contributions to art and science are impossible to measure.
Europe, Inventions, Innovators & Pioneers, Visual Arts

Vigeland

Arts Days: April 11, 1869: A Park of One’s Own
Sculptor Gustav Vigeland learned to carve wood when he was just a child, a skill that would serve him well as he moved on to working with different substances, like stone. At the end of the 19th century, he toured Italy and France where he visited the workshop of another great sculptor, Auguste Rodin.

Perhaps his greatest work is Vigeland Park, which came about when he persuaded the city of Oslo to give him a building in which to live and work. In exchange, he would give Oslo all of his subsequent creations. Today, on 80 acres of land, you can visit Vigeland Park, where hundreds of granite and bronze artworks stand, from whimsical statues of dancing babies to the Monolith, a 46-foot high totem depicting dozens of intertwined bodies rising up into the sky.
Europe, Visual Arts

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Educators: Educators Portal
Standards-based instructional resources, how-to's, guides and other supports for teaching with the arts
Education, Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts

Dan-One

Video: Dan-One: Alphabetical Engineer
Graffiti artist Danny ‘Dan-One’ Polonco, a self-described “Alphabetical Engineer,” talks about graffiti art form as a means for self-expression.
Hip-Hop, Popular Culture, Visual Arts

Wakamaru

Video: Japanese Robots!
At the forefront of hyperculture, Japan's robots are at once amazing works of art and fantastic feats of engineering. Japan has been at the vanguard of global robot development and technology since the 1970s and continues to invent new ways these machines can aid, entertain, and inspire mankind.
Asia, Visual Arts, Popular Culture, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Inventions, Science, Puppets

Koji

Video: Koji Kakinuma: Otsukimi
JAPAN! culture + hyperculture was marked by a festive Otsukimi (Japanese moon-viewing) evening featuring a special Millennium Stage performance of Trancework and Eternal Now by shodo performing artist Koji Kakinuma, accompanied by the taiko group AUN.
Asia, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture, Music

Koji

Video: Koji Kakinuma: Trancework
Calligraphy artist Koji Kakinuma presents one of his trademark innovations, Trancework, in which he paints countless repetitions of a simple, powerful phrase, producing a giant calligraphic work.
Asia, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Popular Culture

Matt Alt

Video Series: Matt Alt: Jumbo Machinders
Matt Alt walks you through his extensive collection and explains the art and history of Japanese jumbo machinder toys.
Japan, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Puppets

Mayawa Denke

Video: Maywa Denki
Founded in 1993 by two brothers, Maywa Denki is a performance art troupe with a unique style. Each piece of their work is called a "product" and a live performance or exhibition is held as a "product demonstration." Although they're known and appreciated as artists, their promotion strategies are full of variety - besides exhibitions and live stage performances, they produce music, videos, writing, toys, stationery, and electronic devices.
Asia, Visual Arts, Inventions, Japan, Popular Culture, Science

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