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Jean Perronet

Jean Perronet biography
Public Domain

Jean Rodolphe Perronet biography

Jean Rodolphe Perronet, better known as Jean Perronet (October 27, 1708 – February 27, 1794), French engineer and architect. His family integrated by his father, a member of the Swiss guard. His mother was dedicated to the care of the home, this woman instilled in her son the love of study and admiration for his father. At the age of 17, he worked as an apprentice to Jean Beausire, the first architect of the town of Paris. At his side, he learned many things that allowed him to climb to the position of assistant engineer in 1735 in Alençon, and a year later he joined the body of bridge engineers in Paris. Two years later, he became an engineer of the general public of Alençon.

In 1747, he was appointed the director of the body of royal designers and was in charge of the production of maps and plans for the kingdom. Later, he worked at the famous École des Ponts et chaussées, of which he was the founder and first director, the engineering assistant Gaspard de Prony became his right hand. During this period of his life, he met the Swiss bridge builder Charles Labelye, when he changed residence, they continued to contact by mail. Thanks to the teachings of his friend, Jean Perronet undertook the construction of several bridges in his city.

This architect was also very interested in the publication of books about buildings, architecture, and designs. In this sense, he contributed to the writing of the Encyclopedia 2, published between 1751 and 1772 under the direction of Diderot and d’Alembert. He also participated in the writing of two articles, entitled Pompe à feu and Épinglier. He stood out in the structural architecture, being very recognized by his constructions of arcs in stone. His best-known work is the Pont de la Concorde. He was also in charge of the teaching of bridge and road engineers and the supervision of their work in the general public. Perronet was a true teacher and he used innovative and modern teaching methods for those times.

While assuming the position of collaborator in the Encyclopedia, he was appointed Prime Minister Ingénieur du Roi. Then, he was a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1765. Between 1747 and 1791, he ordered the rehabilitation of 2,500 km of roads. In the Encyclopedia, he wrote the article Pompe à feu. In his honor and to recognize his work the street was named next to the headquarters of the École des Ponts et chaussées with his name, in short, a statue of him has been erected in the northeast corner of the Île de Puteaux, at the foot of the Pont De Neuilly.

Besides dedicating himself to design planning, Jean Perronet also studied the manufacturing cycle of elements such as nails, tools, among others. This is for the purpose of studying and proposing a method to reduce manufacturing time and obtain finished parts in the shortest possible time. He was a very perfectionist and curious person, a question that led him to investigate and seek better methods and results. During the construction of a bridge in Mantes in 1763, Perronet discovered that the horizontal thrust of a series of elliptical arches was passed along the abutments at the ends of the bridge.

Based on this experimentation, he finished his definitive design of the stone arch to the way it is now known. Currently, we can see that this construction contains extremely flat arches, supported by a material called formwork and adhered by means of a known technique, at that time, as formwork. Although, later, some modifications were made, such as thinning the springs, in order to widen the waterway and reduce erosion of the current.

The result was aesthetically pleasing; Perronet Pont de Neuilly has been recognized as the most elegant stone bridge of the contemporary European period. Age was not an impediment for this man, at the age of 80 he began the construction of the Pont de la Concorde, originally baptized as Pont Louis XV, in 1787. The construction of this work was not interrupted despite the outbreak of the French Revolution. He ordered to keep the work going, completing it in 1791.

Almost ten years later his memoirs were published, they record all the work done by Perronet, for approximately 80 years, and his architectural works. Such as: Bridge in Orléans (1750-1760), Bridge in Mantes 1757-1765, Bridge in Trilport (1758-1764), Bridge in Château-Thierry, 1765-1786, Pont Saint-Edne in Nogent, 1766-1769, Bridge in Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1768-1774, Pont Les Fontaines, 1770-1771, Bridge in Sainte-Maxence sur l’Oise, 1774-1785, Bridge in Biais-Bicheret, 1775, Bridge in Nemours, 1776-1791, Bridge in Brunoy, 1784-1787, Bridge in Rosoy, 1786-1787, Pont Louis XVI, 1786-1791.

Jean Perronet died in the city of Paris, on February 27, 1794, at 85 years of age. His funeral was at a mass attended by several French people who admired his work, as well as his family and close friends.



Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí
Public domain

Biography of Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí (June 25, 1852 – June 10, 1926) was an architect from Reus, Catalonia, Spain. He came from a family of coppersmiths, and always enjoyed working with his father and grandfather in their family workshop. He became an expert in making boilers. As a child, Gaudí had delicate health and was forced to spend long periods of time resting, which prevented him from attending school. During this time, he devoted himself to observing his surroundings, particularly nature, which he considered to be his greatest teacher.

When he finished school at an older age than most children, Gaudí moved to Barcelona to study architecture, while working various jobs to pay for his studies. He graduated in 1878. It was clear that the young man’s ideas were original, unconventional, and left his colleagues amazed. The director of the university said that he was a kind of mad and genius.

Antoni Gaudí / Sagrada Familia

Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia / Antoni Gaudí

He started out as a collaborator in the offices of renowned architects of the time, one of them being José Fonseré, with whom he carried out a project. When it was finished, he accepted a solo project from the Mataronense Cooperative, an ambitious complex of which only the factory and a service kiosk were built. In 1883, he was hired as the architect of the expiatory temple of the Sagrada Familia. The work is considered his main artistic achievement, despite being left unfinished and without a well-defined project. Some years later, he took care of the construction of the crypt and the apse. At the same time, he worked on a civil project for the El Capricho villa and the Vicens house in Gracia for Manuel Vicens.

Antoni Gaudí set up his own office on the street known as the Call in Barcelona. From there, he began his characteristic architectural legacy, much of which is considered a World Heritage Site. In the mid-1878, he met and formed a working alliance and a sincere friendship with the artist Eusebi Güell, a promoter of the national industry with a marked taste for the arts. From that moment on, their paths advanced together. A bond of mutual admiration and shared interests was generated, which allowed the architect the opportunity to start a professional career to develop all his artistic qualities.

His artistic qualities took the name of Gaudinian architecture, based on his peculiar recreation of the Gothic style, his inclination towards curved and dynamic shapes, the application of artisanal decoration techniques to architecture, such as stained glass, wrought iron, and furniture designed by himself. Also, his unique use of mosaic fragments of ceramics contained with vibrant colors.

His relationship with Güell inspired, complemented, and further influenced Antoni Gaudí. He received a large number of commissions and proposed countless projects. Most of them, fortunately, were carried out, but some others were only captured on paper. During his mature period, masterpieces were coming one after the other, for example, the Bellesguard Tower, the Park Güell, the restoration of the cathedral of Mallorca, the church of the Güell Colony, the Batlló House, La Pedrera, and finally, the Sagrada Familia.

As the architect became more known and famous, he progressively acted more reclusively. Gaudí, who in his youth had frequented theaters, concerts, and gatherings, went from appearing as a young man with gourmet tastes and extreme elegance to an old man who neglected his personal appearance, ate with asceticism, and withdrew from social life while he devoted himself with more fervor to the mystical and religious field.

Antoni Gaudí died in a traffic accident, he was hit by a tram while walking on June 10, 1926 towards the Sagrada Familia from the church of Sant Felip Neri. After the blow, he lost consciousness, at the time people who saw the accident knew that it was the famous architect, he was also undocumented. He was taken to the Hospital de la Santa Cruz, where he would later be recognized by the priest of the Sagrada Familia. The funeral took place two days later at the Sagrada Familia, it was a crowded and heartfelt funeral: a good part of the people of Barcelona went out into the streets to say their last goodbye to the most universal architect that the city had seen.

He was a Catalan architect recognized internationally as one of the most skilled and prodigious in his discipline, as well as one of the main exponents of the modernist movement. His exceptional genius was the architect of the birth of a unique, personal, and incomparable architectural language that is difficult to define, categorize, and therefore imitate. In this way, Gaudí found the essence and meaning of architecture in being faithful to its patterns, always respecting its laws. The artist’s intention was not to copy or repeat, in this context, to make his architecture the most beautiful, sustainable, and effective possible.

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Gian Lorenzo Bernini Biography

Gian Lorenzo Bernini Biography

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (December 7, 1598 – November 28, 1680) Born in Naples, Italy. Architect, sculptor, and painter, considered one of the most prominent figures of Italian baroque and 17th-century architecture. The renowned Mannerist sculptor Pietro Bernini was trained as an artist in his father’s workshop and subsequently began working with the support of various patrons, including the Borghese family. He began his artistic career in the mid-1610s, with the sculptures San Lorenzo de la Reticle (1614), La Cabra Amaltea (1615) and San Sebastián (1616). He was appointed architect of the basilica of San Pedro in 1629 and since then he worked for various pontiffs and kings. Among his most outstanding works are the monuments: Sepulcher of Urban VIII and Altar of the Blessed Sacrament and the sculptures: Daniel and the lion and Habakkuk and the angel.



Son of Mannerist sculptor Pietro Bernini and his wife Angelica Galante; Bernini had as brothers Luigi, Dorotea, Eugenia, Agnese, Francesco, Vincenzo, Emiliana, Beatrice, Domenico, Camilla, Giuditta, and Ignazio. When Gian Lorenzo was six years old, the family moved to Rome, where his father began working under the protection of Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese, a member of the powerful and influential Borghese family. Established in Rome, Bernini began training as an artist in his father’s workshop, taking lessons in painting and sculpture. His father’s influence in these formative years and his interest in Hellenistic sculpture can be seen in his first sculptures such as San Lorenzo de la Reticle (1614), La Cabra Amaltea (1615), Faun joking with Cupids (1616) and San Sebastian (1616)

The overflowing talent of the artist led him to be quickly recognized by important personalities of the city such as the Borghese family, who since his youth supported him financially. Under the protection of the Borghese, Bernini restored and created important sculptures and monuments that enshrined them as one of the most important artists of his time. His first works with the support of the family were the four Borghesian Groups, a group of four sculptures that addressed biblical and mythological themes. These four sculptures were: Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius (1618-1619), based on the work Virgil, Aeneid; The Rapture of Proserpine (1621-1622), David (1623-1624) and Apollo and Daphne (1622-1625).



After becoming known as a sculptor of the powerful and influential Borghese family with the sculptural group known as the four Borghesian Groups, Bernini became one of the most sought-after and important sculptors in Rome, being in charge of most of the architectural works of The ecclesiastical community. His first work was the statue of Santa Bibiana for the church of the same name commissioned by the then Supreme Pontiff Urban VIII, who fascinated by his work named him the architect of God and architect in charge of St. Peter’s Basilica in 1629. Shortly before his appointment, Bernini began to build the new altar of the basilica, on which stands a large bronze canopy supported by four columns of Solomonic style; Built between 1624 and 1633.

While carrying out this work, the construction of the Mausoleum of Urban VIII began, which ended in 1647, with several years of delay. Later he created the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1647-1651), a marble sculptural group commissioned by Cardinal Cornaro, currently located in the Church of Santa María de la Victoria. For this same period he created the works in marble La Verdad (1645) and the Fountain of the Four Rivers (1648-1651), for the Navona Square, works that were considered the artist’s summit.

In the course of the 1660s, he finished his work in the basilica, decorating the interior with his famous sculpture, Cathedral de San Pedro (1666) and building his iconic elliptical colonnade and the Scala Regia at the entrance of the basilica.

During this same period, he made several architectural constructions such as the collegiate church of Ariccia and the church of Castel Gandolfo for the Chig family and the Sant’Andrea for Camilo Pamphili.

In the mid-1660s, he moved to France to deal with the restructuring of the Louvre, but his designs did not like the French commissioners, so he returned to Italy in six months; During his stay in France he was commissioned to perform the Equestrian Portrait of Louis XIV, a statue that after several modifications was located in the Palace of Versailles.

Upon returning to Rome, Pope Alexander VII commissioned him to the tomb construction, a monument of great importance in which the Pope is harassed by death with four allegorical figures: Charity, Truth, Prudence, and Justice. The Tomb of Alexander VII (1671-1678) and The Bust of the Savior, were the last works of this renowned Italian sculptor. Bernini’s work profoundly influenced Italian baroque art and 17th-century European architecture, reaching to influence the work of artists such as the British Christopher Wren and the Spanish Ventura Rodríguez.

This prominent Baroque architect died on November 28, 1680, in Rome.


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Vasíli Kandinski

Vasíli Kandinski biography
Public Domain

Vasíli Kandinski biography

Vasíli Kandinski (December 4, 1866 – December 13, 1944), Russian plastic artist. He was born in Moscow, Russia. His family was of high status, his father Vasíli Silvéstrovich Kandinsky served as kyakhta tea merchant, his father’s mother was part of the Mongol aristocracy and was part of the Gantimúrov dynasty. Lydia Ivanovna Tijieyeva, his mother, was from Moscow. His family always tried to give Kandinsky the best, he went to prestigious schools and had private piano and cello teachers, art was always very important to him. When he entered youth he began his studies of Law and Economic Sciences at the University of Moscow; there he also studied ethnography. These studies alternated them with drawing and painting classes.

When he finished his studies, he decided in 1892 to marry his cousin Anna Chemyákina, until in 1904, due to complex differences, they divorced. A year after being married, he took the position of associate professor in the Faculty of Law. In 1896 he understood that his satisfaction was in art, and the University of Tartu offered him a vacancy as a professor and rejected it to devote himself fully to art. It is necessary to indicate, that he was driven by an exhibition he attended on the Impressionists in Moscow; where he delighted with the works of Claude Monet and the representation of Lohengrin by Richard Wagner at the Bolshoi theater.

To that extent, he moved to Munich with the intention of studying painting, initially, he was not admitted to the Art Academy. So, he studied temporarily at the private academy of Anton Ažbe. He made another attempt to be admitted to the Academy of Art, succeeding in 1900. At the Academy met influential teachers in his career, for example, his teacher Franz von Stuck, who taught him great techniques for painting in shades of gray. After that, he decided to take a trip to several places in the countries of Europe that lasts a few years. When he returned, he decided to adopt his chromatic abundance style and the simplicity of the forms.

His style was taking a tendency to abstract art. In 1911, he thought about founding a team of artists to promote and organize various art exhibitions in Munich and Berlin, initially. For this reason, he contacted his colleagues August Macke and Franz Marc, founding then Der Blaue Reiter. At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, he was forced to return to his place of origin; there he will be responsible for organizing various activities of the Department of Fine Arts of the Popular Commissariat of Education. As a result, Der Blaue Reiter had to freeze his projects for a while until they settled in Dessau in 1925.

To stabilize somewhat the German situation, Wassily Kandinsky decided to go back in the twenties to join the prestigious School of the Bauhaus, one of the academies craft, art, design, and most emblematic architectural history and most important XX century, as a teacher, until the Nazi policies issued its closure in 1933, arguing that this institution showed a clear socialist and Jewish tendency, many of its members were persecuted, they should flee to those countries where Nazism not dominated

However, while Vasíli Kandinski exercised his teaching profession he left a very important legacy in the art world: he was responsible for the professionalization of industrial design and graphic design. In addition, another of his contributions to the art world was to determine the bases of modern architecture and also the establishment of a new aesthetic pattern in various aspects of art. Feeling the German atmosphere full of hostility, he embarked on a new direction to the French country, where he spent the rest of his life. While in France, he began to focus on abstract art; artistic tendency that excludes figuration in its creation, in other words, there is no place for real spaces, objects, and landscapes, among others; meanwhile, shapes, colors, and lines predominate, which will form a completely independent visual language and a different reality.

Then Vassily Kandinsky, abstract art to master decided to innovate and enter a special branch of this trend: lyrical abstraction, this is a branch of abstract art that emerged from the year 1910. The basic characteristic of this artistic proposal is the purest emotional manifestation of the artist through painting, that is, serves to represent personal and immediate emotion and does not give rise to objective representation but subjective. Some of Kandinsky’s works that are part of this line are Impression No. 5, Black Arch, Composition VIII, Unstable Composition and Conglomerate. The most used technique is watercolor, although they also used oil, gracias to that the color is always preponderant on the form.

Apart from being considered one of the most outstanding in abstract art and lyrical abstraction; also, Vasíli Kandinski is considered a precursor of expressionism, at the time, this movement was an authentic vanguard, which was characterized basically by heterogeneity. In other words, it was not a style with specific and uniform characteristics but, on the contrary, it contained different tendencies and different artists that tried to give a different touch to each work, thanks also to its different formations.

In that sense, Expressionists defended and promoted a personal art in which the internal vision of the artist prevails. The fundamental characteristics of his works were the invented forms, the colors combined in the most complex way possible, the geometric signs and the Slavic ornamentation, a faithful exponent of it was Paul Klee. Also, it should be noted that Kandinsky as art theorist was a promoter of this trend and this has been expressed in several literary works of his authorship, such as: Of the spiritual in art, Der Blaue Reiter’s Almanac, Point and line on the plane.

Vasíli Kandinski died on December 13, 1944, at the age of 77 in Neuilly Sur Seine, a suburban area of ​​Paris. The death was caused by arteriosclerosis, which then caused a stroke. Unfortunately, his legacy began to be recognized some years after his death, so, in life, he did not get the great recognition he deserved.

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