Storyline: The artistic adept switches genders to more directly draw out his/her emotional interior, while embracing the modern world’s technology and its problems from his/her longtime startling sense of form and color.
Shirin Neshat (1957) - Iranian/American photographer, video artist and writer. Outer: Father was a physician. Enjoyed a warm, close upper middle-class upbringing in a westernized household that prized material comfort, and also embraced western ideals. Went to a Catholic boarding school in Tehran, although disliked it. Encouraged by her father, along with her siblings, to pursue her own bliss, she emigrated, along with a sister, to the U.S. to study art, right around the fall of the Shah, which also saw her family lose its privileged status. Wound up at UC Berkeley, where she received her BA, MA and MFA. Moved to NYC afterwards and worked for a nonprofit called Storefront Art and Architecture, where she focused on integrating herself into an alien culture, rather than producing any meaningful work. Finally returned home 11 years after she left, and found Iran virtually unrecognizable, under the religious regime that followed the Iranian Revolution. Came back to NYC, which would now be her permanent base, while she used art as a means to reclaim her progressive sense of Islam, with Persian calligraphy a prime component of her creations. Her photographic series “Women of Allah” explored the social, political and psychological elements of the repressed feminine in Islamic societies, from an emotional rather than a polemical viewpoint. In 1996, she began working in film, and producing split-screen video installations, on the male/female dynamic in Islamic societies, using counterpointing images, as well more traditional modes of storytelling, with one word titles to her works. Won first prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999 with Turbulent, and has since garnered a number of awards, with her dramatic and sensuous sense of imagery and her striking use of both sound and visuals to form and inform her strong esthetic. After the turn of the century, she expanded into multimedia, as well as collaboration and feature-length works. Continues to maintain her ongoing desire to frame the context of her larger vision within both the feminine and her own sense of loss and gain through being both an expatriate and the product of an ancient culture and religion, whose adherents have long struggled against giving women their due. Inner: Strong sense of confidence, strength and individuality. Very tuned into the tensions between cultural collectivity and individual concerns, with a far greater desire to elicit visceral emotional responses than intellectual ones. Transmorphing lifetime of re-engaging the world from the vantage of being both female and a religious and cultural Other, after many a towering go-round of being in the very epicenter of the art world of his/her times. Henri Matisse (1869-1954) - French artist. Outer: From a family of weavers who ingrained within him a sense of duty towards his work. Father was a grain merchant. Suffered from poor health, which exempted him from military service, while showing little interest in art for his first two decades. At his parents’ behest, he studied for the law, and became a clerk in a law office, then took up painting following a severe attack of appendicitis in 1890, after his mother gave him a box of paints. Immediately realized it would be his life’s work, despite initial parental objections, while retaining his bourgeois, conservative outer image his entire existence. Moved to Paris, and used the Louvre as his primary source of self-schooling, by copying the old masters there. Originally evinced a traditional style, seemingly moving through the recent his/story of painting in order to securely ground himself in the avant-garde of the 20th century. His early successes increased his confidence, and he began experimenting more, lightening his palette, and loosening his line. Had a daughter, Marguerite, by a mistress, who become his life’s mainstay. Taught her to paint, and she also served as his model. In 1898, he married a woman from higher provincial social circles, Amelie Parayre, who was soon told their union would be secondary to his art. Amerlie adopted his daughter, two sons from union, one became a sculptor, the other, Pierre, a legendary art dealer, and all 3 children were close to their father, as were their children. Left Paris for a year, visiting London and the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which increased his sense of color. Became interested in Pointillism and started studying sculpture, so that he could work in three dimensions. Abandoned the traditional Salon, and began frequenting modern art circles. His first one-man show was a failure, and Amelie had to open a dress shop to make ends meet. The marriage eventually became openly antagonistic the more successful he became and she eventually separated from him after several decades. Weakened by bronchitis, he abandoned pointilism, and began doing the simple, colorful work for which he is known. Dubbed one of the Fauvists or wild beasts by a critic, he became leader of that very first 20th century manifestation of modern art. Important collectors began buying his works, and he found financial stability from art for the first time, becoming an international figure by 1908. Visited Morocco, which opened him up even more to the potentials of color. Lived mainly in southern France from 1916 onwards, establishing himself in Nice. Went to his studio every day he wasn’t traveling, a creature of habitual work patterns, which had been instilled in him from a young age. Drew endlessly, with art as his complete life focus. Had numerous dalliances, despite his overt respectable image. As he grew older, he retreated more into his work, and searched for new mediums in which to explore his passion for pure color. Expanded into ceramics, sculpture, etching, drypoint, lithography, and printmaking, becoming much more of a graphic artist. Suffered a near fatal intestinal disorder in the early 1940s, which rendered him a permanent invalid. His wife and daughter were both active in the Resistance during WW II, with the latter captured and tortured. Suffered from asthma and heart trouble, and was bedridden towards the end of his life, while being cared for by a Russian woman who had been one of his models. Felt his masterpiece was a small chapel he created in the village of Vence in the early 1950s. Filled with anxiety by life’s near-end, feeling his only real emotional outlet was his oeuvre. Worked right up until the end of his outwardly colorless and inwardly color-enriched life, creating huge paper cutouts, while maintaining an unsurety about his true place in the world of art, despite being one of the giants of the 20th century. Died in his apartment of heart failure, surrounded by his daughter, doctor, secretary and a nurse. Inner: Intellectual, extremely disciplined, with a great passion for the new and undiscovered. Outwardly cold and austere, inwardly passionate about his work, which loomed as far more important than anything else in his life. Largely reticent, with a low voice, that came alive when speaking of art. Continually drove both himself and his models beyond endurance, in his need to penetrate far beneath surfaces. Suffered continual panic attacks and insomnia in his inability to be satisfied with his work. Felt an artist had to look at life without prejudices, like a child, otherwise he loses his presonal point of view. Brushed over lifetime of exploring pure color in his ongoing evolution as an artistic vehicle for his own visionary view of the world, while eschewing all real intimacies save for himself and his work. Eugene Delacroix (Ferdinand-Victor-Eugene Delacroix) (1798-1863) - French painter. Outer: Father was a lawyer and government official, who had been active in the French Revolution, mother was the descendant of cabinet-makers to France’s royal houses. The duo had three older children, and had been married for two decades, so that his sire was 57 and his mother was 40 when he was born. Rumored to be the son of statesman Talleyrand (Francois Mitterand), who had lived in their house, and may have served as a surrogate after his father had undergone an operation to remove a tumor. Wound up looking far more like Talleyrand than his own parents. At two, his family moved to Marseille, where his sire was a prefect. Greatly admired his progenitor, who died when he was 7, while his mother passed on a decade later, after having returned to Paris, while one brother died in battle during the Napoleonic Wars. Following a trip to the Louvre at 10, he knew he would be a painter. Pursued classical studies and always had a passion for music and the theater. Deeply affected by the Romantic movement, he resolved to put its emotionality in his works, and reflected it in his physicality, with thick, dark hair, fierce eyes, pale olive skin, and an exotic beauty about him. Studied in France, as well as England, and befriended Richard Bonington (Paul Cezanne), as well as numerous other romanticists in the various arts, although never considered himself one. Overwork caused a serious illness in his early 20s. Had several mistresses of refinement and taste, although never married, once more wedded primarily to his art. May also have been bisexual. Uninvolved in the cultural battles of his times, he preferred instead to put put all his energy into his craft. Found his earliest source of inspiration in his/storical works, then turned to exotica to bring out his rich sense of coloration and feeling. By 1825, he was a celebrity, thanks to an ongoing capacity to learn from others. The same year he visited England for three months, which allowed him to throw off the last of the strictures of the French Academy, and to become a full-fledged romantic. After 11 of his paintings, including the lushly melodramatic “Death of Sardanapalus,” were selected for the 1827 salon, he was savaged by the critics as well as the head of the Academie des Beaux-Artes, which would ordinarily signal the death knell of an artist in France, but his support among the romantics, as well as the English, allowed him to continue to pursue his vibrant vision. Commemorated the July Revolution of 1830, which forced Charles X (Luc Besson) to abdicate with the iconic, “Liberty Leading the People,” perhaps his most-viewed work, as an emblem of French patriotic zeal. A 7 month trip to Morocco in 1832 gave him his ideal visual milieu, and he used the memorable images and sensuous colors he experienced there throughout the rest of his career, in the same way he would his next life in this series. Although his paintings offended public taste, he received commissions by the government for large decorations, which he executed with his usual color-filled panache. His large-scale work on ceilings eventually affected his health and wore him down, the second life in this series to have done so, symbolically indicating an overreach to the worlds above him. His later years were also marred by the deaths of many of his close friends, and a sense of being depleted. Finally given academic recognition at the near-end of his life, before wearing himself out with his work and dying in his studio, tended by his final female companion, Jenny Le Guillou. Probably died of tubercular laryngitis. Inner: Stoical, haughty, cultured and intellectual with an appreciation for all the arts. Maintained a polite patrician facade, which hid a violent irrational urge underneath that found expression in some of his subject matter. Had far more of a passion for friendship than intimate linkage or marriage, although often professed to be looking for a soul-mate. The menace and mystery of the universe were his prime subject matter. Kept a personal journal that showed a deep understanding of music, theater and literature, as well as acute critical sensibilities. Color besotted lifetime of turning his pure sensibilities to monumental canvases, completing the bridge from his mastery of sculpture to painting, while making everything else secondary to his pursuit of his own inner visions. M. Quentin de La Tour (Maurice Quentin de la Tour) (1704-1788) - French artist. Outer: Father was a cantor to a collegiate church. Came to Paris at the age of 18, but was unable to establish himself. Went to London, instead, at the invitation of the English ambassador and became a portrait painter there. Returned to Paris at 20, and turned to pastel portraiture, currently in vogue, and was admitted to the French Academy in his early 30s. Continually exhibited at the Salon and became one of the most celebrated artists of his time, receiving all sorts of commissions from the wealthy, cultured and powerful. Greatly interested in technique, experimenting with fixatives to try to make pastels as permanent as oils. Never married, once again wedding himself to his art; a longtime mistress was a singer. Always tried to represent what he saw, and his portraits were noted for his acute psychological insight. His prices were often exorbitant, indicating his own high self-regard, but he also founded an art school later in life as well as several charitable organizations. Became mentally deranged during most of his last two decades and eventually had to be confined to his home, reduced to a childlike senility. Inner: Extremely self-assertive and rude, even to the king. Probably saw himself in an extremely elevated state, which necessitated the exaggerated counter-balance of his end-life’s severe reduction of his capabilities. Painstaking, impudent, with a strong sense of his own self-worth. Complete circle lifetime of exploring his own sense of vision through portraiture, and, despite his overwhelming success, ultimately tempering his monumental artistic self-involvement with the true childishness that lay behind it, while disassociating himself from his earlier deep religiosity to begin a far more secular series of existences. Gian Bernini (Gian Lorenzo Bernini) (1598-1680) - Italian sculptor, architect, painter and playwright. Outer: Son of a Florentine sculptor of Tuscan origin who worked in the Mannerist style and with whom he studied. Mother was a Neapolitan. Accompanied his father to Rome at the age of 7, and immediately showed his enormous gift, earning the patronage of the papacy, via the latter’s nephew, a cardinal. Slim and dark-complexioned. Avoided the sun for fear of migraines, and ate only a small plate of meat a day, coupled with copious amounts of fruit. Studied the classic sculpture of antiquity, as well as High Renaissance painting and opened his own studio, showing great organizational skills from early on. Built on his Michelangelo life, and then exceeded it, with his sense of color and texture, becoming an unsurpassed master of the new Baroque style. Under Pope Urban VIII, he expanded into painting and architecture, although sculpture would remain his most enduring craft. Organized his studio so that his assistants could blend seamlessly into his vision. Fervently Catholic, he attended mass every day, and took communion twice a week. Expanded his outlay into tombs and fountains, continually showing his inventiveness and sure grasp of shape. Only in architecture did his gifts fail him, suffering temporary disgrace when the weight of his bell towers cracked the building of St. Peter’s and had to be taken down. Also expanded into writing for the theater, using the same integrative elements in his art to totally involve his audience, including the use of real fire, and once even flooded the stage through cleverly designed sluices. His works became even more spectacular as he matured, as he refashioned Rome into a Baroque city. When he discovered his mistress was having an affair with his younger brother, he tried to kill the latter with a crowbar, then hired someone to disfigure her, even though she was wed to one of his assistants at the time. Married Caterina Tezio, the daughter of a prominent lawyer, in his early 40s, after the pope ordered him to settle down, 11 children from union, of whom 9 survived. Took one extended trip to France in 1665, and people lined the streets to see him, although his criticism of the French sense of form alienated the monarchy and his designs were turned down. Ultimately served eight popes, and influenced European sculpture and architecture for the next two centuries. Revolutionized marble busts in particular, bringing them alive and out of their rigid stillness. Paralysis finally stilled his hand towards the end, and he died full of honors. Probably felt he had taken sculpture as far as he could for the moment, allowing him to move on to sheer form and color in his next set of lives in this series. Inner: Completely self-assured in all he undertook as an integrator of the arts. As always, his personal relationships were secondary to his absolute dedication to his work. Jealous and competitive, with a strong streak of self-righteousness. Extremely well-organized and highly disciplined, with a great need to be caretaker of his own myth. Able to carry on conversations, while deeply engaged in his work, so deep was his concentration on what he was doing. Towering lifetime of bridging the Renaissance into the world of the Baroque, and once more dominating the artistry of his times through his absolute focus on his work, and his conscious continuation of his two earlier lives in this series, in which his religiosity tempered his personality and his own godlike sense of self. Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti) (1475-1564) - Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. Outer: Born into an old Florentine family who had been small-scale bankers. Father was an occasional government administrator, and probably initially disapproved of his son’s desire for an artistic career. Had his nose flattened in a fight as a youth, and was always touchy about his appearance afterwards. Served a brief apprenticeship to Domenico Ghirlandajo, leaving him after a year. Taken into the household of Lorenzo de’ Medici (Abraham Lincoln) in 1490, where he was introduced to neoplatonic ideals, and his mind blindingly expanded by an all-star medieval A-list cast of artists. Also strongly influenced by the apocalyptic vision of the tragic destiny of humankind by the ultimately martyred monk, Savonarola (Martin Heidigger), which showed in his later work. Worked in Bologna, then in Rome for 5 years, before returning to Florence, at century’s turn, where he worked in concert with Leonardo da Vinci (Gordon Parks), who opened him up to a far more fluid style, allowing him to do the spectacular statue of David in 1504, a motif he had earlier explored as Donatello. After its success, he only took on large, vast projects, although refused to have assistants help him, rendering many of his ambitious undertakings unfinished. In 1505, he was called back to Rome and asked to do a sepulchral monument for Pope Julius II (Peter Jackson), which was his most frustrating work experience. Quarreled with the irascible pope, then as penance did a gigantic bronze portrait of him, which was melted down for a cannon shortly afterwards. Asked by the pontiff to do the ceiling for the Sistine Chapel, a monumental work that still stands as one of the world’s most sublime pieces of art, which he began in 1508, giving the world the memorable of God and Adam electrically touching fingers. An outed homophile, he had one deep relationship with a young nobleman, to whom he dedicated many sonnets and drawings. Continued to work on the Sistine Chapel, which ultimately ruined his health, spending many years flat on his back on platforms. Worked for succeeding popes, who were both members of the de’ Medici family, Leo X (David O. Selznick) and Clement VII (Joachim von Ribbentrop), doing a marble chapel for them. During the seige of Florence in the late 1520s, he designed fortifications, showing an understanding of defense structures. His father and favorite brother died in 1531, and he began contemplating his own mortality. Left Florence for the last time in 1534, and spent his last three decades in Rome. Became chief architect of St. Peter’s, which turned into a dual lifetime project. Although primarily a sculptor, he also wrote poetry, and did extensive drawings. Shortly before his death, he ordered many of the latter to be burned, along with some of his papers, in an attempt to preserve his aura of complete originality. Became far more devout as he grew older, and concentrated more on architecture and poetry, in a quieter and quieter existence. Wore a hair shirt beneath his outer clothing so as to mimic the trials of St. John the Baptist. After his death, his body was secretly taken back to Florence. Inner: Dual character: Kind, gentle and compassionate, and at other times surly and suspicious, with a legendary temper. Difficult to work for, he went through a host of assistants. Had moral doubts about himself, and often struggled within, realizing his own imperfections. Subject to the whims of patrons and jealousies of other artists, which further tempered his own self-view. Touched by the angels lifetime of producing monumental works for the ages, while struggling to re-sculpt his own inner soul through a great love of God and an acknowledgment of his own weaknesses. Donatello (Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi) (c1386-1466) - Italian sculptor. Outer: Son of a Florentine wool carder, who was ultimately banished from Florence and had all his property confiscated for politically running afoul of the powerful de’ Medici family. Learned stone carving, then briefly joined the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti (Frank Lloyd Wright). Probably a homophile, never married, while his interior was quite hidden. Friendly competitor of Filippo Brunelleschi (Gordon Parks), with whom his relations eventually became extremely strained, because of differing styles. Went to Rome with him, where he got his knowledge of classical forms. Returned to Florence around 1405, and his masterworks began appearing in his late 20s, when, for the first time since antiquity, the human form was rendered real and full of personality. Invented new techniques for his statuary, laboring in wood, bronze and marble. Had a large stable of trained assistants, and worked in every medium and on every scale. Unlike his predecessors whose statuary was largely impersonal, his people were cruelly realistic, facial flaws and all, while their bodies were also reflective of life, rather than immobilized perfect forms. Went to Rome again in 1433 to refresh himself in classical art, then returned to Florence and executed his bronze David, the first nude statue of the Renaissance, and the first executed independent of any architectural surroundings. This work would be the highlight of his classical period, and it would also be a subject he would repeat in his next go-round in this series, to even more monumental effect. Despite his father’s contretemps with the de’ Medicis, he would subsequently be employed by them again and again, thanks to his obvious transcendental abilities. Moved to Padua in 1443, where his volume of labor was interrupted by illness, which seems to have added a whole other emotional depth to his last works. Spent a decade there, while also visiting other Northern Italian cities, and ran a huge workshop, with a host of assistants for his many commissions. Returned to Florence, and remained there for the rest of his life, save for one brief trip to Siena, serving his longtime patrons, the de’ Medici, in his very last projects. His reputation would sink during later epochs, only to be revived in the 19th century, when his obvious genius could no longer be denied. Inner: Dedicated humanist, capturing flesh in the materials of the earth. Had boundless energy, and was bold and decisive in his work, although left no record of his interior, preferring the outer realm of form and contour to internal musings. Bedrock lifetime of taking sculpture out of its medieval service to the Church, and into the realm of glorifying the transcendent form of humanity, while beginning a tri-part series of long-lived existences that would directly build on one another. Nicola Pisano (c1220-c1283) - Italian sculptor. Outer: Early life unrecorded, although probably apprenticed in an established workshop, and eventually settled in Pisa, where his first works showed the strong influence of Roman antiquity. Assimilated all the sculptural expression that had gone before him in order to create a unified whole in his subsequent pulpits, combining Christian frescoes, local traditions, antiquity, and French Gothic. May have visited the latter country. As his work matured, he was able to invest a strong emotionality into it, while introducing a new sense of realism that opened the way for all the sculptors who followed him. Had a workshop of assistants, including his son Giovanni (Jackson Pollock), who worked closely with him. His end-life was unrecorded. Inner: Highly innovative with a strong sense of the dramatic, and the ability to coalesce everything he saw into a revolutionary new style. Bridge lifetime of giving Italian sculpture its formative base, combining classical models with a Northern Gothic style, upon which he would later expand in his succeeding trio of lives as the pre-eminent sculptor of Western civilization. Myron (fl. c480-440BZ) - Greek sculptor. Outer: Largely unrecorded existence, save for his works. Lived most of his life in Athens, although he was not born there. The first sculptor to achieve lifelike expression in his work. Worked almost exclusively in bronze, with athletes as his speciality, most notably Discobolus, a discus thrower. Inner: Versatile and innovative. Totally immersed in the human form, and was able to achieve a godlike sense of humanity in action. Largely hidden lifetime of recreating humanity in all its divine physical potential, and creating the first in a most memorable series of existences dedicated to building on his extraordinary artistic skills.


Storyline: The self-referential and self-reverential maestro searches for immortality through his rare gifts and sacrifices everyone in his path to the deities of fame and fortune.

Pablo Picasso (Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Nepomuceno Paria de los Remedios de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso) (1881-1973) - Spanish painter, ceramist, and sculptor. Outer: The birth doctor blew cigar smoke into his nostrils, when it was thought he was born dead. Father was an Andalusian art school instructor, mother was of Italian origin, and the two were physical opposites, with the former tall and blonde, and the latter short and dark. Two younger sisters, with the second dying at 4 of diphtheria. Grew up in a household of 5 woman, with his mother worshiping him. An early failure in school, he was initially unable to read or write, although he was already drawing and painting at 7, at which point he began studying under his father, who allowed him to finish some of his own work. Short, but with boundless energy, and so accomplished, that at 13, his father gave him his palette, brushes and colors and swore never to paint again. A precocious draftsman, he was admitted to advanced classes at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona at 15. At 19, he went to Paris, and spent most of his next 4 decades there, as a central icon of its art world. Worked in overlapping periods, beginning with his blue period, where he depicted the milieu of the poor. His rose period followed, with a lighter palette, more lyrical painting, and subjects taken largely from circus life. Also did engravings and began sculpting during the first decade of the 20th century. Experimented with cubism next, breaking down existing patterns and forms, and his paintings became more severe, with elements restructured, while his later works in this phase were more representational. After WW I, he was inspired by more classical themes, and did monumental nudes, then began exploring emotionality, particularly agony, with Guernica, in 1937, a powerful anti-war, anti-fascist statement as the pinnacle of this twixt world wars period. His further oeuvre was more fantastical and comic. Fascinated with African sculpture throughout his life, he also worked with collages. His final output was simplistic, reducing everything to their base elements. Had hordes of mistresses, and he eventually married in his mid-30s. His first wife was Olga Khoklova, a Russian ballerina, one son from the highly conventional union, in which he played the haut bourgeois gentleman, before dipping into the demimonde around him. Remained married to her until her death in 1955, for fear of having to share his wealth with her through divorce, although their connection was over by the early 1920s. Had three other children by his mistresses, including two with Francoise Gilot, who later married Dr. Jonas Salk. One son committed suicide, and a daughter, Paloma, became a successful jewelry designer. His most noted mistress was photographer and painter, Dora Maar, whose anguished face served as an image in Guernica, as well as for his iconic Weeping Woman series. Their affair lasted from 1936 to 1943, during which time she said, “After Picasso, only God.” His last marriage in his early 80s, was to Jacqueline Roque, who committed suicide 13 years after his death. Treated all his women abominably, with his genius probably his most enduring attractive feature to them. Probably bisexual as well. Saw himself in Dominique Ingres, an earlier life in this series. Obsessed with death, he never made out a will in order to insure his immortality, which also caused huge court battles when he died. Moved to the south of France for the last two and a half decades of his long life, and in his declining years, he rarely left his estate, which was surrounded by barbed wire, and was filled and cluttered with all sorts of visual detritus. Never threw anything away, and never permitted an object to be touched, once he had put it down somewhere. Remained active into his 90s, doing mostly drawings and prints, and died of a pulmonary edema. Probably the preeminent artist of the 20th century, and the last of the medievalists, working with his hands and barbed wired heart, rather than the technology of modern times. Inner: Pan figure, totally self-involved, and with a great need to constantly create in order to justify his ongoing existence. A creature of habit, he rarely varied his routines. Made the people around him emotionally dependent on him, using his seductiveness to capture them, and then withdrawing to control them. Saw the universe as evil; each day was a struggle for him, with only his creatvity as a salve to his ongoing inner darkness. Completely anti-religious, with himself as his one and only God. Constantly experimenting sexually, and continually fascinating with what he hadn’t yet tried, but, in the end, he always put his output above everything else.. Extremely aware of what his work was worth, he constantly manipulated the market to extract its highest monetary compensation, while purposefully withholding work to create an ongoing demand for his oeuvre. Self-deifying lifetime of unprecedented productivity and absolute control of his immediate environment, while his unintegrated emotionality went into his canvases rather than his relationships, in his desire for immortality at all costs. Dominique Ingres (Jean-August-Dominique Ingres) (1780-1867) - French painter. Outer: Son of a decorative sculptor, who was also a musician and portraitist. His father taught him the rudiments of painting and made him learn the violin. Sent off to school, which closed down during the French Revolution. Spent his subsequent time compensating for his lack of formal education with a never-ending obsession with auto-didactic study. Entered the Academy of Toulouse at 11 to become a painter, supporting himself by playing a violin in an orchestra, and his musicianship stayed with him his entire life. Idolized Raphael, an earlier life of his. Went to Paris in 1797 and studied under the neoclassical master, Jacques-Louis David (Abel Gance) in his well-known school. Won several prizes, including the coveted Prix de Rome, and was exempted from military service. Became engaged to the daughter of a judge, who was also a fellow student, and finally went to Rome in 1806, spending 14 years there, with an additional 4 in Florence. His early paintings which were shown at an exhibition in Paris were negatively termed revolutionary, and he became quite bitter, although he continued with the cool clarity of his classical style as opposed to the popular romantic trend of the time. Broke off his engagement when his intended’s father-in-law demanded he return to Paris, and stayed in French-occupied Italy instead, living on a meagre income, but continuing to develop his uniquely crystalline style, endlessly copying from ancient masters. In his early 30s, he married Madeleine Chapel, a milliner, their first-born died and the two remained childless, but mutually happy. After the fall of the Emperor Napoleon in 1814, he remained in Italy, while his work continued to be attacked back in France, much to his distress. An exquisite draftsman, he saw line as a key to art. Had a long/running feud with his chief rival, romanticist Eugene Delacroix (Henri Matisse). Finally, but uncertainly, he returned to France in 1834, leaving his devoted wife behind, and was greeted with honor for his latest work, given an award by the king, and subsequently opened his own studio. His wife rejoined him, more honors followed, including the presidency of an art academy. Although his portraits of the rich and powerful were his bread’n’butter, he despised doing them, despite investing his genius in them. A cool reception to his further work, however, sent him back to Rome, where he asked for and received the directorship of French Academy there. Returned to Paris in triumph in 1841, but his wife died of a blood ailment in 1849. Deeply bereaved, to the point where his friends didn’t think he would survive the loss, but nevertheless, he remarried happily once again 2 years later to Delphine Ramel, and the rest of his life was an unbroken series of successes, including being made Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, and culminating with his appointment as senator in 1862. Continued working until the end of his long life, until he died of pneumonia. Inner: Extremely self-assured, but stern, prickly and humorless. Brusque, dogmatic, and unable to deal with opposition. Passionate, and often anxiety ridden, breaking out in boils and ulcers over pictorial problems. Supremely self-involved lifetime of following his own artistic instincts, and enjoying intimate heartfelt support in gaining the rank and honor he felt he deserved, after early struggles. Giovanni Tiepolo (1696-1770) - Italian artist. Outer: Father was in the shipping business but died when son was one. The family, however, was left in comfortable circumstances. Had a provincial education, then studied with an artist whose primary interest was grandiose academic decoration, and he developed a melancholic, dramatic style of light colors playing off of dark ones. In his early 20s, he married Maria Guardi, the sister of artist Francesco Guardi (Marc Chagall), and the union produced 9 children, two of whom, Giovanni and Lorenzo, later worked in his studio. Mastered a wide variety of forms and styles through an intensive study of contemporaries and old masters, particularly Paolo Veronese, a past life of his, which helped him brighten his palette and expand his own esthetic. Received numerous commissions to decorate palaces and churches around Venice. A prodigious sketcher, he carefully worked out all his designs, and continually experimented with and augmented his technique, as well as expanded his education so that he could use classic myth, his/story and allegory in his oeuvre. Did portraits, mythological works, his/storical tableau, devotional pictures, altarpieces and ceiling decorations in the Baroque style, as the last of the great Renaissance masters. Was recognized by his mid-30s as the most brilliant fresco artist in Italy, with patrons vying for his services. Won international acclaim in his late 40s with a series of frescoes based on Cleopatra (Clare Booth Luce) themes. Summoned by the German prince bishop in 1750, he decorated the ceilings and staircases of the Kaisersaal there. Invited by the Spanish king to Madrid, and went there in 1762 with two of his sons to decorate the royal palace with allegorical frescoes, which would be his final work. Died afterwards in Madrid. Inner: Workaholic, with a great desire to master all decorative forms, but looked backward, rather than forward for his inspiration, bringing to conclusion the pictorial traditions of the previous three centuries. Once again, used a former life as his foundation, continuing his personal tradition of self-reference. Placater of the sensibilities of the aristocracy, rather than a provoker of them. Wry, witty, but more than willing to please, seeing the truth as secondary to pure composition. Backward-looking lifetime of exploring his pure sense of decoration and color, bringing to a conclusion the High Renaissance tradition. Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (1528-1588) - Outer: Son of a stonecutter, he was apprenticed to his uncle in that trade, taking his name from his birthplace. Because of his marked interest in painting, he then apprenticed to an artist, sharing his passion for integrating architecture and people in his work. Small and highly energetic. Later married his teacher’s daughter, Elena Badile, and had two sons who became painters. Influenced by both Michelangelo (Henri Matisse), and Raphael, an earlier life of his. Went to Venice in his mid-20s, where he would spend his career. Worked in a mannerist mode prevalent at the time, brilliantly handling both illusion and space, with a luminosity of color and a harmonious esthetic. Developed a distinct decorative style and his work became very much in demand, while his style became increasingly luxuriant and daring as he matured, with opulent colors and effects, veering into monumentality and decorative pomp. Ultimately called before a tribunal of the Inquisition in his mid-40s for an unholy view of the last supper, and boldly defended himself, saying “we painters take the same liberties as poets and madmen.” The tribunal compromised itself by changing the theme of the painting to accommodate him. During the last part of his life, he frequently worked with his brother, sons and a nephew as part of his workshop. His final paintings were more intimate and smaller. Caught a fever at life’s end, and died within a few days. Inner: Happy, felt appreciated, and cared little for his/storical accuracy in his works. Far more interested in expanding his own pure artistic abilities within the context of his time, making him a facile, rather than probing artist, looking at the surface of things than their essence. Unchallenging lifetime of building on past expertise to create much fuller and far more decorative canvases, and expanding his abilities to capture broad and detailed vistas in his decorative work, while playing with surfaces rather than substance. Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (1483-1520) - Italian painter. Outer: Father was a mediocre but cultured painter, who introduced his son to the humanistic philosophy of the court of Urbino, and was his first teacher. Already an accomplished artist by his late teens. Apprenticed to Pietro Perugino (Abel Gance), who influenced him greatly. Far more fluid than his teacher, with an extraordinary clarity of color and form, and soon surpassed him. Moved with and worked with Pinturicchio (George Braque) in Siena, and then went on to Florence, where he studied the works of his own past life, Masaccio, very carefully, as well as other old masters. His principal teachers were Michelangelo (Henri Matisse) and Leonardo da Vinci (Gordon Parks), and with them he formed the triumvirate that gave artistic foundation to the Renaissance. Moved about often, before finally settling in Rome in 1508, where he had always wanted to go. An extremely popular figure in the Eternal City, earning him the sobriquet, “the prince of painters.” A master of composition and expression, who was particularly noted for his Madonnas, executing numerous pieces for the Vatican, and serving under 2 successive popes. Worked as an archaeologist, architect and sculptor, as well as a painter in Rome. Never married, although had a goodly number of mistresses, including La Fomarina, a baker’s daughter, who was his favorite and the model for many of his paintings. Continually challenged himself to outdo every succeeding work he did, painting with a productive fury that may have been motivated by knowing he had only a relatively short life span. Highly social and involved in the cultural and intellectual life of Rome, he died there on his 37th birthday, on a Holy Friday, some said of carnal excess. Inner: Charming,. genial, sweet and engaging, admired by one and all. Identified strongly with the power and glory of Rome. Seminal figure in Italian art, bringing both intelligence and vision to his masterful work, and imbuing them with a deep artistic profundity. Completed the process he had begun as Masaccio, the two lives working as a serial tandem to compensate for their relative brevity. Integrated lifetime of using the inspiration of the High Renaissance and the company of many longtime equally gifted associates to further his extraordinary skills at a pivotal time in the development of Western art, while giving play to all the positive aspects of his complex nature. Masaccio (Tommaso di Giovanni di Simone Guidi) (1401-c1428) - Italian painter. Outer: Mother was the daughter of an innkeeper, father was a notary who died when son was 5. Younger brother also became artist. His mother remarried an elderly apothecary, who also died when her sons were still children. Called Masaccio (Careless Thomas) because of his indifference to his appearance. Probably apprenticed with a relative, and eventually enrolled in a Florentine art school. Began a close association with Masolino (George Braque), the duo working together on church paintings, and enjoyed success throughout his brief, but brilliant career. Introduced light from a single source, to give naturalism to form for the first time in the his/story of painting. Visited Rome, where he viewed classical art from antiquity. Continued his close association with Masolino, the two often collaborating on frescoes. Part of a group of Florentine architects and sculptors, including Filippo Brunelleschi (Gordon Parks), and Donatello (Henri Matisse), who gave intellectual grounding to the subsequent art of the West. Sought a far more plastic, correct perspective of expression heretofore unknown, while remaining true to nature in his groupings and renderings of clothing and faces. In a sense, the father of modern art, taking it out of the decorative medieval and into the realistic representational. His entire working life consisted of only 8 short years, before he was supposedly poisoned at the age of 29. Inner: Master of light, shade and form. Poisoning probably indicated an unintegrated interior to his outer esthetic self, which would come out much later in this series, in his High Renaissance wrap-up life of Picasso. Foundation-providing lifetime of giving western painting a base in real perspective and light, before exiting early to complete his own grounding process later on. Giovanni Cimabue (Benvenuto di Guiseppe) (c1240-1305?) - Italian artist. Outer: Nickname meant “bull-headed.” From a noble Florentine family, called the Cimabui. Little is known of his life, other than his works, and some putative speculations from the later art his/storian Giorgio Vasari (Tom Wolfe), which were tainted by his pro-Florentine prejudices. Probably built on the traditions of city masters, using them as his base, and then surpassing them in technique and ability. One of his masterpieces would be the “Madonna and Child with Angels,” a tempera work that was the largest altarpiece produced up until that date. Admired by his contemporaries, although he was placed by the poet Dante (Ezra Pound) among the scornful proud in Purgatory, thanks to a reputation for accepting no less than first-rate work from both himself and his assistants. The last great master of the Byzantine style, with the aforementioned Madonna surrounded by angels as one of his favorite themes. His work was highly stylized, but he managed to bring emotional depth to it. Teacher of Giotto (Alfonso Cuaron), whom legend had it, he discovered at the age of 10, drawing with a coal on a slate. His true role in the development of western art has been an ongoing point of contention of art his/storians, but his obvious abilities have never been questioned. Inner: Proud and demanding perfectionist, often destroyed his own work if he found something displeasing in it. Bridge lifetime of spanning the ancient stylistic world of decorative art and the Renaissance naturalism to come. Phidias (fl 5th cent. BZ) - Greek sculptor. Outer: Little known about his life. In charge of the building program in Athens during the reign of Pericles, and was artistic director of the Parthenon. Famous for his work in ivory, bronze and gold. It was said of him that he alone was the visual channel between humanity and the heavens, through his stirring sculptures. Accused of stealing gold from a statue of Athena by the enemies of Pericles (Abraham Lincoln), which he could not disprove. Also charged with impiety and was thrown into prison, although he may also have been exiled. Inner: Initiator of the classic style of Greek sculpture. Had the vision and boldness of a truly great artist, and probably saw himself above the law and customs because of his gifts. Brazen lifetime of giving antiquity its esthetic sense of the divine as one of the primary teachers to our civilization of how to see color and form through the eyes of genius.


Storyline: The modest mathematician expands his universe to time and space, after showing an earlier mastery of the geometric rudiments of pattern and form.

Alain Resnais (1922-2014) - French filmmaker. Outer: Father was a pharmacist. An only child, he was often sick with asthma, leading to home schooling. Made his first amateur film at 14, but did not embrace filmmaking as a career until his mid-20s, while studying acting and taking directing courses beforehand at the French cinema school. 6’3”. Drafted at the end of WW II, he served with a unit that entertained Allied occupation forces in Germany and Austria. Began making shorts at the insistence of a producer for whom he worked as an editor, when he was released from military duty the following year, most of which were silent documentaries. Also labored as a cameraman and editor on the films of other directors. His first commissioned work came in his mid-20s, and he quickly established his reputation with Night and Fog, a disturbing documentary look at Nazi concentration camps. Themes of memory and time would become his all-abiding interest, as he developed his tracking camera style, with its disjunctive style of editing. His first feature film in 1956, would be his best known, Hiroshima Mon Amour. Often would fuse time together, using flashbacks to unite memory with reality. Occasionally made more conventional linear works, which were more popular than his explorations into diffused realities, and since the mid-1980s, he employed a far smoother style of filmmaking. Collaborated with writers on all his films, although the thematics were usually his own. Considered the singular most important director in the French New Wave. In his mid-40s, he married a member of his production team, Florence Malraux, the daughter of writer Andre Malraux. After divorcing her, he wed Sabine Azema, who acted in his later films, in 1998. Less prolific in later life, totaling only 14 films in his 40 years as a director, working very slowly on each one on every level, from plumbing the psychology of each character with each actor, to searching for the precise writer to limn the exact story he wanted to tell. Died in a hospital the night before the Oscars, editing drafts of his next project until the very end. Inner: Reserved, laconic and modest. Highly intellectual, with a far greater desire to plumb memory’s mysteries, than render life as it is ordinarily seen. Searching lifetime of exploring his own sense of philosophy, ethics and memory, in a continuing intellectual probe into the patterns of life through the medium of art. Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) - French artist. Outer: Son of a conservative, wealthy banker. One of 3 children, with two sisters. Received an excellent education, and at the insistence of his father, entered law school, but showed no interest in it, having long decided he would be an artist. With his mother’s help, he persuaded his sire to let him study art in Paris. Felt he was less proficient than his fellow students, which caused a deep depression, although he formed a valuable friendship with future writer Emile Zola (Saul Bellow), who immediately recognized his talent. Briefly worked at his father’s bank, but returned within a year to Paris, and spent the next 14 years alternating between the City of Lights and his native Aix-en-Provence, with the desire to revolutionize painting. Became involved with the early Impressionists, although he had difficulty befriending them on a personal level, because of his own personality deficiencies. His first canvases were totally opposite of his ultimate style, using extremes of light and dark and violent coloration in order to shock the viewer. Began as a painter of things, and ultimately became one of the space, continuity and the depth of the visible world. Left Paris at the outbreak of Franco-Prussian War in 1870 with his mistress, Hortense Fiquet, a bookbinder who was 11 years his junior and whom he married 16 years later, one son from union. Kept his connection with her, as well as his son, secret from his parents almost until their wedding day, thanks to his ongoing fear of his father. Began working with Camille Pissarro (Francois Truffaut), the only impressionist with the patience for him, and started to explore the geometry and subtle coloration and structure that would be the heart of his painting. Continually looked for new ways to deal with form and perspective. Returned to Paris when the Impressionists first exhibited in 1874 and was subjected to the most severe criticism of the entire group. Unable to support himself, he had to endure his unsympathetic sire, whose allowance he needed. After their second show, he officially broke with the Impressionists, moving beyond them in his use of juxtaposed color, although he maintained relations with Pissarro. Ended his friendship with Zola, because of his populist writing, and spent a dozen years in isolation, gradually amending his unique technique. In all his works, character and substance were subordinated to chromatics and geometry. After the death of his father in 1886, he enjoyed more financial independence, allowing him to leave his wife and son in Paris, while he remained in Aix, enjoying his solitude, which was broken by the death of his mother in 1897. Deeply affected by her loss, although he finally began to gain recognition afterwards. Reclusiveness brought him a legendary status, and he ended his life completely alone, afflicted with diabetes and dying of a chill he had caught outdoors. Inner: Cerebral, touchy, shy, antisocial, withdrawn. Provincial, and unkempt, with a thick accent. Ultimately found his celebrity awkward, as well. Scorned priests but went faithfully to Mass. Disliked being physically touched, and was fearful of women. Solitary lifetime of dedicating himself exclusively to his revolutionary vision, sacrificing family and friend to commune solely with paint, canvas and brush and the extraordinary vision he brought to each. Richard Bonington (1802-1828) - English artist. Outer: Son of a poor drawing master. Father moved the family to France, where his son, then 15, studied watercolor. Became a close associate of artist Eugene Delacroix (Henri Matisse), and continued his studies at a French school and the studio of Antoine Gros (Andre Derain). His watercolor landscapes from his earliest works, with their vibrant colors, would become his most enduring works. Exhibited in French Salons, won a gold medal and widespread recognition, along with other English landscapists, most notably John Constable (Claude Monet). Excellent draftsman, and a good colorist. After visiting Venice in 1826, he turned to the medium of oil, and, influenced by Delacroix, began painting his/storical scenes. Took sketching tours and visited England with Delacroix, before going there by himself, where he succumbed to a sunstroke and the effects of tuberculosis in his late 20s. Exerted an extraordinary influence for such a brief life, in both England and France, with his innovative sense of synthesis of past traditions, linking the landscape conventions of both countries, and also effecting the French schools of genre and dramatic art. Inner: Cerebral, observant and, though a stranger in a strange land, at home in the true country of his artistic sensibilities. His early death was a strong symbol of being overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of light. Sketchy lifetime of drawing together both past traditions and the evolving artistic modes of two countries, while allowing him to experiment in a medium, watercolor, that allowed his usual dry emotionality some reign. Jean Chardin (Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin) (1699-1779) - French painter. Outer: Son of a carpenter, who made billiard tables for the king. Spent most of his life in his small quarter of Paris, leaving the city only once for an audience with the king. His initial training is unknown, and he was later admitted to the unfashionable Academie de Saint-Luc as a master painter in his mid-20s, where old fashioned standards were upheld. A friendship with a fellow painter led to a membership in the Royal Academy, and the beginning of public recognition, although his peculiar genius was never really seen during his lifetime, since he lived out his long existence during one of the most frivolous ages ever recorded. Worked alone and slowly, focusing on still lifes in his early career, genre paintings in his middle age and still lifes and self-portraits in his dotage. After an 8 year engagement in which he was faithful to his intended, he married Marguerite Saintard in his early 30s, only to have his wife die four years later. One son survived infancy to become a painter, although after showing early promise, eventually committed suicide by drowning, perhaps acting out a counterbalance to his father’s unintegrated emotionality. Concentrated on quiet studies of family life or people at work and play, often repeating several versions of the same composition. Later called a “genius of the home.” In his mid-40s, he married Françoise-Marguerite Pouget, a wealthy widow, one daughter. Painted very slowly, searching for perfect harmonies of color and composition. Pursued a traditional academic career, ultimately becoming treasurer of the academy, and was well-rewarded for his efforts, staying within the confines of tradition. His unique contribution was in his still lives and their carefully composed forms and colors, while his interest in the geometry of quiet interiors reflected the works of his earlier life as Vermeer. His pension was reduced by the academy, when the directorship and public tastes changed. Experimented with pastels when his eyesight began to fade, but the rest of his life was lived in obscurity, where he suffered from depression. Inner: Secretive and short-tempered. Painted with feeling rather than colors, focusing on women and children. Obviously relished simple domesticity. Refused to follow fashion, far more interested in the visual truth of his subjects, preferring frozen gestures and immobility, as well as symbolic compositions, once again, looking for the geometry of life in its commonplace designs. Quiet lifetime of celebrating ordinary existence and ordinary subjects in a masterful, orderly way, while ultimately being subjected to the disorder of the larger universe, and suffering painfully for it, as a way of touching on his buried emotions. Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) - Dutch artist. Outer: Son of a tavern-keeper, who was also a silk weaver and a trader in paintings and art objects from his inn. Lived his entire life in Delft, although nothing is recorded of him until 1653. Nothing is really known about his training, although he may have studied with Carel Fabritius (Alejandro Inarritu), who influenced him in his initial forays as a his/story painter. Married Digna Baltus at 21, he had at least 11 children, including a painter son of same name. Admitted to the painter’s guild at the same age, and twice served as its dean in 1662-63 and 1670-71, although was not able to pay the initial initiation fee of 6 guilders for 2 1/2 years. His father died in 1655, leaving him his business and his debts, and around that time he shifted to scenes of daily life, and probably used a camera obscura, which was popular at the time. Achieved very little recognition during his lifetime, forcing him to support himself by continuing his father’s practice of dealing art, while he traded his paintings with local shopkeepers for goods. In financial difficulty most of his working life, as shown by the meticulous records that the Dutch kept over transactions. When he died prematurely he left his widow destitute, with 8 small children still at home. The small body of work that he left was not truly recognized until centuries later. Painted landscapes, and versions of the same interior, over and over, searching for geometric perfection, making his subjects subject to his designs, with many lost in household chores. Probably never traveled, and spent most of his life in his own interior, which he tried to elevate to the highest of artistic expression. His modest output of about 40 canvases would make each of his subsequently authenticated works of hyper-value several centuries later, after his rediscovery in the last third of the 19th century. Signed only 3 of them, while the rest were initially attributed to others. Inner: Reclusive, extremely analytic, with a desire to transform the most mundane of realities into their exquisite essences, using color and form to render his unique interiors. Deliberately cut himself off from the commercial art world in order to pursue his own truths. Unobtrusive lifetime of extracting the abstract geometry of familiar forms and rendering them in perfectly colored, minute detail, while receiving little support for his efforts in order to be unencumbered by the tastes of others. Giovanni Bellini (c1430-1516) - Italian artist. Outer: Son of noted painter Jacopo Bellini (Jacques Rivette), who was his teacher. His older brother Gentile (Francois Truffaut) was also a painter of excellent repute. Originally began as his father’s assistant, while the latter greatly encouraged him, making for an extremely supportive work environment. Strongly influenced by his brother-in-law, painter Andrea Mantegna (Jean Renoir). Enjoyed early success through family connections, and ultimately was made official painter to the Venetian Republic in 1480. His works had a strong religious spirit to them, with a dominance of geometric line, rather than form, and a full knowledge of the subtleties of light. Took a trip down the Adriatic coast, and there came under the spell of Piero della Francesca (William Blake), who opened him up to perspective and composition, giving his paintings a harmonious quality that brought the High Renaissance to Venice. Moved from tempera to oils in the 1480s, which allowed him to play with color and tone in far richer fashion. Trained Titian (Louis Malle) and Giorgione (Robert Rodriguez), and exerted an enormous influence through both teaching and by setting example. Famous for his kindness to his students, showing himself open to ideas even from those much younger and less accomplished than himself. Commissioned by the government to do paintings for the hall of Great Council in Venice, although the works were later destroyed by fire. His fame spread throughout Italy, and his apprentices served as seed carriers for his techniques, spreading them up and down the Adriatic coast. Greatly admired for his portraits, which hung in most of the wealthy homes of Venice. Later in his career, landscapes became his forte, and he began building his forms out of color rather than line. Active until the end of his long life. Inner: Serene, austere, upright and confident. Excellent teacher, experimenting with technique to the end of his long life. Singular lifetime of being totally supported in everything he attempted, thereby tempering his usual alienation and reclusiveness, allowing him the freedom of discovery, experimentation and remarkable achievement. Duccio di Buoninsegna (c1255-c1318) - Italian artist. Outer: Not much known about the specifics of his life. Fined several times for a variety of reasons, indicating a rather difficult nature, with a contempt for authority. Founder of the Sienese school of painting, he received numerous commissions, traveled to Florence, and was familiar with Cimabue (Pablo Picasso). Worked in a somber, austere Byzantine mode, but became one of the key figures in the transition from the Gothic to the High Renaissance style. Skillful draftsman, he had a rich subtle sense of coloration, as well as design. Only one of his works was fully authenticated, a high altar piece for the Siena Cathedral. Married Taviana, 7 children from the union, two of whom became painters. Worked as an illuminator, and was also a teacher, with a prosperous workshop, although periodically managed to get himself deeply in debt. Inner: Restless and rebellious, with his focus, as always, on his art rather than his intimate relationships. Cantankerous lifetime of serving as a bridge figure between Byzantine and Gothic painting, bringing spirituality to the elements of design.


Storyline: The supreme sensualist takes the world of full-blown flesh as his private milieu and throughly explores it through his interior and exterior canvases, while moving back and forth in time using his various lives as reference points.

Louis Malle (1932-1995) - French filmmaker. Outer: Born into one of France’s wealthiest families. Mother was a sugar heiress, father was a naval officer, before going into the refinery business. Watching movies as a child helped him master English. Received an austere Catholic education, and enrolled at the Sorbonne, majoring in political science. Studied filmmaking afterwards at I.D.H.E.C., and then was immediately chosen by ubermariner Jacques Cousteau to accompany him aboard the Calypso, and he co-directed a celebrated underwater documentary. Followed it with two shorts, before doing his first feature, Frantic, as a solo director in his mid-20s, which enjoyed considerable successes and won the coveted Prix Delluc. Proved himself extremely versatile in his ongoing oeuvre, working in a variety of modes that were sometimes sensationalistic, sometimes somber and sometimes purely frivolous. Married Anne-Marie Deschodt in 1965 and also had two children out of wedlock by two different women. After divorcing 2 years later and selling his house to begin his life anew in the late 1960s, he took a six-month voyage to India and made a feature-length documentary, Phantom India, which helped establish his international reputation and was shown on both the small screen and large. Made his first English-language film in 1978, Pretty Baby, a controversial study of the fabled Storyville red-light district of New Orleans, and then shot several more films in English, although the last two were failures. Rebounded with a childhood memoir about a Catholic boarding school he attended that harbored Jewish students during the Nazi occupation of France, Au Revoir les Enfants. 1/4 Jewish himself. Married actress Candice Bergen in his late 40s, one daughter from union. An excellent visual stylist with a willingness to take chances in his varied works, which often explored the erotic and controversial. Contracted cancer and died from lymphoma. Inner: Short, wiry, wry, intelligent and informal. Left-wing politically, with a wide range of interests. Free-wheeling lifetime of using the world as fodder for his filmic imagination, while exploring the eros and exotica hidden below the surface of things, and resurrecting himself from his narrow privileged beginnings to become an artisan of the world. Pierre-August Renoir (1841-1919) - French painter. Outer: Son of a tailor, although there were several artisans in his family. Evinced his talent early and was apprenticed at 13 in a porcelain factory, where he decorated plates. Further decorative work convinced him his future lay in art, and he began studying at night, before taking painting lessons. Although he didn’t care for formal training, he recognized its necessity. Friendships with Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet (Claude Lelouch) and Frederic Bazille (Robert Capa), led to the birth of Impressionism, and a freeing of the artists from the restrictions of the studio, to not only painting directly from nature, but also to go beyond the form and color restrictions of the academic past. Their first exhibition together in 1874 caused a scandal, and it took a good decade before this revolutionary movement permanently changed the direction of art. Critics, who were unable to grasp his incandescent sense of color, called his flesh tones putrefying. Began separating himself from the others, with their interest in landscape, preferring portraiture and people as his subjects. Rejected some of the tenets of Impressionism, particular the self-imposed ban on the color black, after traveling to Algeria, Italy and Provence, in 1881, and familiarizing himself with some of the old masters, particular Raphael (Pablo Picasso). His new work was compared with a later incarnation of the same artist, Dominique Ingres. Trips to the south of France opened his palette even more to a rich, voluptuous array of color, and he began to see the vibrancy of nature in the bodies of women he painted. Finally became financially stable, and married Aline Charigot at 40, three sons from union, including Jean Renoir, who became a well-known and highly accomplished filmmaker. As his world became more stable, he began to suffer attacks of rheumatism, forcing him to spend more and more time in the light-enriched south of France, where he ultimately settled permanently. After 1910 he was no longer able to walk, and he eventually had to paint with his brush tied to his fingers. Never stopped painting, using his wife, children and maid as subjects. Also became interested in sculpture at the very end of his life, employing a young sculptor as channel for his ideas, by having him act as his hands. Active until the very end of his long life, before dying of heart failure. Inner: Intelligent, refined and watchful. Stiffening of joints was probably symbolic of a certain rigidity of character, although outwardly he was quite affable and friendly. Color intoxicated lifetime of opening his palette to the revolutionary impressions of his ongoing acute eye, and taking rare delight in the sensuous depth of everything he saw. Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson (Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy) (1766-1824) - French painter. Outer: Orphaned at an early age and raised by a guardian, a physician, whose name he later added to his own. Initially an architecture student, with an interest in a military career. Abandoned both and entered the studio of Jacques David (Abel Gance), where he gained the reputation of a far less than charming egomaniac. Lost the coveted Prix de Rome when a fellow student said he had caught him cheating. Finally won it at the age of 22, with a lush mythological work, “Sleep of Endymion,” which made him famous, and also put him squarely opposed to the classicism of his teacher. Probably a homophile, but was very secret about his private life, as well as his sexuality. Spent 5 years in Rome, then returned to Paris and won a decennial prize for his/story. Much of his larger work glorified the career of the emperor Napoleon, and he was also also given to romantic. excess, although served as an inspiration for those far more talented in that vein who followed him. Not particularly prolific, he also indulged in academic studies, decorative works and uninspired portraiture, despite a rich sense of coloration and an excellent draftsman’s eye. Awarded the Legion of Honor and was made a member of the French Institute. In his mid-40s, he inherited a large fortune and gave up painting entirely, devoting himself to writing and meditating, while retreating from the world-at-large, as his health steadily failed. Kept the house shuttered and wrote at night by lamplight. Composed a long didactic poem, and collected paintings by the old masters. Never married and died a recluse in Paris, the prisoner of his own heightened mind. Nevertheless thousands followed his coffin in the streets on the way to the cemetery. Inner: Intellectual and highly aesthetic. Arrogant, uptight and pugnacious. Given to excess, in most that he did, as a romantic still moored in the classical world. Conflicted lifetime of giving power to his sense of vision, and then abandoning it totally to retreat into himself, to explore his uneasiness in the material world, as well as his discomfort with his usually buoyant sensuality, via introspection and isolation. Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) - French painter. Outer: French painter. Outer: Little is really known of his life. Parents were Flemish, and his father was a roofer. Studied under an obscure local painter, then went to Paris, where he worked in a shop that turned out cheap devotional pictures. Entered the studio of Claude Gillot (Jacques Demy), then worked for a decorative artist, where he was able to study the paintings of Rubens, a later life of his, whom he revered. Also was entranced by the Venetian artists, such as Titian, whom he would also later become in his serial dance through time, although he failed twice in obtaining a scholarship to Italy. Admitted as a provisional member to the French Academy in 1712, and his work proved successful, with a melancholy spirit to it. His great and abiding subject was love, portrayed in scenes of courtly amusement. Chronically ill, and a careless craftsman, who sacrificed the totality of his work for its parts. Put much emotion into the hands, rather than the faces of his subjects. Linked with Mozart in the sweetness of feeling he portrayed. Never married, probably knew he was doomed to a short existence. Felt drawing was his gift, not painting. At the end of his brief life, he returned to naturalism, but grew successively weaker, and died of tuberculosis. Inner: Naturally reticent, subtle and private. Often changed his address, was probably misanthropic and melancholic despite the rococco spirit of his paintings. Held in affection by his friends, however, who welcomed him into their homes, despite his difficult temperament. Weak-bodied lifetime of studying future lives lived in the past and protecting himself from the unconscious memories of the rejections of his earlier existence as Fragonard, while exploring the same themes with a similar light and grace, and enjoying the love of others, despite his own personal shortcomings. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) - Flemish painter. Outer: Son of a lawyer and magistrate who was expelled from Antwerp because of his Calvinism, as well as impregnating the wife of the head of state, for which he could have been put to death, but his own spouse came to his rescue. One of 4 surviving children, brother Philip became a noted classicist. The family returned to Antwerp after the father’s death in 1587. Attended a Jesuit school, acted as a court page, and became an accomplished linguist. Apprenticed to several minor artists, before being admitted to a painter’s guild, then left for Italy, where he spent 8 years in a ducal service, including diplomatic missions, using his contagious personality to good advantage. On his return to Antwerp, he became that city’s most famous painter. Sought after as a teacher, he set up an elaborate studio of skilled apprentices to handle his many commissions. Married Isabella Brandt at 30 and prospered, two sons and a daughter from the loving union. After his wife died in 1626, he entered diplomatic service and went on missions to London and Spain for the regent of the Netherlands, because of his expertise with language and familiarity with royalty. Knighted and idolized in London, but expelled from France on suspicion of being a spy, despite executing many large paintings for the French court. Only signed 5 paintings in his life. Although his assistants did much of the work, he designed them, and added the finishing touches. In his early 50s, he married Helene Fourment, the teenage daughter of a prosperous Antwerp tapestry merchant, who served as one of his primary models, 5 children. Had an enormous output, with a pagan lustiness to his works, which were based on color and imagination, rather than the careful rendering of reality. His name, Rubenesque, has been added to the grammar of voluptuousness as a synonym for full, sumptuously fleshy figures. Explored all avenues open to him, combining a Flemish sensibility with an Italian sense of scope and drama. Died of gout, which had crippled his right hand the last 3 years of his life. Inner: Possessor of a lusty, sensuous eye, coupled with a sure hand and a pagan imagination that gloried in the world of the flesh. Aristocratic and politically conservative, interested in the surface of things, with a great joy for life, and a mastery of both the languages of art and social intercourse. Industrious, courteous and kind to everyone. Literal rubenesque lifetime of integrated achievement in all spheres, social, sexual, political and painterly, including a revolutionary rendering of his titanic imagination. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (c1488-1576) - Italian artist. Outer: From a family of lawyers, soldiers and timber merchants, with no notable artistic talent. Grew up in a village in the Italian Alps. His father was a captain in the local militia and later served as overseer of the town’s grain supplies. Apprenticed at 9 to a mosaicist, until about the age of 17, then worked in the shop of Gentile Bellini (Francois Truffaut), although he could not abide by the latter’s dry and labored manner, while GB thought he was far too bold for his own good, and felt he wouldn’t amount to much. Sensed more of a kinship with his brother Giovanni Bellini (Alain Resnais) and worked as his assistant, before moving on around 1507 to become assistant to the controversial Giorgione (Diego Rivera), who greatly influenced him. When Giorgione died in 1510, he left Venice for Padua, before returning two years later, to become his mentor’s designated successor. Completed some of the latter’s unfinished works, but showed himself far more voluptuous in both his coloration and forms, often using courtesans for his models, while celebrating their lush fleshiness. Even his religious paintings were as sensuous and opulent as Venice itself, Far more into worldly realities, than otherworldly esthetics, he soon established his reputation, so that he was showered with commissions from rulers from all over Europe, as well as the great ducal families of Italy. Found that his stylistics matched the tastes of the influential patrons of his times, and was able to satisfy both them and himself with his colorful, sensual works, which also celebrated the splendor of Renaissance Italy. In 1525, he married Cecilia, a barber’s daughter who had been his housekeeper and mistress for 5 years. When she fell ill, he decided to legitimatize the two sons they already had together. One, Orazio, would become a painter, while the other was a wastrel. After she recovered, they had two daughters, only one of whom survived. With a family to support, he began expanding and upgrading his patronage, only to see his wife die in 1530. Sent for his sister to run his household, and the following year settled in a house in the Biri Grande, where he would live the rest of his life. Beginning in the 1530s, he serially served both HRE Charles V (Napoleon), and later his son, Felipe II of Spain (Adolf Hitler), for a quarter of a century, gaining numerous titles. Became the most sought after portrait painter of his day, thanks to the vitality with which he infused his paintings, although on occasion he worked off other artist’s renditions of his subjects, an accepted practice of the time. Maintained a workshop with 5 or 6 assistants, but put his sure touch on everything it produced. With his fame and reputation assured, the last two decades of his unusually long life allowed him to largely paint for himself, and a more personal side of his nature appeared in his oeuvre, forgoing closely viewed detail to build on his coloration, so that his pictures could be seen at a distance in their peculiar perfection. In these mythological and religious works, he was able to express a far deeper and more mystical spirit, while giving painterly voice to his inner emotionality more directly, by creating form out of color rather than line. Withdrew from public life his last decade, while outliving all his closest friends. The year before he died plague broke out in Venice, and he was probably a victim of it. His son Orazio followed him several days later, while his wastrel progeny lasted another 18 years. One of the outstanding geniuses of the Italian Renaissance, and a painter for the ages. Inner: Affable and socially dextrous, with no direct rivals, allowing him to develop according to his own needs. Also quite avaricious, despite his material successes, always wanting to add to his impressive coffers. Continually refined his paintings, taking great care not to show the amount of labor that went into them. Grasping but fluid lifetime of giving play to both his lush tastes and lush perceptions, as well as his need to express personal will and deal as an equal with not only the politically powerful but as an acknowledged adept with the artists of his time. Fra Filippo Lippi (c1406-1469) - Italian painter and monk. Outer: Orphaned in childhood, raised by an aunt, then given over to Carmelite monks, taking vows himself. Did some frescoes, then left the monastery in 1432, only to be kidnapped along with some companions by Moors. Held as a slave for 18 months, and finally wrangled his freedom by painting a portrait of his owner. Traveled, adventured and eventually returned to Florence and the protection of the powerful de’ Medici family. His painting abilities matured in that city, and he had a great effect on subsequent Florentine art. Influenced by and competitive with Fra Angelico (Georges Roualt), a contemporary. Made rector of a Florentine Church in 1442, but, despite his religious vocation, had innumerable love affairs and was anything but tranquil and serene. Fled the convent where he was painting with a young nun, land was later given permission to marry her from the pope, son from union was Filippino Lippi, who also became a well-known artist. Most of his work was extremely well-regarded in his own day, even though some of it was derivative. Divided his subsequent time between Florence and Prato, doing murals and frescoes, and ended his lively life with a commission from the de’ Medici family. Inner: Boisterous, lusty and adventurous, with a tendency to borrow from others in order to build on his own unique vision. Free-wheeling lifetime of combining art and adventure, his two byways into exploring his own volatile sensibilities, while managing to integrate both in a memorable life of the brush and brushes with fate. Clement VI (Pierre Roger) (c1291-1352) - French pope. Outer: Father was a Limousin nobleman. Trained and educated as a Benedictine, he developed into an excellent theologian and eloquent preacher, and was a teacher for a time in Paris, where one of his students was the future HRE Karl IV (Angela Merkel). Made abbot of two monasteries, then archbishop of two sees in 1329 and 1330. Became chancellor of France and a member of the Sacred College. After being raised to the cardinalate in 1338, he was elected pope in 1342, as one of the ablest prelate-statesmen in Europe. Acted as an independent prince of Avignon rather than the head cleric of Christendom, devoting himself to French interests while creating a brilliant and extravagant court around him, patronizing artists and scholars and sponsoring lavish entertainments. Had a great fondness for women, with his niece serving as his hostess, and also evinced an unreined love of horses, as well. Sponsored a crusade against the Ottoman Turks to stop their sea piracy, although he had to seek funds elsewhere when the Florentine bankers proved bankrupt. Impressed with rabble-rouser Cola di Rienzi (Benito Mussolini) and supported his initial mischief-making in Rome, then held him in honorable captivity after he was forced to flee that city. Bought Avignon outright from Joanna II, the Queen of Naples (Clare Booth Luce), for a quarter of the papacy’s annual budget, when she came to him to seek his protection from a murder charge against her husband. Uncontrollably generous to his kinsmen and other hangers-on. 3/4 of the population of Avignon died in the Black Plague of 1348, including 7 cardinals, although he maintained calm courage throughout the ordeal, providing relief and stopping the populace from venting their fear and hatred on the Jews, whom they blamed for it. Supported his former student Karl IV as king of Bohemia and generally enjoyed his decade-long run as pontiff, celebrating the material world and decrying flagellants and other anti-material extremists, while dealing with his various problems at hand in an openhanded manner. Inner: Highly intelligent, lucid, a man very much of this world despite his clerical calling. Lusty lifetime of celebrating himself as a cultural king upon the symbolic throne of Rome during its French incarnation in preparation for entering the world of art in his subsequent incarnations, as an equal high pope of the palette.


Storyline: The The rudderless rider is continually thrown from his uncontrolled steeds in his self-destructive drive towards the finalizing embrace of immortality.

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) - American artist. Outer: Mother was a rock-strong countervailing force to her inept husband, and always accepted her son. Father was a failed farmer moving from one plagued enterprise to another, an indistinct figure who dragged his family through 10 different locales in his son’s first dozen years. Youngest of 5 brothers, all of whom were connected to the art world. Despite his western upbringing, he didn’t know how to ride, a direct reflection of earlier deaths in this series, although he carried with him a great love of the out-of-doors his entire life. Close to 6’, lean and rugged, albeit sensitive, with an innate sense of unworthiness about himself, save in the creative realm of art. Studied in Los Angeles, then at the Art Student’s League in NYC, and hero-worshiped his mentor, artist Thomas Hart Benton, who supported him for 8 years and served as one of several father figures he sought out to compensate for his own impotent sire. Impoverished and alcoholic, yet with a supreme confidence in his own abilities, if not in his person. In 1937, he began psychiatric treatment for alcoholism, and in 1938 suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for several months. Continued seeing therapists for most of his life. Obsessed with creating an absolutely new art that would destroy the past, he discovered it with his paint-splattered canvases, helping to give birth to abstract expressionism, as the self-styled Jack the Dripper. Worked as a school janitor and on the WPA Federal Art Project, and was championed by several critics and benefactors. Made numerous trips cross-country, sometimes on freight trains, drinking in the landscape and open sky. In 1945, he married Lee Krasner, a fellow artist who served as his anchor and encouraged his unique dripping style of canvases laid on the floor, which freed him from the vertical restraints of an easel, and opened him up to the horizontal possibilities of uninhibited self-expression. Used enamel because of its pliability, and often spent weeks and sometimes months contemplating a work before stepping into it with either feverish intensity, or slow deliberation. Despite his fame and enormous influence, he suffered tremendously, as he began doing black-pour canvases between 1951 and 1953, using black enamel paint on unprimed canvases, as a means of regenerating his interest in sculpture. Virtually stopped working his final 2 years as a result of being totally blocked, while burying his pain in alcohol. In a drunken rage, he drove his Oldsmobile convertible into a tree, killing one of his young female passengers and decapitating himself, while severely injuring the other, a model with whom he was having an affair. A consummate craftsman and one of the giants of modern art, as well as a unique figure whose unintegrated interior was probably as splattered and chaotic as the enduring work he created. Inner: Classic outsider; a tortured personality, veering from inarticulate shyness when sober to aggressive macho swaggering when drunk. Physiologically unable to metabolize alcohol, one or two beers would change his personality. Great desire to be absolutely original, with an all-or-nothing mentality, that could not maintain itself even in the face of success. Sensitive and diffident, with a cultivated knowledge of both music and poetry. His wild rider mentality was also underlined yet again in his death, this time in a mechanical steed, which was beyond his control, as was his life. Uneasy rider lifetime of turning his unhappy kinetic energy into extremely innovative creation and equally inexorable self-destruction. Georges Seurat (1859-1891) - French artist. Outer: Lived primarily in Paris with his mother and siblings, although the family withdrew from the city during the time of the Paris Commune. Father was a former bailiff and property-owner. Began drawing in school, studied with a sculptor, then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Artes, and showed a strong interest in the scientific basis of art, which would influence his later career. Started experimenting with color via black-and-white drawings, investigating tonal ranges, through the use of crayon on paper. Did his military service in a seaside town, where he drew seascapes. Returned to Paris, but rejected his formal training, preferring the landscapes of the Barbizon artists. Exhibited portraits at the official Salon when he was 23. After the rejection of his next work, he exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists, which would have a powerful effect on the subsequent development of modern art. Began experimenting with chromatics and scientifically studying the effects of the three primary colors and their complements, and started his masterwork, “La Grande Jatte,” a complex, but largely expressionless figure-scape, which he completed in 1886. Along with Paul Signac, he invented the technique called Pointillism, the application of tiny dots of pure color to achieve a blended optical effect, and was given the name neo-impressionism by avant-garde critics. His innovations would later influence Henri Matisse, as well as Vincent Van Gogh (Francis Bacon), Paul Gauguin (Jean-Luc Godard) and Henri Toulouse-Latrec (Jean-Michel Basquiat). Had a son by his mistress, Madeleine Knoblock. As he progressed, his figures became more and more depersonalized and mechanical, until ultimately turning into caricatures. One of the few artists of his time who saw the true esthetic of the Eiffel Tower, thanks to his fascination with mechanics. Painted it in 1889, even before it was completed. Realized he was going to die soon, exhibited an unfinished painting, then caught a chill, developed infectious angina, and died. His son caught the same disease and died, too, but his mistress was officially recognized by the rest of his family. Although his output was small due to his brief life, it had an enormous effect on 20th century art. Inner: Inventive, innovative and alienated, his basic creative trinity. Operated under the complete opposite tenets from his next life in this series, in his tightly controlled applications, which were the polarity of his free-swinging expressionism. Pointedly short lifetime of trying to apply scientific principles to the study of esthetics, resulting in a unique art based on minute color relationships, and the singular life in this series that did not end in motion, as he internalized and controlled his wild rider rather than acting it out. Jean-Louis-Andre-Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) - French artist. Outer: French artist. Outer: From a middle-class newly-enriched business family that had no interest in art or culture. Moved with them to Paris when he was 5. Received a comfortable annuity from his mother’s death when he was 17. Lifelong companion and housemate of his father. Studied in Paris under a his/storical and animal painter, learning how to capture movement on canvas. Completed his training under a neoclassical artist, which taught him how to do figures. His action paintings both shocked the critics and served as inspiration for his fellow artists, with their dramatic coloration and somber forms. Fashionable dandy and avid horseman. Became the first French Romantic painter, profoundly influencing the subsequent master of that genre, Eugene Delacroix (Henri Matisse). In 1816, he went to Italy, where he spent two years, studying the Baroque masters, particularly Michelangelo (Henri Matisse). Returned to Paris and executed his masterpiece of a French shipwreck, “The Raft of the Medusa,” which greatly angered the government because it was such a graphic reminder of an incident it preferred be forgotten. Disappointed in its reception, he went to England, where he did lithographs of horses, London slum scenes, and a startling series of paintings depicting the criminally insane. Largely burnt out, he returned to Paris and died following a riding accident in which he injured his spine and wasted away in his early 30s. Inner: Colorful, energetic and morbid, with a clear obsession about death. Gregarious bon vivant with a deep-seated sympathy for the underdog. Passion for horses, owning them, training them, riding them and painting them. Romantic lifetime of providing inspiration for a new school of painting, before self-destructing while in motion, a repetitive death motif of his. Toussaint Dubreuil (c1561-1602) - French artist. Outer: Studied with several teachers, marrying a relative of one of them. Associated with the second school of Fontainebleu, becoming its most important member. Became court painter for kings Henri III (Gianni Versace) and Henri IV (FDR), and also worked on the decorations of the Petite Galerie du Louvre. Made sketches of most of his compositions, and let his aides, mostly Flemings, complete them. Had a greater restraint than his contemporaries with a strong sense of clarity and equilibrium. Forerunner of classicism. Died suddenly while speeding on horseback from St. Germain to Paris. Represented the transition from mannerism to classicism. Most of his major works have disappeared, leaving a handful of paintings, drawings and engravings for posterity. Inner: Forceful, fervid painter. Taste for the grandiose, greatly admired Michelangelo (Henri Matisse). Great diversity to his work. Free-wheeling lifetime of exerting strong influence on his time, while remaining largely a mystery to future generations, faceless and story-less, save for his high-speed death, his signature exit from this point onward in this series. Luca Signorelli (Luca d’Egido di Ventura) (c1450-1523) - Italian artist. Outer: Family was artistic, initially studied under an uncle. Probably a pupil of Piero della Francesca (William Blake), as well. Studied human anatomy through the works of the Pollaiuolli brothers (Marcell and Raymond Duchamp), and quickly garnered a reputation for his adroit skill at figure representation. Traveled to Florence and worked for the de’ Medici family as well as the pope later on in Rome, but his lack of financial success impelled him to set up headquarters in his native Cortona. Elected to the ruling Council there, and was active in politics the rest of his life. Spent some time wandering about Italy as a traveling decorator, painting small devotional pictures, while enjoying unprecedented fame, largely through his ability to make nude figures seem vibrant and alive. At the age of 50, he realized his lifelong ambition for huge dramatic frescoes. Painted "The End of the World" and "The Last Judgment," two monumental pieces awash with tension and emotion, and filled with the horrors of impending death and doom. His work greatly influenced Michelangelo (Henri Matisse) in his subsequent paintings for the Sistine Chapel. Returned to Cortona for his last years, and the end of his life saw less of an interest in art, leaving much of his work to his assistants, while he enjoyed both the fame and the fortune that he had accrued. Inner: Generous, kind, courteous and far more interested in form than color. Lived well, showing good taste in all that he did and possessed. Pre-romantic lifetime of focusing on human form, building up towards masterpieces, and then letting his life’s work go, in yet another wild ride that was allowed to peter out relatively peacefully. Giovanni Pisano (c1250-c1315) - Italian sculptor. Outer: Father was sculptor Nicola Pisano (Henri Matisse). Heavily influenced by his sire, under whom he studied and worked as an assistant, thoroughly assimilating his style in the pulpit carvings that they did. Following his sire’s death sometime in the 1280s, he renounced his Pisan citizenship in a conscious attempt to break away from his legacy and moved to Siena. Quickly established his own lavish signature style, which became the landmark for all future Gothic facade decoration in central Italy, employing an architectural overview rather than the French mode of focusing on the specific figures. Probably visited France during the decade to get a further grounding in his techniques. After 1301, he returned to his father’s stately classicism, coming back to Pisa for much of the decade, before ending his career in Siena, where presumably he died, although his end-life is unrecorded. Only Gothic sculptor in Italy, although he never abandoned the ancient Roman classicism that lay at the heart of his work. Inner: Innovative and intense, if his work is any reflection of his character. His later life saw him more at peace with his reputation and need to be totally original. His connection with his father would be repeated down through the centuries, as each of these two thoroughly unique figures would use the other as a teaching inspiration. Foundation lifetime of bringing his thoroughly original artistic abilities into the medieval and modern world through direct association with his longtime cohort/teacher/student/ally.


Storyline: The self-styled revolutionary embraces the political, the primitive and his own private demons in order to shock, stimulate and seduce his viewers into looking at life through new-found eyes.

Jean-Luc Godard (1930) - French filmmaker. Outer: Father was a successful physician and the director of a clinic. Mother was from a family of bankers. Enjoyed a privileged upbringing, and was schooled in France and Switzerland, then studied for a degree in ethnology at the Univ. of Paris, during which time he immersed himself in film, particularly of the American variety. Made his first short after laboring on a dam. Worked on the influential film journal Cahiers du Cinema, and became involved in the cinema verite movement, which strove for documentary-like truth in its depictions. His first feature was Breathless in 1960, which established his reputation. Shot without a script and using improvisatory dialogue, it signaled the direction he would continue to pursue, using his cultured background and a rather formless sense of casual images and allusions to other films. In 1961, he married actress Anna Karina, to whom he was quite degrading both on-screen and off while using her as his muse, before their divorce 7 years later, then married a second actress in 1967, Anna Wiazemsky, who was also his muse, until they, too, divorced. Became increasingly involved with left-wing politics, taking an active part in the student demonstrations of 1968, when Paris took to the streets with revolutionary ardor, and the brilliant tenor of his work ebbed precipitously afterwards. Embraced various 20th century Marxists, as his films became less and less structured, and more and more indifferent to their audiences, while he became a self-styled radical, bent on freeing the world from capitalist oppression, and began working more collectively on his increasingly polemical oeuvre, which amounted to far more sloganeering than substance. Suffered a serious motorcycle accident in 1971. In the 1970s, he became involved with politically militant television, before moving to Rolle, Switzerland and returning to narrative features, with a more humanistic overview, although with the continued desire to tweak convention. Always controversial, and always searching for new ways to express his ideas, he was one of the very few abstract impressionistic filmmakers to gain an international reputation. His career was divided evenly into his Cahiers years, his Karina years (with his wife appearing in most of his films during this period), his Maoist years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, videos in the last half of 1970s, and narrative fare in the 1980s and 1990s. Spent the 1990s largely sealed off in Switzerland, with his 2 person company, Sonimage, run from his home with his longtime partner and collaborator, Anne-Marie Mieville. Worked mostly for television during this period, although greeted the new century with a return to his earlier form with In Praise of Love, his first work shot in Paris in decades, while continuing to investigate the power of images through banks of digital editing machines. His Goodbye to Language 3-D, a multi-faceted tale of a man and a woman and a dog, made many lists as the top film of 2014, for its striking imagistic, painterly flow in a new technological format for him, which he reduced to its simplest level through homemade contrivances and a crew of only 3, including himself. Inner: Intellectual, highly political, with an overt intention to shock, stimulate and bore his audience into thinking for themselves. Once said, “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun." Self-deprecating, cerebral, and quite naive politically, despite his posturing. Relatively conventional in everyday life, saving his radicalism for his art. Always worked with a miniscule crew, while allowing himself to be guided by his emotions. Feels film is part of the reality of being filmed, so that by improving the former, the world, itself, improves. Sees art as language, and has always pursued film as such. Nose-thumbing lifetime of taking his inner vision and confrontational personality to new inward heights, while continuing to challenge the way things are and the way people see them in his usual self-contradictory manner. Paul Gauguin (Eugene-Henri-Paul Gauguin) (1848-1903) - French painter. Outer: Mother was half-French and half-Peruvian Creole, father was a liberal republican journalist. One older sister. His grandmother was a Peruvian creole and social activist, and he felt he was descended from Inca royalty through her. His family moved when he was three to Lima, but his sire died aboard ship on the trip. Spent five years there with his mother, then returned to his father’s native Orleans in 1855. At 17, he went to sea, and sailed around the world for the next 6 years in freighters and men-of-war as a junior officer, where he developed a taste for alcohol, exotic locales and compliant women. Physically powerful, he was an enthusiastic boxer and fencer, as well as a spellbinding talker. Joined a stockbroking firm, and in his mid-20s, he married Mette Sophie Gad, a young Danish woman, 4 sons and a daughter from the union, with one son, Jean, becoming a sculptor, and another, Pola, an artist and critic. Lived in bourgeois respectability for a decade. Began receiving artistic instruction, and started collecting the works of the struggling impressionists. Met Camille Pissarro (Francois Truffaut) and under his tutelage, learned technique, and began developing his own unique style. Invited to exhibit with the Impressionists on 3 occasions, and became more and more immersed in art. When the Paris stock market crashed, he lost his job, and at the age of 35, decided to become a fulltime painter. Moved with his family to Copenhagen, but financial strains caused the break-up of his marriage after 12 years. Abandoned his brood, and dedicated himself to being an artist, undergoing penury and privation, which undermined his health and made him an outcast, learning to despise Europe and western civilization in the process. Opened up to new possibilities of expressionism and its vibrant use of color, and began exploring this mode in Brittany. Met painter Vincent van Gogh (Francis Bacon) in Paris, although their volatile friendship proved disastrous to the unstable van Gogh later on in Arles. in 1887, he went to the isle of Martinique, in order to “live like a savage,” while imbuing himself with the vibrancy of tropical light and the sensuous delights of living in a primitive culture. Made his final break with impressionism, and turned to a much more basic mode of expression, which led him successively to Brittany, Tahiti and the Marquesa Islands. Gradually perfected his technique, giving a rich lustrous dreamlike quality to his work. Conversely used the photographic images of civilization in many of his later primitive works. Continually in trouble with the authorities over his siding with the natives against them, as his health began to fail, because of his earlier privations. Constantly obsessed about the Paris art world, but had made far more enemies than friends there, and knew he could not return. Took a 14 year old girl, Tehura, out of school to live with him, despite suffering from syphilis. Had his final child in 1899, with her, a son who became a primitive artist. In tremendous pain by the end of his life, he ultimately suffered a melancholic death in paradise, after having scratched out his memoirs, “Before and After,” just before he died, although he was supposedly discovered with a smile upon his face. Inner: Saw himself as a creative Christ figure and genius, and continually played with icons of his Catholicism, as he transmuted his innate religiosity into his art. Highly complex character, great desire to be recognized and acclaimed, yet rejected the tenets of civilization, while clinging to its underlying goals and artifacts. Self-pitying martyr, ironic, self-absorbed, restless and self-indulgent. Synthesizer of ideas and images, moving back and forth through the traditions of the world he rejected and the world he came to embrace. Another day in paradise lifetime of searching for a social and artistic ideal, and succumbing to the ravages of civilization once he had found it. George Morland (1763-1804) - (1763-1804) - English artist. Outer: Grandfather had been a painter. Father was a London portrait painter, as well as a picture restorer, who did quite well for himself, before falling on harder times. Mother was French and a property owner. At the age of 10, he exhibited sketches at the Royal Academy, and then became a pupil of his progenitor, staying with his studio until he was 21, then aggressively rebelled against his disciplined upbringing. Also studied briefly at the Royal Academy. In his early 20s, he married Anne Ward, the sister of a well-known engraver, but dedicated his life in large to dissipation. The single issue from his union died, his wife got sick, and he left her, although provided for her, while she remained remarkably loyal to him. Settled in London, and produced more than 4000 pictures during his relatively brief working life in all genres, with a particular interest in animal paintings. His work was very popular and he did extremely well financially by it, but he also squandered his money and was imprisoned several times for debt, in between trying to escape his debtors. Despite his obvious talent, he painted to please the public rather than doing commissioned canvases, playing off of sentimental themes to insure his own power as a person instead of as an artist. Eventually died of brain fever in a detention house for debtors, after his talent markedly deteriorated. Three days later, his wife went into convulsive fits and joined him in death. Inner: Vain, good-natured, willing to degrade both his life and art. Self-destructive, anti-authority, often painting when drunk. Self-destructing lifetime of squandering both his gifts and his money, and winding up with little to show for either. Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (1573-1610) - Italian artist. Outer: Son of an architect and steward to the Marquis of Caravaggio. After the former’s death, his mother raised him and his three siblings with the help of her father. Orphaned at 11, he became an artist’s apprentice the same year, and learned in a milieu that favored naturalism and directness, rather than the prevailing idealization in the major art centers. Went to Rome in his late teens, and thoroughly familiarized himself with the painting techniques of the day. Arrived in the Eternal City around 1590, during a time of extraordinary ferment, the beginning of the Counter-Reformation. Lived in a decaying neighborhood, and pursued a restless and dissipated path for 5 years, doing hackwork, never staying in one studio for more than a couple of months, and living in poverty, while engaging in frequent fights, and exhibiting a troubled, turbulent, unhinged nature. Often slept fully clothed with his dagger ready for a draw. Finally gained the protection of a cardinal, receiving a pension and lodging in his house, while showing his brilliant inventiveness and dedication to his craft. At the age of 24, he received his first important public commission, a trio of paintings on the life of St. Matthew (C.S. Lewis) and executed them with startling panache, evincing an incredible realism in his figures and composition, and an extraordinary use of light as a magical element, which would be his enduring gift to the his/story of western art. Despite his innovative skill, church officials were shocked at his vulgar presentation of saintly figures, but his gifts were recognized by others, and he began to move in powerful company, still showing the same social abandon of his earlier impoverished years. Began to run afoul of the law through fighting, and wound up wounding a soldier. Imprisoned for an altercation and released through the intervention of a French ambassador. Incidents around his severe anti-sociality abounded, including his arrest for throwing stones at the Roman guards, his seizure for the misuse of arms, and his injuring a man in defense of his mistress, for which he briefly fled Rome. On returning, he killed a man over a disputed score in a game of tennis. Fled the city again in 1606, this time wounded and feverish, went into hiding and eventually wound up in Naples. From there he traveled to Malta, where he was given a warm reception as a celebrated artist. After completing several commissions, he was received into the Order of Malta as a “Knight of Justice,” but his unseemly reputation caught up with him, and he was expelled from the order and imprisoned. After escaping, he took refuge in Sicily, a haunted and hunted man. Continued working in his characteristic illumination of form out of deep shadow, then fled to Messina. All of his works of this period reflected the deep strain under which he was operating, in their designs, tensions and emotions. Hoping desperately for a papal pardon, he was attacked and badly wounded at the door of an inn, his face slashed beyond recognition, and spent a long convalescence, before sailing for a Spanish possession within the Papal States. There he was arrested by mistake and taken to prison. On his escape, he discovered the boat that was to take him to Rome had already sailed with all his possessions aboard. Exhausted and feverish, he collapsed on the beach in sight of the ship and died a few days later. His reputation than languished for centuries, realizing a revival only in the mid-20th century, as a unique truth-telling genius of the canvas. Later research showed he may have been assassinated by the Knights of Malta, at the behest of the Church, who then covered up his actual cause of death and their complicitous role in his elimination. Inner: Volatile, violent, and restless. Equally argumentative and inventive. Spoke little, and left no other testament to himself than a series of disturbing self-portraits, showing restless eyes, and a tough, pallid exterior. His last self-portrait was as a severed head. Highly innovative, a living reflection of the light and dark of this world. Left no letters, drawings or even prepatory sketches. Chiaroscuro lifetime of expressing his uncanny sense of dualities in all that he did, as a creature of illuminated shadows. Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) - Italian sculptor, goldsmith and autobiographer. Outer: From a landowning family. 2nd child of a musician, who waited nearly two decades to have progeny. Showed a proclivity for getting into trouble at any early age, and would be a lifelong flouter of the rules of polite society. Studied music until he was 15, then, over his father’s protests, was apprenticed to a goldsmith, before mischiefmaking sent him to Siena and then Bologna, where his skills as both a flute-player and a metalworker matured. Banished from Florence for fighting a duel, he returned there, then moved to Rome. Back in Florence in 1521, he was condemned to death for fighting, after earlier being charged with sodomy, and fled to Rome, where he eventually was employed by the pope as court musician. Participated in the defense of the city, taking credit for personally shooting two of its highest ranking invaders, the constable of Bourbon and the Prince of Orange, despite the latter’s official death some 3 years later. After the sack of Rome in 1527, he reconciled with Florentine authority, and returned there, only to continue his peripatetic ways, before becoming stamp master at the Papal mint. Extracted revenge on his mercenary brother’s assassin, was absolved by the pope, but, after wounding a notary, he was forced to flee to Naples, before being pardoned through the influence of some cardinals. When Paul III was made pope, he was reinstated, only to accidentally kill a rival goldsmith, causing him retreat once more to Florence, and do work for the de’ Medici family, before returning to Rome to even greater acclaim, then briefly was in France, where he was received by Francois I (David Lloyd-George). On coming back to Rome, he was falsely accused of embezzlement, and imprisoned in the Castel Sant’Angelo. Escaped, was captured and tortured and re-imprisoned, but was finally released at the insistence of the cardinal for whom he had executed a seal. Returned to the court of Francois I in 1540, for a five year stay, was given letters of naturalization and received several royal commissions, but became the victim of jealousies and intrigues, despite the high level of the work he executed there, and was eventually forced to leave, when it was thought he had stolen from the royal purse. While there, he had a daughter with a mistress, who had served as a model. Came back to Florence in 1545, but was later forced to flee again on charges of sodomy once more, and wound up in Venice. Returned to Florence after continuing his ongoing outpouring of projects, expanding into sculpture, creating his bronze masterpiece, Perseus. Also took religious order the same year, but quickly renounced them. In 1556, an apprentice once more accused him of sodomy, and he wound up under four years of house arrest, thanks to the intercession of his patrons, the de’ Medicis. During this time, he began work on his boastful autobiography, an 8 year task that was dictated to a secretary in the colloquial language of the time. In his mid-60s, he married his housekeeper, Piera di’ Parigi, 5 children from the union. Wound up with a host of lovers, both male and female, showing considerably more tenderness to the former group than the latter. Despite being a superb craftsman, his lasting fame could come from his autobiography, My Life, which was immensely popular on the European continent during the Romantic epic, after it was published posthumously in 1728. Inner: Wrathful, prideful and monumentally restless, with a curious genius for getting into trouble. Cocked fist lifetime, once again, of testing his true value through outrageous acts and equally good fortune, in order to leave a golden and telling testament of his times, with himself at its very center. Andrea del Castagna (Andrea di Bartolo de Bargilla) (c1423-1457) - Italian artist. Outer: Born into poverty on his father’s farm. Probably received little formal training in art other than his own powers of observation. Practiced both goldsmithing and metalworking, before becoming a painter early in life. Influenced by both Masaccio (Pablo Picasso) and Donatello (Henri Matisse). Commissioned in 1440 by Cosimo de’ Medici (David Geffen) to paint a mural of the leaders of a rebellion hanging upside down by their heels, and gained the nickname of “Little Andrea of the Hanged Men” for it. Two years later he decorated a vault church ceiling with saints and prophets, in the only one of his works he ever signed, with his St. Luke probaby a self-portrait. Noted for beating up his critics, and for having the vilest of tempers. For centuries, it was believed he had killed Domenico Veneziano, a fellow artist in order to keep the secret of painting in oils to himself, although that was later found to be a spurious accusation based on his temperament, not his temperamental possessiveness about tempera, since the latter outlived him by four years. Exhibited a great emotional power in all his work, as well as an excellent use of perspective, most particularly in his “Last Supper,” which served as a model for Leonardo da Vinci’s (Gordon Parks) more intimate view of the same iconic scene. Painted in both Florence and Venice, with the major part of his career in the former city. Exerted a strong influence on succeeding generations of artists. Died of the plague some eleven days after his wife. Inner: Vile temper, both analytical and emotional, with a strong sense of the dramatic. Inventive lifetime of giving play to both his outer artistry and his continuing spill-over interior.


Storyline: The pictorial philosopher continually resurrects himself from the vicissitudes of political and physical fortune and misfortune to leave an enduring legacy of his own monumental mentality as an artist.

Abel Gance (Eugene Alexandre Perethon) (1889-1981) - French filmmaker. Outer: Raised by his maternal grandparents until he was 8, then brought up by a working/class mother and her mechanic boyfriend, from whom he took his name. The couple married when he was 7, with his stepfather working as a chauffeur and mother as a concierge, while his real sire was a prosperous Jewish physician. Pressured to be a lawyer, he worked as a law clerk, but was drawn to the theater and made his stage debut in Brussels at 19. Returned to Paris and acted in French films, while writing screenplays, but fell ill with tuberculosis through the artist’s standby of poverty and starvation. In 1910, he married actress Mathilde Thizeau, who acted in several of his films. Formed a film company after recovering and directed his first film in his early 20s, then was saved from service in WW I through ill health, and embarked fully on a directorial career. His experimental style was offputting with the company for which he worked, but his films were successful. Mobilized into the army during the last months of WW I, and became obsessed with making a filmed statement on pacifism. Nearly died at a poison gas factory, and was discharged, but he requested to be redrafted so he could shoot battle scenes with real soldiers. The film J’accuse, had a strong impact on audiences everywhere, and his rapid cutting technique was particularly effective. Fell in love with a company secretary, divorced his wife, but his new mate died of influenza in 1922, from which he recovered. Went to America to recoup his sense of loss, which was doubled by the death of his favorite collaborative star. Investigated Hollywood, but did not like it, and returned to France. Married a third time, his wife died in 1978. His greatest triumph was his epic Napoleon, which was shot in 1927 with three cameras and shown on a triple screen. The techniques he employed were a culmination of the technology behind silent films. Given a standing ovation when it was shown at the Paris Opera House, although it was horribly butchered in its first American release. Later added stereophonic sound effects to it. Despite completing a large body of work afterwards in a long career that stretched over 6 decades, he remained obsessed with the film, and felt bitter disappointment over its neglect by film scholars. It was eventually restored through painstaking efforts by a British director and given its full five hour showing replete with live symphonic orchestras. Died of a lung ailment two and a half weeks after its New York gala premiere, following his 92nd birthday. Inner: Highly innovative, technological visionary, with a self-righteous sense of injustice. Perservering lifetime of bringing his longtime artistic skills to a wholly new medium, creating several masterpieces, and living long enough to finally feel vindication for the central oeuvre of his life. Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) - French artist. Outer: Father was a prosperous textile dealer who was killed in a pistol duel when his son was 9, and he was insensitively raised by two architect uncles. Received a classical education in both art and literature at the College des Quatre-Nations, but was never much of a student, preferring to sit and draw in his notebook instead. Although his mother and uncles wanted him to be an architect, his own will prevailed, and he studied at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture with Francois Boucher (Yves St. Laurent), a rococco artist and a distant relative of his. Failures in official competitions led to a suicide attempt by starvation, but he finally received the Prix de Rome in 1774, after four attempts, which guaranteed him a successful future, and opened him up to neoclassicism, with its emphasis on draftsmanship over color, the mode he would pursue the rest of his career. Spent 5 years there absorbing everything from sculpture to household furnishings, while becoming a virtually storehouse of classical stories and lore, which would serve him well in the upcoming Revolution. On his return to Paris, he painted in the style of Nicholas Poussin, a past life of his, that also combined the French and Roman manners of expression. In his mid-40s, he married Marguerite-Charlotte Pécoul, the daughter of a wealthy building contractor, and prospered, 2 sons and twin daughters from union. Elected to the French Academy in 1783, he returned to Rome with his wife and entourage of assistants, and completed “The Oath of the Horatii,” which caused a sensation when exhibited in Paris, as a pictorial emblem of the republican patriotic morals of ancient Rome. Became a cultural hero in revolutionary France, giving visual stimulus to the French Revolution’s growing obsession with republican Rome as its precedented ideal and unconsciously, as its violent reality. Joined the extremest Jacobins, was elected to the National Convention, and voted for the death of Louis XVI (Lex Barker). As a member of the art commission, he was virtual dictator of artistic tastes in France. Turned to chronicling the events of his own time to equal dramatic effect, once the Revolution was established. Abolished the Royal Academy, staged elaborate national festivals, erected provincial obelisks, and placed his dominating cultural hand wherever he could. After the fall of the Jacobins, he was arrested, defended himself poorly and mumblingly and was twice imprisoned, although under comfortable circumstances. His wife, who had divorced him over voting for the death of the king, remarried him in a show of loyalty and support. Released under a general amnesty, he became a skilled portraitist and a prominent teacher, with Dominique Ingres (Pablo Picasso) as one of his prime students. After the rise of Napoleon, he found himself in governmental favor again, and became First Painter to the Emperor in 1804, but his work took on the overtones of the Renaissance and monarchical portraiture of the past, and he lost his imaginative impetus. After Napoleon’s fall in 1814, he was offered amnesty and a position as court painter to the restored Bourbon line, but he declined, and voluntarily exiled himself to Brussels, where the new romanticism could be seen in his final works. Struck by a carriage as he was leaving the theater, and died of heart complications from the accident. His body would subsequently be buried in Brussels, but his heart found its way back to Paris, where it was buried in the Pere Lachaise cemetery. His influence would outlast him in the decades to come, in the works of the academicians that followed him, although few could match his power and vitality. Inner: Proud, extremely political, with a strong sense of ancient Rome about him. Had a cheek tumor which gave him a speech impediment. Tumors are always indicative of deep-seated anger, in this case, in his formative powers of communication. Power-seeking lifetime of serving as a primary French cultural force, only to outlive both Revolution and the imperial reaction to it, while remaining a direct pictorial channel for the changing consciousness of his times. Nicholas Poussin (1593-1665) - French artist. Outer: From a Norman family that may have had noble blood in its past, but had since fallen into poverty. Father was once a soldier, but was a poor farmer by the time of his son’s birth. Nevertheless, the boy received a decent education, studying Latin, which gave him a lifelong interest in the classics, particularly Ovid (D. H. Lawrence) and Virgil (Ezra Pound), as well as the Bible, although his interest in art was not awakened until a painter visited his village to produce works for his local church. Inspired by him, he left home in search of a master, heading first to Rouen, then Paris in 1612, but found his poverty and rural ways were huge impediments, and he was eventually forced to go back home ill and disillusioned. Returned to Paris, and inspired by engravings of the work of Raphael (Pablo Picasso) and the poet Giambattista Marino (Mickey Avalon), hr headed for Rome, finally arriving there in 1624 after two aborted attempts. His social skills enabled him to make good connections, and he wound up spending most of the rest of his life in the Eternal City. Had a particular affinity for the Roman countryside, which he endlessly sketched. After enduring privation, he found a patron who instilled within him a love for Roman antiquity, which he researched thoroughly, in order to have a detailed knowledge of costume and architecture, which he then translated into his canvases. In his love for the past, he developed a hatred for current French culture, while leading a vagrant bachelor life, during which time he contracted syphilis. Abandoned and in intense pain, he was nursed by a family, and in his mid-30s, married their daughter, Anna Marie Dughet, nearly two decades his junior. The couple was childless, albeit quite close, and he ultimately adopted his wife’s brother, Gaspard Dughet, who became a landscape painter, and occasionally used his brother-in-law’s last name as his own. By his early 40s, he had expanded the size of his works into large narratives, with a focus on landscapes from 1648 onward, and a change of coloration from earthy reds and browns, to healing blues and greens, evincing an equal alteration in his own internal perspective, as he tried to counteract the ugliness of the outer political world, with his own vision of a perfected heavenly natural one, although he would also include image reminders of the depredations of the planet. Through his reverence for both the past and the natural world, he became one of Rome’s most renowned painters, as a pictorial classicist of the Baroque school. After much cajoling, and equal resistance on his part, he was induced to become court painter for Louis XIII (Cecil B. DeMille) in his late 40s. Despite receiving great honors, he arrogantly demanded to do work for which he was unsuited, and left after two years disgusted with court politics and feeling thoroughly humiliated. Following his wife’s death, which he mourned deeply, he lived modestly and away from artistic circles. As his health declined, his arms grew weaker and his hands began to shake so much, that he could paint no longer, and died soon afterwards. Inner: Alternately arrogant and continually humiliated, with a high sense of self-esteem to temper his on-and-off bad fortune. Attempted to open his imagination through totally rational means, with a preference for the idealized past over the volatile present. Allegorically well-read and intellectual, he was a true visual philosopher with a strong Stoic sensibility. Cerebral lifetime of doing battle with a contaminated body as a means of bringing forth his innate reverence for classical philosophical ideals via an ongoing reverence for both nature and the projected truisms of antiquity as a counterbalance to his discomfited presence. Nicholas Lancret (1690-1743) - French painter. Outer: Parisian by birth and temperament. First trained as an engraver, then studied at the Royal Academy in 1708, but was expelled for bad behavior and subsequently failed in a competition for his/story painters. Became a student of Claude Gillot (Jacques Demy) and while in his studio, he became friends with Antoine Watteau (Pierre Renoir), who had a profound effect on his work, although the two later broke because of a similarity of subject matter. Admitted to the French Academy in 1719 as a painter of scenes of courtly amusement or fetes galantes, and made this genre his life work. His prolific output was extremely popular, and he enjoyed many commissions as well as the patronage of numerous wealthy collectors. His elegant and charming scenes, however, lacked the subtlety and delicacy of Watteau. Ultimately became councillor of the Academy, but unlike the other lives in this series, remained an artist of secondary importance, sacrificing his inherent uniqueness for the non-demanding, but highly remunerative tastes of his times. Inner: Rebellious early in life, then settled into a non-challenging mode of feeding into an undemanding audience. Painstaking and precise in all that he did. Lesser lifetime of experiencing early disappointment, then playing with the superficialities of success, without challenging the deeper artist that lay beneath, through the conflicts he conjured in his later lives in this series. Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (c1446-1523) - Italian artist. Outer: Little known of his early life. Studied under Piero della Francesca (William Blake) and later under Andrea del Verrochio (luchino Visconti), to whom Leonardo da Vinci (Gordon Parks) was also apprenticed. Established himself and won a commission from the Vatican in 1481 to decorate the Sistine Chapel, although his frescoes were later destroyed by Michelangelo (Henri Matisse) in order to use the space for his own spectacular vision. Returned to Florence afterwards, and continued with his commissioned fresco work. Worked in a style that combined simplicity, style and grace, integrating his works with the architecture that framed them. His greatest pupil was Raphael (Pablo Picasso). In his 50s, his work began to decline, as he lost his imaginative impetus and began repeating himself, earning criticism and contumely. Left Florence for the less demanding commissions of Umbria, although did more work later on for the Vatican. His last commission was the completion of frescoes begun by Raphael. Died of the plague. Inner: Restrictive lifetime of being forced to deal with the limits of his imagination, and being eclipsed by both his primary pupil, and the far greater genius of those who followed him, which probably necessitated his far more dramatically conflicted existences later on in this series to allow his full talent full flower.


Storyline: The subjective observer reduces the world to its visual essence, seeing luminescent light and loveliness in all that his gaze graces.

Claude Lelouch (1937) - French filmmaker. Outer: Father was a Jewish confectioner and theater critic. Mother converted to Judaism on marrying him, although the duo constantly bickered. The family had lived in Algeria for several generations, and was originally from Palestine. His progenitor joined the free French forces in Algeria during WW II, and was rounded up with his mother at war’s near end. Fascinated by film from a young age, he won a prize for his first short, directed at 13, while being kicked out of 6 schools for going to the movies too often. Became a professional filmmaker at 19, making shorts and TV commercials. Trim and medium-sized. Continued shooting films during his army service, and made his first feature with financial help from his family, although he was forced to continue doing shorts for another two years, and then suffered through several commercial failures before finally establishing his career in his late 20s with A Man and A Woman, which showed his technical and visual skills, and would prove to be the high-water mark of his career. Continued making movies in a similar glossy romantic vein, focusing on the co-existence of good and evil while allowing his actors freedom of expression under the shiny gauze of his direction, which is geared far more towards style than substance. Married in 1980, divorced 5 years later, one child from union. Serves as his own producer, as well as scriptwriter, and occasionally cameraman, writing or co-writing every one of his films. Married actress Marie-Sophie L. in 1986, 3 children from the union. The duo were divorced in 1992, and the following year he married actress Alessandra Marines, one child from union. Formed a production company, Les Films 13, producing the works of others, while maintaining his reputation as one of France’s glossiest directors, with over 40 features. Inner: Glossy technician who likes to create visual worlds and then have his actors play off of them. Fascinated by how people meet, as well as love stories, since he sees no happy endings in them. Anti-elitist, and great believer in the easy accessibility of art. Sees his career as a work-in-progress, feeling if he were ever totally satisfied with a film, he would make no more. Elegant eyeball lifetime of expanding his pure sense of the visual into the moving canvases of film, while maintaining the ongoing dynamics of his unusually sharp-eyed sense of esthetics. Claude Monet (Oscar Claude Monet) (1840-1926) - French painter. Outer: Son of a grocer and ship chandler. When he was 5, his family moved near Le Havre, whose seaside landscapes and weather affected his sensibilities deeply. Never particularly interested in school, but he showed early promise as a caricaturist, and at the instigation of an aunt who was an amateur painter, studied with a local artist. At the suggestion of artist Eugene Boudin (H.Cartier-Bresson), he began painting in the open air, an uncommon practice at the time, which set him upon his career as master of light and shape through color. Visited Paris, but refused to attend conventional art school, much to his family’s annoyance, preferring informal training. In his early 20s, he began labeling himself by his middle name, Claude, rather than his given name, Oscar. Called into military service and was stationed in Algeria, where the North African light and color excited him. Returned home because of illness, and continued his studies, meeting the core of people who would give birth to Impressionism. Also became interested in Japanese prints at this time. Continually in financial straits, as he experimented with light and brush-works, and worked in concert with some of his fellow impressionists. At 30, he married Camille Doncieux, his longtime mistress, by whom he already had a son, and would have one more, then, to avoid the draft for the Franco-Prussian War, he traveled to London in 1870, where he was influenced by an earlier existence of his, John Constable. Returned to Paris, and began the procedure of painting the exact same scene under different conditions of light. Also drew incessantly, despite trying to give the impression that he was an impressionist who worked purely from painting outdoors. Began a liaison with Alice Hoschede, wife of a department store owner and mother of 5, whose husband abandoned her when he went bankrupt. His wife died in 1879, and Alice took care of his debts, as well as his spouse in her final illness, although did not become Mme. Monet until her own husband had died in 1891. The original impressionist group began going its separate ways, after exhibiting together eight times, although he did not participate in the last two exhibits. With Alice, he moved to Giverny in 1883 and bought a farmhouse and orchard there in 1890, and this would be his home until his death. In 1886, he had a well-received exhibition in NY, which cemented his reputation. Made trips to both London and Venice to render their waterways and buildings in his mature style. Diverted a stream near his house and created a magnificent garden and water lily pond, which would be the subject of innumerable paintings. The garden was eventually ravaged by floods in 1910, and the following year his mate’s death sunk him into deep depression. The year after, he discovered to his terror, that cataracts were diminishing the sight in his right eye. Refused to have surgery for over a decade, but continued painting on an even grander scale, working more from memory in his studio, and on a far more abstract level when out in nature. Although his eyes failed ever more towards the end of his life, he continued to paint right up until his death, although he destroyed many of his later canvases. Inner: Stubborn and persistent, with the obsessive tunnel vision of true dedication to a visual ideal, of giving light and color their true natural values. Intense, finicky and self-obsessed. Luminescent lifetime of leading one of art’s most revolutionary movements, Impressionism, and dedicating himself completely to his art, and his unerring eye for light and color. John Constable (1776-1837) - English artist. Outer: Born in a small village. 2nd son of a wealthy mill owner, and was genuinely devoted to his parents. Held a lifelong love for the rural world of his childhood. Raised for a Church career because of his precocity, then trained for his father’s business, although his determination to become an artist eventually led to his acceptance by the Royal Academy Schools in his early 20s. Not particularly gifted initially, but he knew where he was going artistically, and by the end of his 20s, he had some modest success. Realized he wanted to focus on landscape and the country scenes that had delighted him as a boy, and soon evinced his mastery over that genre. Forced to live in London, and also thwarted in his desire to marry his beloved because of her tyrannical grandfather. His parents died, which grieved him greatly, but he was given enough financial security to marry Marie Bicknel at 40, 7 children from the union. His wife suffered from tuberculosis, and he was extremely devoted to her. Settled in London at the same time, and his reputation grew, although he was far more appreciated in France than his native country, which was slower to accept him. Influenced many French artists. The death of his wife in 1829 affected him deeply, and he never recovered emotionally from it. His art evinced a much greater restlessness, although he received a large legacy from his father-in-law, and took a continued delight in his children. On his later canvases, he experimented more and more with color, as well as watercolor, reflecting the extraordinary sense of light of his chief landscape rival, J.M.W. Turner (Vincent van Gogh). Also employed his palette knife with greater effect, foreshadowing the impressionists in his evolving technique. Although his reputation was still limited at the time of his death, his contribution to the art of landscape was later recognized as inestimable. Inner: Determined and tenacious, with deep emotional attachments to all those who were close to him. Also conflicted, a workaholic, who doubted his own skills, and rejected his contemporary world, preferring to continually re-imagine the idyl of his childhood. Conservative in all things, happiest when tramping about in nature, with a preference for the natural world tamed by humanity. Close-knit lifetime of bringing landscape to new levels, by involving himself much more emotionally with his intimates, so that he would work from both interior and exterior sources. Claude-Lorrain (Claude Gellee) (1600-1682) - French painter. Outer: Of humble peasant birth, with his parents small property owners. Received little formal education, and, instead, was trained to be a pastry cook, but after his parents died when he was 12, he went to Rome as a young teenager. Apprenticed to a leading landscape artist there, and then to a pupil of his in Naples. Settled permanently in Rome, and, although unmarried, had a daughter who lived with him, as well as several younger relatives. Initially socialized with other artists, but gradually became more solitary, taking no part in the public life of the city. Established himself by the end of the 1630s, and in order to protect himself from imitations, created his Liber veritatis (Book of Truth), with drawings made from his paintings to establish their authentication. A fastidious worker, he labored solely and expensively on commission, and had many international patrons. Painted nature in its most idealized form, and became the leading artist of that genre in Italy. Did studies outdoors, but mostly worked in his studio, gradually building his works in scale and size over his life, until he had achieved the monumentality he is noted for. Usually had his figures in biblical or mythological dress. Painted into old age and amassed a considerable fortune, and was extremely influential over the next two centuries. Inner: Hidden personality, industrious, thrifty and financially shrewd, as well as extremely well-organized, lived entirely for his work. Extraordinarily meticulous, would lie in the field from dawn to dusk to see the light at every hour. Relatively solitary lifetime of finding his precise niche, landscapes, although not yet the style, that he would continue to pursue in his succeeding lives, while purposefully isolating himself in order to do so. Joachim de Patinir (c1485-1524) - Flemish painter. Outer: Origins unknown. Probably studied in Bruges. Joined a painter’s guild in Antwerp around the age of 30 and lived there the rest of his life. Influenced by both Hieronymus Bosch (Terence Malick) and Jan van Eyck (Alfonso Cuaron). Married twice, Albrecht Durer (D.W. Griffith) attended his 2nd wedding and did his portrait. Became the first Flemish painter to focus primarily on landscape, rather than the story or figures that it framed. His early works were more designs than paintings, while his later oeuvre showed an appreciable maturity of his skills. Specialized in religious subjects set in fantastical scenery, intermixing imaginatively projected people with totally naturalistic settings. Often did the background work for other painters, who used him to set off their foreground figures. Married twice, first to Francoise Buyst, and then after her death, he wed Jeanne Noyts in 1521, with several children from the first union. None of his works were pure landscapes because of the demands of the time, although his heart was obviously in the natural world, even if his patrons demanded it be peopled by unnatural saints. Inner: Foundation lifetime of experimenting with his own ongoing fascination with nature, while conforming to the tenets of his time.


Storyline: The delicate eye searches for sheer beauty in his highly decorative oeuvre, while carving himself a unique niche as the ballet-master of the storyboard and brush.

Jacques Demy (1931-1990) - French filmmaker. Outer: Father was a garage owner. Went to tech school to become a mechanic, but his artistic interests sent him to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. An avid cineaste since childhood, he made amateur films, but realized he would have to study the subject more, and went on to prove himself a brilliant student at the Ecole Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie. Became an assistant to an animator, then a documentarist in Paris. Began directing shorts and in his late 20s, shot his first feature, Lola, a tribute to director Max Ophuls. Best known for his third film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in which the entire dialogue is sung. Utilized a rich sense of color and decoration to all of his works, which were strongly visual and showed a light romantic touch. Less a storyteller than a creator of atmosphere, often working without a shooting script. His early work was his best; later repeated the same ideas with less success, never quite finding the same charming, innocent balance of his first films. Wrote or collaborated on all his own scripts. In his early 30s, he married director Agnes Varda, 2 children. Made several films in other countries, but they lacked the spontaneity of his original vision of cinema as an extended canvas. Suffered from leukemia and died of a brain hemorrhage as a result of it. Combined realism and artifice and stayed true to his vision, despite changing popular tastes, allowing his oeuvre to be shaped by movies past, with an underlying strain of melancholy in all his work. Inner: Painted a pastel balletic world with his cinematic brush. Intrigued by themes of chance, absence and relative time. Reworked lifetime of taking his theatrical and decorative sense into a new medium, with modest success, because of his focus on the artifice rather than the story-telling in his moving canvases. Edgar Degas (Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas) (1834-1917) - French artist, sculptor and engraver. Outer: From a well-to-do family, father was a banker of French-Genovese extraction, mother was from a wealthy New Orleans family. Had a brother and a sister. Read the law, before deciding to become a painter. In his early 20s, he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and studied with a pupil of Dominique Ingres (Pablo Picasso), idolizing the latter. Spent less than a year in art school, preferring to teach himself. Studied in both Italy and New Orleans, showing an early interest in everyday life as good subject matter for him, with a particular fascination with people, particularly the non-idealized female form. Copied old masters for a long time to insure his technique, and began his career in the academic mode, before slowly finding his original sense of the esthetic. Detested painting out-of-doors, much preferring the control of his studio. Used to go slumming in a top-hat, as a signal of his superior roots and his inherent posture as an outsider. Didn’t really discover his uniqueness as an artist until he was 50, spending an inordinate amount of time in his extended apprenticeship. Visited Italy several times, while showing a reverence for the cultural past. After exhibiting at the Salon, he joined the Impressionists in their anti-Salon shows, although often quarreled with them. Close associate of American painter Mary Cassatt (Agnes Varda) from 1877, although the true nature of their relationship remains a mystery, since both zealously guarded their privacy, and she destroyed all correspondence between them. Nevertheless, she would remain the one person who probably knew him best. The year after they met, his brother committed suicide on the floor of the French stock exchange, after going bankrupt, and though he had no obligation to do so, he spent years paying off his debts, while his embarrassed sister fled to South America to avoid the subsequent scandal. Turned into a miser afterwards, as well as a misanthrope, and ended any thought of ever getting married. Haunted the ballet theater, making it his own artistic province, and also did many racetrack paintings. Despite numerous bathers and dancers in his paintings, he thought little of women, other than as artistic objects. Led a largely reclusive existence, in order to isolate himself so that he could work more productively. More interested in visual phenomena than likenesses, he drew and painted from the vantage of voyeurism, while hardly ever working on commission, preferring to do people who interested him artistically. A superb draftsman and linear master, he also wrote sonnets. Experimented with photography, as well as other media, and excelled at pastels. In his later work, he returned to his earlier subjects, and obsessively repeated and isolated them in various forms. His eyesight failed towards the end of his life, and he became obsessed with his own growing blindness, living as a recluse while becoming a notable collector. Allowed dull despair to overwhelm him over his last several years. Stopped painting in 1914 and walked endlessly. Became deaf the following year, and at the end, his memory failed him, as he once more self-destructed through his mind. Inner: Aloof, neurotic and sexually repressed. Competitive and mercurial. Saw his art as totally contrived, and rebelled against impressionism’s two major tenets - plein air painting, and direct impression. Quarrelsome, eccentric and shy, albeit an egomaniac. Conservative believer in the traditions and disciplines of the past, although also open to the innovations and discoveries of his own time. Stand apart lifetime of privilege, allowing him a long time to discover himself as an artist, and once having done so, finding no particular motivation to unmask himself as a person. Claude Gillot (1673-1722) - French artist. Outer: Father was an artist who gave him his first instruction. Admitted to the French Academy in 1715, and painted to please the tastes of his time, although he was one of the first to recognize the inherent visual possibilities of rendering the theater on canvas. In addition to painting, he also directed scenery and costume design for both opera and theater. Teacher of Antoine Watteau (Louis Malle), passing on to him his love for Italian comedy, and then watching as his pupil’s talent vastly superseded his own. After the suppression of the commedia dell’arte in France in 1697, he turned to outdoor pantomime and marionette shows for his principal themes. Particularly noted for his pastels, although he was somewhat clumsy in his renderings. Did mythological paintings, and prints from theatrical scenes. Foreshadowed rococo art, and helped free French art from its classical conventions. Highly original, combining humanism with mythology and mythology with the theater. Inner: Had a great love for the stage as an expression of imaginative life. Painted the surface of things, rather than plumbing them, with a particular affinity for both movement and color. Artifice-celebrating lifetime of trying to stretch his artistic skills in order to render his own theatrical vision in its best light.


Storyline: The paint-wielding pioneer modestly blazes new trails for women in a variety of media, while adhering to progressive conventions but giving them the unique perspective of the feminine.

Agnes Varda (1928) - French filmmaker. Outer:Belgian/born French filmmaker. Outer: Mother was French, father was a Grecian-born engineer. During WW II, she lived in the south of France upon a boat with her family. Studied at the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre, hoping to become a museum curator. Became a photographer, instead, and while working at the Theatre National Populaire as its official lens-woman, saw that the cinema was her true medium. Had only seen a handful of movies when she made her first film in 1954, which was edited by Alain Resnais. Used nonprofessional actors and an oblique story-telling technique in anticipation of the French New Wave of directors. Established her reputation in 1962 with Cleo from 5 to 7, about a pop singer waiting to find out if she has a terminal illness, while continuing to use a semi-documentarian approach to her work. Her ongoing oeuvre would focus on women seeking to exist on their own terms. In her mid-30s, she married director Jacques Demy, one son from the union, actor.Matthieu Demy Earlier she had a daughter with director Antoine Bourseiller, costume designer Rosalie Varda. Founded her own production company in 1977, Cine-Tamaris, which gave her the freedom to mold her own material. Made several shorts and a feature in the US, which awakened her interest in leftist politics and feminism. Won international regard for Vagabound in 1985, a pseudo-documentary about a homeless wanderer. Wrote all her own screenplays. Her husband died when she was in her early 60s, and she oversaw the reissue of some of his works afterwards. Continues to explore what interests her via shorts and documentaries, while enjoying the freedom of full maturity, in etching her own unique career in a preserve long dominated by men. In 2017, while broaching 90, she formed an odd cinematic couple with 34 year old JR in order to explore elements of rural France in Faces Places..Inner: Small, dark, great energy, restless and impatient. Reawakened lifetime of bringing her artistic abilities to the silver screen, as a pioneering female director of her time. Mary Cassatt (1845-1926) - American artist. Outer: Of Huguenot descent, whose ancestors, the Crossarts, emigrated from Normandy to Holland to New Amsterdam several centuries earlier. From a middle-class background, where her family had enough money to indulge their taste and preference for travel, over the mundane demands of her father’s brokerage business. Her mother was highly cultivated with a great love of France, that she passed onto her daughter. Had two brothers and one sister. Her sire, who also had a small independent income from real estate and investments, became mayor of her hometown when she was 2. Wanted to become a painter ever since visiting Paris and Germany at age 6, during an extended multi-year tour of Europe. Her family returned and settled in Philadelphia, and though they wished to return to Europe, the Civil War interrupted their plans. Attended the Penna. Academy of Fine Arts for 4 years, but found it too academically constraining, and returned to Paris in her early 20s, to continue her studies, despite her father’s resistance, since he thought she would be viewed as a bohemian by Philadelphia society. Also found her Paris training too academic for her tastes, but the city itself, with its rich cultural heritage, enthralled and inspired her, and convinced her that she was, indeed, a serious artist. Forced reluctantly to come back to the U.S. during the Franco-Prussian War, via Italy, Spain and Holland, but at war’s end, she returned to Europe, initially to Rome, then Parma, before having a painting accepted at the Paris Salon in 1872, which she exhibited under the nom de peinture of May Stevenson, her middle name. After continuing her self-education in Madrid and Antwerp, copying masters, she returned to Paris, where she was deeply impressed by a pastel she saw in a shop window by Edward Degas (Jacques Demy), and inspired by it, had another portrait accepted by the 1874 Salon. Continued to expand her contacts, particularly with American expatriate artists, while her work began to reflect her growing confidence in herself. Eventually, she met Degas and he invited her to join the artistic outcast Impressionists. Developed a close and fruitful association with him, as he began visiting her studio daily, although their personal relationship and possible intimacy remains a mystery, due to the reticent nature of both. At life’s end she destroyed all his correspondence to her, as well as a portrait she did of him, so as to keep their affairs completely private. Neither ever married anyone else, either, thanks to a mutual sense of family responsibility. Her family moved to Paris soon afterwards, and her semi-invalid sister became her favorite model, although she was now responsible for her eccentric father and ailing mother, Nevertheless, her paintings soon began selling well. Also used other relatives in her portrayals of domestic life. Both brothers were highly successful and visited often with their families. Particularly enamored of the mother and child theme. After exhibiting four times with them, beginning in 1879, she left the Impressionists, along with Degas, and her work became clearer and more traditional. Always maintained a discreet distance from her Parisian peers, and never dipped into the offbeat demimonde world, portraying only socially acceptable milieus. By the end of the 1880s, she came into her full maturity as an artist, relying on simple, stable compositions. Did printmaking, and was also inspired by Japanese woodcuts, reaching her peak as an artist in the 1890s. Designed a mural for the Woman’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair, then moved to a chateau in Oise. After her mother died, which devastated her, she revisited the U.S., where her work was well-received. Continued painting until 1914, when she developed cataracts in both eyes. Lived in the south of France during WW I, and was awarded the Legion of Honor. Never recovered her sight, despite several operations, although she maintained her artistic interests until her death from advanced diabetes, and never descended into self-pity. Inner: Strong-willed, determined, with a great belief in her own talent. Felt women should be ‘someone not something.’ Witty, intelligent, moderately progressive. Pioneering lifetime of working out her perceptions of domestic relationships through paint and canvas rather than traditional conventions. Adelaide Labille-Guiard (1749-1805) - French artist. Outer: Father ran a fashionable flower shop. Mother was of delicate health, only 3 children survived infancy. Probably sent to a convent to learn how to read and write. Her family encouraged her artistic talent, and she learned from a miniaturist with a shop near her father’s. His son became her teacher, friend, and 3 years before her death, her second husband. Her mother and sister died when she was 20, and she married a financial clerk, no children from union. Separated from him a decade later, although continued to use his name. Studied pastels with Maurice Quentin de la Tour (Henri Matisse), and became an excellent pastel portraitist in her own right, before beginning to study oil painting with a childhood friend. After doing pastel portraits of French Academicians, she finally was accepted to the French Academy in 1783, a lifetime ambition of hers. Moved to a larger apartment, and took a great interest in the careers of her students, proving to be an excellent teacher. Her close relationship with Queen Marie Antoinette (Lana Turner) forced her to leave Paris at the beginning of French Revolution, despite her support of it. Ill for much of this traumatic period. Compelled against her will to destroy a huge painting she had worked on for two and a half years because of the Revolution, and was never able to summon the energy to do a similar work of breadth and scope. Petitioned for a long time for an apartment in the Louvre, which had been denied women, finally winning one in her mid-40s. In 1799, she married her teacher, Francois-Andre Vincent. Had a strong rivalry with Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun (Leni Riefenstahl), the predominant female artist of her time. Her work tailed off in later life, and, never particularly robust, she died in her mid-50s. Inner: Slow and careful worker, with an extremely subtle sense of color. Feminist in both theory and practice. Trail-marking lifetime of extending the possibilities of women artists who followed her, through her own dedication to the advancement of her craft and her gender.


Storyline: The meticulous craftsman entwines his many careers with a cohort of genius, and is able to stand strongly in the long shadow of the latter.

Georges Braque (1882-1963) - French artist. Outer: Both grandfather and father owned a prosperous house-painting firm and each was an amateur artist. The family moved to Le Havre, which had been haven of early impressionists. Had rugged but refined features, and was a good athlete and boxer, as well as a flute player. Studied art, then spent a year apprenticing as a house painter and decorator, picking up knowledge of materials and their imaginative use. After a further year of military service, the family supported him in his quest to be an artist. Studied in Paris, and often went to the Louvre, being particularly enamored of Egyptian and Grecian antiquity. Began loosely as an impressionist, then became a conservative Fauvist, before meeting Pablo Picasso, who was his same age. Eventually, he became so totally intertwined with him, that much of their early work was indistinguishable. Together they invented Cubism, which he augmented with adding letters and pasted paper to his works, presaging collage work. Traveled around France painting with his base in Paris, and at 30, married Marcelle Lapre, before WW I interrupted his career. His wife was a close lifelong companion. Served with distinction as an infantry sergeant, and was twice decorated for bravery in 1914. Suffered a serious head wound the following year, and spent a long convalescence at home near Avignon in the south of France. Rejoined the Cubist movement, but softened his technique with a freer brush and looser drawings, concentrating on still lifes. By the 1920s, he was a celebrated and prosperous artist, and had moved back to Paris. Bought a country house, and expanded his decorative art in numerous directions, including working on plaster with ancient Greek motifs and doing figure paintings. After WW II, he did repetitive works based on single themes, and continued to be honored and well-paid for his efforts. In his early 60s, he became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Louvre. Inner: Innovative to a point, meticulous, and sensitive to the possibilities of art in all things. Very physical, loved racing cars. Gilded lifetime of much honor, close association with longtime collaborator, and the development of his own unique imaginative expression of artistic modernism. Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864) - French artist. Outer: Father was an impoverished miniature painter. The middle of three artist brothers, although his older sibling’s failures initially discouraged him. Learned lithography from his sire, then studied under a sculptor at the Lyons Academy. Originally had a great passion for military subjects, which gradually gave way to icons of religiosity. Along with his younger brother, Paul, to whom he was extremely close, he studied under Dominique Ingres (Pablo Picasso), who exerted a strong influence on him. After struggling in poverty, he won the Prix de Rome in his mid-20s, and spent six years there, before returning to Paris. Delved into religious themes while in the Eternal City, which inspired his best known works. Focused on frescoes and church paintings, which brought him a steady spate of commissions, and guaranteed his success as an artist. Also an excellent portraitist. In 1856, he was elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. Because of his continual exposure to the unhealthy, damp environs of French churches, his health began to fail, and he eventually went back to Rome, where he died of smallpox. Inner: Traditionally religious, with a good sense of story and color, and a meticulous work ethic. Minor artist who did not challenge the tenets of his times. Bridge lifetime of exploring his spirituality through traditional artistic means, while integrating his Italian past with his French future. Giovanni Piazzetta (1682-1754) - Italian artist. Outer: Son of an obscure woodcarver, under whom he apprenticed, before abandoning the family profession to study painting. Went to Bologna to work in an artist’s studio, then returned to Venice where he spent the rest of his career. Influenced by works of Il Guercino, who opened him up to a bolder, more chiaroscuro style. Combined soft colors with dramatic styling. and his informal brushwork and shimmering figures prefigured rococo style. In his early 40s, he married Rosa Muziolo, 7 children from the union. Because he was such a slow worker, he had to depend on his drawings in order to support his extended crew, and was forced to live in poverty. As a painter, illustrator and designer, he had a strong influence on the younger Giovanni Tiepolo (Pablo Picasso), who was destined to far surpass him. Did frescoes and religious works, as his style transformed from the Baroque to the Rococco-pastoral, while his color gradually became more luminous. Ended his career by doing large-scale decorations based on themes from his/story. On the foundation of the Venetian Academy, he was made its first director, and taught nude figure drawing. Died in poverty. Inner: Meticulous, with a fine dramatic sense. Took scrupulous care over his paintings, often repeating them several times. Conscientious lifetime of continuing longtime association with Pablo Picasso figure, playing the role of teacher and exemplar in the ongoing evolution of both their artistic lives, while suffering financially throughout, perhaps as a spur to his slow-motion creativity. Pinturicchio (Bernardino di Betti Biagi) (c1454-1513) - Italian artist. Outer: Little is known of his early life. His nickname meant ‘Little Painter,’ and referred to his unimposing size. Also called ‘Lo Sordicchio,’ because of his deafness. Became associated with Perugino (Jacques-Louis David), who deeply influenced him in all his subsequent work. Assisted Perugino on his frescoes for the Sistine Chapel, and continued doing frescoes in Rome, although never developed beyond his master. Also knew Raphael (Pablo Picasso) who was one of his apprentices. Influenced the younger artist in both his work and inducing him to come to Siena. Decorated several rooms in the Vatican, and capped his career with further frescoes for the Siena cathedral. Used ancient Roman motifs in his work, as well as a brilliant sense of coloration, while employing tempera as his primary means of expression. Inner: Physically curtailed, which may have been a symbolic reflection of a resistance to growth and an unwillingness to listen, despite a keen visual sense. Limiting lifetime of dealing with longtime associates, and once again, being influenced by and influencing them in an ongoing collaborative partnership, as a lesser artist than they. Masolino (Tommaso di Cristoforo Fini) (1383-c1447) - Italian artist. Outer: Trained in Florence, then was a member of the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti (Frank Lloyd Wright). Closely linked throughout his career with the brilliant, but short-lived Masaccio (Pablo Picasso), who was initially his pupil. The two were from the same district, and worked on the same commissions, with Masaccio’s innovative genius clearly dominating his partner’s decorative late Gothic style, which was far less inspired. The latter soon superseded the former in their subsequent dual pairings. Admitted to the guild of the Physicians and Apothecaries in Florence in 1423. Worked in Hungary in the service of a ruler there, before returning to continue his collaboration with Masaccio on another series of frescoes. When Masaccio died, he was able to return to his initial style, freeing him from the shadow of his far more revolutionary countryman. Inner: Meticulous, but also monotonous in his composition, focusing on certain aspects of his artistry, but never bringing the whole uniquely together. Modest lifetime, once again, of working in close tandem with his longtime associate, without having the ability to truly assimilate his genius.


Storyline: The delicate courtier and couturier serves the rich and powerful with his cosmetic sensibilities, but somehow cannot maintain his fragile relationship with life into integrated maturity.

Yves Saint Laurent (Yves Henri Donat Mathie-Saint-Laurent (1936-2008) - French designer. Outer: Born to a wealthy French family in Algiers. Mother was a woman of great personal style. Father was a successful lawyer and insurance broker. Had a comfortable, secure upbringing, in a villa by the Mediterranean, along with two younger sisters. Had a close relationship with his parents, who wanted him to be a lawyer. A quiet and retiring child, he read very little, and avoided all sports save for swimming, but loved theater. After viewing a Moliere (Charlie Chaplin) play at 11, he recreated it in miniature, pasting the costumes together. Designed his mother’s clothes, who would have them made up by a local seamstress, and she went to become his biggest fan, sitting in the front row at all his shows, and wearing only his creations. A homophile and shy, he once considered throwing himself in the Seine with a prized bronze sculpture tied around his neck. 6’2”, albeit slender and fragile, with brown hair and blue eyes. Went to Paris to try his luck with theatrical and fashion design, and was hired by couturier Christian Dior, when several of the youngster’s sketches resembled his own designs, which were about to come out. Worked with him for 3 years, then was devastated by his death in 1957, but succeeded him at age 21 as head of the House of Dior, a $20 million a year concern. Drafted in 1960, but three weeks later, he suffered his first nervous breakdown in an army barracks, before being released, and entering a private clinic. Later claimed his drug dependency came from dosages given him in a military psychiatric hospital. Lost his position at Dior to his former assistant, Marc Bohan, and opened a new house with a young art dealer, Pierre Berge, and was again a huge success. Able to integrate the chic rich with the student rebellions of the 1960s, acting as a necessary bridge of haute couture into the electromagnetic media age. Bought a townhouse and chateau with Berge, and the duo became a celebrated couple, spending vast amounts of money on underscoring their good taste. Had a series of French bulldogs, all named Moujik, and collected both art and antiques. In the 1970s, he returned to a classical look, and enjoyed a peak of two decades, in which his name became synonymous with high fashion. Ran with a fast, rich crowd, while his influence waned, and he suffered from both alcohol and cocaine dependency for years. In 1983, he became the first living designer ever honored by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nevertheless, during the decade, he and his longtime partner suffered financial reversals, and they finally sold their couture house, and separated. Moved into his own apartment, and eventually became bloated from overindulgence, including 25 Cokes a day to make up for the alcohol, although continued marketing his name and wares, until he finally retired in his early 60s, after 4 decades as a premiere figure of fashion, before unretiring to prove he still had the cachet to be competitive in a very fickle industry, after Gucci bought his company. Finally said ‘adieu’ to couture in 2002. In increasingly failing health from respiratory ailments, he eventually slipped into a coma, and died several days later at his apartment. Inner: Very shy, and reclusive, and given to nervous prostration at inopportune moments, while following longtime patterns of creativity, anxiety and despair. Cultivated, sensitive, very attuned to color. Had few interests outside of fashion, and was work-obsessed. Extremely addictive personality, consuming vast amounts of tobacco, drugs and alcohol, with a sense of excess in everything he did. Eternal adolescent, with a need for sameness in his friends and pets to assuage his fears of change. Silver spoon lifetime of turning to fashion design as a medium for exploring color and texture, while allowing his emotions free and undisciplined run in his pursuit of money and cultural power, only to undo himself from overdoing everything else. Jacques Tissot (1836-1902) -French artist. Outer: Mother was a milliner, who ran a company with her sister making and exporting hats, while father was a textile merchant. Second of four sons, raised in a devout Roman Catholic household. Inherited a strong business acumen, as well as an eye for fashion, which he would later render in his paintings. Went to Jesuit schools, where he developed a fascination with all things English, to the point of calling himself ‘James.’ At 19, he went to Paris to study art, per his mother’s desire, and was soon selling his works, showing a particular affinity for portraying the emotional states of women. Soon achieved enormous success, showing at the annual salons and living a luxurious lifestyle, while also exhibiting as far afield as NYC. Collected Japanese prints, which were quite poplar among artists at the time, and wound up in 1868 as drawing master to the last shogun’s youngest brother. Also did caricatures for “Vanity Fair.” Despite his lack of revolutionary sentiment, he participated in the Paris Commune in 1871 and afterwards fled to London, where he became a society painter, and also did lightly satirical scenes of London life, while earning huge sums for his much in-demand work. In 1877, he set up housekeeping with Kathleen Newton, a young Irish divorcee with 2 illegitimate children, and chronicled their idyllic but claustrophobic domesticity. Within a week after she committed suicide in the final stages of tuberculosis at 28, he returned to France for good, save for a trip to Palestine. Considered too English by the French, he did 15 large paintings of the women of Paris, which were ill-received. Towards the end of his life, he experienced a sudden religious conversion and did a cycle of 365 gouaches illustrating the life of Christ, as well as another series on the Old Testament. The project brought him even greater wealth and fame, although his reputation as a serious artist had long vanished. Fell ill and suddenly died while working on excavations for a pond on an estate he had inherited from his father. Inner: Geared towards success and luxury, albeit with a strong sense of alienation. Used religion in the way he would later employ stimulants, as an opiate for the emptiness that mere materialism brings. Pleasure-pursuing lifetime of continually reinventing himself, and turning almost everything, including a late-found sense of piety, into commercial success. Francois Boucher (1703-1770) - French artist. Outer: Son of an embroidery designer who first trained him. Afterwards, he studied with a prominent decorator, although he was mostly self-taught. Won the Prix de Rome in 1727, and was influenced by past works of both Tiepolo (Pablo Picasso) and Peter Paul Rubens (Pierre Renoir). Returned to Paris in 1731, and quickly became the most fashionable painter of his day and a favorite of Mme. Pompadour (Raisa Gorbachev), mistress to Louis XV (Mikhail Gorbachev). Gained fame through his sensuous mythological paintings, executed in the French rococco style. Married Marie Anne Buseau at 30 and was admitted to the Royal Academy. Had 2 daughters and a son who became an architect and designer. Became the principal designer for the royal porcelain factories as well as director of the Gobelins tapestry factory in 1755. His elegant style became a hallmark of the royal court, with its frivolous subject matter and sure sense of pleasing, albeit unchallenging, esthetics. Teacher of Fragonard (Pierre Renoir), and best remembered as a decorator of boudoirs, with an excellent sense of draftsmanship. Received the title of premier painter to the king, and director of the Royal Academy in 1765. Eventually fell out of favor towards the end of his life because of overproduction, and the emptiness of his works. Ghostlike at the end of his life from overwork and dissipation. Inner: Highly social and ambitious, realizing all of his superficial goals. Perfectly emblematic of the frivolous aristocratic tastes of his time, and ultimately, like them, victim of his own excess. Surface-skimming lifetime of supreme success, only to fall prey to the void of both his ambitions and his vision, and the profound emptiness both ultimately brought him. Simon Vouet (1590-1659) - French artist. Outer: Father was a mediocre painter and served as his son’s first teacher. Thanks to his precocity, he was called to England by the king at 14, to do a refugee noblewoman’s portrait, although refused afterwards to remain a royal retainer. Returned to France in 1611 to follow the French ambassador to Constantinople, where he painted the sultan from memory. Lived in Italy for 15 years, from his early 20s on, where he was influenced by Caravaggio (Jean-Luc Godard), although he later softened the contrasts of light and dark of that dark artist. Returned to Paris at the request of Louis XIII (Cecil B. DeMille), who named him first painter. Introduced the Italianate Baroque style into French painting, and dominated the city artistically for the next 15 years, winning virtually all the important commissions of his time. In his mid-30s, he married Virginia da Vezzo, who modeled for his Madonnas and virgins, and was a painter in her own right. 5 children from the union which ended when his wife died a dozen years later. Remarried at 50 and had 3 more children. Exerted a powerful influence on pupils Charles Le Brun (Calvin Klein), Pierre Mignard (Halston), and Eustache LeSueur (Ralph Lauren), who ironically all would become fashion designers with him in the 20th century. An extremely facile painter, with an excellent sense of decoration and design, a creature far more of his time than of the ages. Inner: Conflict-free lifetime of exerting power through royal beneficence, and taking full advantage of his privileged position, without his usual sense of self-abnegation at its end that would appear in his later lives in this series. Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (c1489-1534) - Italian artist. Outer: From a large and poor family. Father was a tradesman. Ultimately took the name of the town in which he was born and died. Probably was a student of his father’s brother, who was a second rate painter, then studied in Northern Italy, although his early training is largely unrecorded. Influenced by the dominant masters of the time, including Michelangelo (Henri Matisse) and Raphael (Pablo Picasso), whose work he witnessed while visiting Rome, and most particularly Leonardo da Vinci (Gordon Parks). Had an extremely soft brush and soft feel for light and form, as well as a sweetness of expression and grace of pose to all his subjects. Married Girolama Merlini at 30, and spent most of the rest of his life in either Parma or Correggio. Best known for his mural decorations in Parma, including ‘The Assumption of the Virgin,’ his most famous painting, which anticipated baroque art. Also did a sybaritic series on Roman author Ovid’s (Leonard Cohen) “Metamorphosis.” His work was extremely sensuous, bordering on the soft core pornographic, and exerted an enormous influence on the decorators who worked in the baroque and rococco traditions who postceded him. Inner: Seen as melancholic and introverted. Innovative, with a particular affinity for the aesthetics of the female form, although was subject to over-affectation in his desire to capture delicate beauty. Voyeuristic voluptuary lifetime of developing the unique sensuous style that he would carry over many go-rounds, in his ongoing exploration of the pure esthetics of paint, canvas and cloth, and the tastes of the wealthy who support them.



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