These photos by Northern France-based outdoor and lifestyle photographer Stef Kocyla shows isolated huts, churches, and cabins set against the beautiful backdrop of the Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy.
These buildings provide a safe refuge for hikers and offer shelter when the climate changes.
The stark contrast they make against the stunning landscape makes them something you might want to want to see next time you visit Italy.
See more of Stef Kocyla’s work on Behance or at his website.
Veronese main Photograph: The National Gallery Photographi The National Gallery Photographi/PR
by Michael Prodger
To the contemporary viewer, Paolo Veronese, 1528‑1588, is a conundrum.
How can one of the greatest of all painters not be a great artist, too? The answer was inadvertently suggested by one of his most ardent admirers, Henry James: “Never did an artist take a greater delight in life, seeing it all as a kind of breezy festival,” he wrote.
“He was the happiest of painters and produced the happiest pictures in the world.”
Happiness is a trait that does not always play well now: we might prefer that Veronese displayed instead a hint of Michelangelo’s terribilità, Leonardo’s intellectual restlessness or Titian’s all-encompassing human sympathy.
To his contemporaries, however, the pomp and celebration to be found in his pictures were not defects but his distinguishing triumphs.
Giorgio Vasari, the Florence-centric painter and artist-biographer, was sufficiently impressed by Veronese’s art and status to include the Venice-based painter in his second edition of The Lives of the Artists.
He was educated as a humanistic scholar and became tutor to several of the great ducal families.
One of them, the Pio family, provided him with money to establish a printery in Venice. Aldus was at this time almost 45 years old.
He devoted himself to publishing the Greek and Roman classics, in editions noted for their scrupulous accuracy; a five-volume set of the works of Aristotle, completed in 1498, is the most famous of his editions.
He was especially interested in producing books of small format for scholars at low cost.
To this end he designed and cut the first complete font of the Greek alphabet, adding a series of ligatures or tied letters, similar to the conventional signs used by scribes, which represented two to five letters in the width of one character.
Books produced by him are called Aldine and bear his mark, which was a dolphin and an anchor (seeabove).
Aldus employed competent scholars as editors, compositors, and proofreaders to ensure accuracy in his books.
Much of his type was designed by Francesco Griffi, called Francesco da Bologna.
The Aldine Press was later managed by other members of his family, including a son, Paulus Manutius (1512–74), and a grandson, Aldus Manutius (1547–97), who was best known for his classical scholarship.
La Gioconda, or Mona Lisa, c. 1503–1506 by Leonardo da Vinci
Editor’s Note: Dianne Hales is the author of Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered.
Here, Dianne joins Biographile to discuss the odd, inexplicable things people do when faced with the Mona Lisa, exemplifying the bizarre syndrome known as the Stendhal Syndrome.
From acts of aggression, to lust, to selfie-infatuation, behold the myriad acts of mania the Mona Lisa induces.
Presidents and princes lauded her. Poets penned sonnets to her. Singers crooned of her.
Admirers reproduced her image in beads, bread, bulbs, jellybeans, Legos, seaweed and just about every other material imaginable.
But Leonardo da Vinci’s model has stirred more than adulation. A vandal threw acid at the lower part of the painting.
A young Bolivian flung a rock, chipping the left elbow. A Russian woman distraught over being denied French citizenship hurled a souvenir mug. The portrait, barricaded behind bulletproof glass, was unharmed.
The attacks stem, according to art experts, from the same source as the admiration: the deep passions Leonardo’s lady evokes.
But don’t blame his model.
As I discovered in years of tracing her life, Mona (Madame) Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo (1479-1542) was the proud daughter of an ancient Tuscan clan, the teenaged bride of a prosperous silk merchant twice her age, the mother of seven (including a stepson), a devout Catholic and, in her husband’s words, a “noble spirit.”
As a refined woman of Renaissance Florence, she would have been horrified by the outbursts.
So why does her portrait trigger such intense reactions?
Start with Leonardo, who with thousands of feather-light strokes captured the immediacy of a real, breathing human being centuries before the invention of the camera.
His masterpiece, the art historian Giorgio Vasari wrote, “would cause every brave artist to tremble and fear.” No one could have predicted its effect on mere mortal onlookers.
For centuries, the portrait resided in princely palaces, admired by an elite few.
Only after the French Revolution liberated “the people’s art” did Mona Lisa go on public display in the Louvre.
As Romanticism swept across Europe in the 19th century, hers became the face that launched a thousand fantasies. Suitors bearing flowers and impassioned notes climbed the grand staircase of the Louvre to gaze into her “limpid and burning eyes.”
“Lovers, poets, dreamers go and die at her feet,” a French curator wrote in 1861. He wasn’t exaggerating. The artist Luc Maspero threw himself from the fourth-floor window of his Paris hotel, leaving a farewell note that said, “For years I have grappled desperately with her smile. I prefer to die.”
Emotions intensified after a thief stole the Mona Lisa in August, 1911.
Millions mourned as if a person rather than a painting had gone missing.
By the time of her return to the Louvre in 1914, Mona Lisa had been transformed into art’s first mass celebrity, famous for being famous, part of the public domain that anyone could use — or abuse.
The artistic affronts began with Marcel Duchamp, who painted a moustache and goatee on a postcard of the Mona Lisa and called it L.H.O.O.Q. (letters that, when spelled in French, sound like slang for “she’s got a hot ass”). Dali, Magritte, Warhol and other modern masters couldn’t keep their hands off her.
Contemporary artists have pushed the parodies ever further with works like Gorilla Lisa, Gaso Lisa (drenched in oil) and Unicorn Mona (with a horn in the middle of her forehead).
Self-Portrait at the Clavichord with a Servant, c. 1577, Oil on canvas.
Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna on August 24, 1552, the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who was a prominent painter of the School of Bologna at the time and served as her teacher. Continuing the family business was typical at the time.
Her earliest known work, ” Monkey Child”, was painted in 1575 at the age of 23. Though this work is now lost, another early painting, Christ with the Symbols of the Passion, painted in 1576 is now in the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. She would go on to paint in a variety of genres.
Early in her career, she was most famous for painting upper-class residents of her native Bologna.
She began her commercial practice by painting small devotional paintings on copper, which had popular appeal as papal and diplomatic gifts, given the value and lustre of the metal.
In addition to portraits (the typical subject matter for women painters), she later created large scale paintings with religious and mythological themes which sometimes included female nudes.
Fontana married Paolo Zappi (alternately spelled Paolo Fappi) in 1577. She gave birth to 11 children, though only 3 outlived her.
After marriage, Fontana continued to paint to support her family. Zappi took care of the household and served as painting assistant to his wife, including painting minor elements of paintings like draperies.