Survey 10: Fortune and the Führer (1930-1945)

1930 to 1945: A Summary my Bois

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince

The Little Prince, or “Le Petit Prince” is the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The novella was first published in 1943, and has since been voted the best book of the 20th century in France. It has been translated into 300 different languages, including dialects, and it is one of the best selling and most widely translated books in history. The Little Prince has also been adapted to many different art forms including radio and live stage plays, film, television, opera, ballet and audio recordings.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Saint-Exupéry escaped to North America. Despite personal upheavals and failing health, he produced most of the writings he would become remembered for in North America, including The Little Prince.

The Little Prince is styled a children’s book, but it is suitable for people of all ages as it makes several observations about life and human nature throughout. The fox’s messages in the novel are arguably the book’s most famous quotations because they deal with human relationships.

Le Petit Prince, illustrated cover by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Inspiration and Creation

The Narrator

Many parallels can be drawn between the story of The Little Prince and Saint-Exupéry’s own life experiences. The story’s narrator, the pilot, talks of being stranded in the desert beside his crashed aircraft. Similarly, Saint-Exupéry also experienced being stranded in the Sahara. In fact, On 30 December 1935, at 02:45 am, after 19 hours and 44 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his copilot-navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Sahara desert in an attempt to break the speed record for a Paris-to-Saigon flight. Their crash site is thought to have been near to the Wadi Natrun valley, close to the Nile Delta. Both Saint-Exupéry and Prévot miraculously survived the crash, only to be lost in the sand dunes for a total of four days with less than a day’s worth of hydration. They were found by a Bedouin on a camel who administered a native rehydration treatment, saving Saint-Exupéry’s and Prévot’s lives.

Saint-Exupéry next to his downed Simoun (lacking an all-critical radio) after crashing into the Sahara about 3 am during an air race to Saigon, Vietnam. His survival ordeal was about to begin (Egypt, 1935).

Asteroid B-612

The prince’s home, “Asteroid B-612”, happens to have the same name as one of the planes Saint-Exupéry flew as an airmail pilot, which bore the serial number “A-612”.

The Fox

During his service as a mail pilot in the Sahara, Saint-Exupéry encountered a fennec (desert sand fox). In a letter written to his sister Didi in 1928, he also tells of raising a fennec that he adored. These experiences likely drove him to incorporate a fox in his story. The character and personality of the fox, however, is thought to have been modelled after the author’s intimate New York City friend, Silvia Hamilton Reinhardt. The novella’s iconic phrase, “One sees clearly only with the heart”, might also have been suggested by Reinhardt.

A quote from the fox in The Little Prince.

The Baobabs

The fearsome, grasping and destructive baobab trees might have been a subtle representation of Nazism and their course for world domination.

The Little Prince

Much speculation has taken place about the source of inspiration for the Little Prince’s character. The prince’s character and appearance may have been inspired from Saint-Exupéry’s own self as a youth, as during his early years friends and family called him le Roi-Soleil (“the Sun King”) because of his golden curly hair.

Other possible inspirations for The Prince’s character include Thomas De Koninck, an eight-year-old boy with curly blond hair he met in Quebec City in 1942, or Land Morrow Lindbergh, the young, golden-haired son of a fellow aviator (met in 1939).

The Prince might also be partially derived from a Christ figure, as the child is sin-free and “believes in a life after death”, subsequently returning to his personal heaven.

The Little Prince and his Rose, from the 2015 film.

The Rose

It is believed that the prince’s kindhearted but petulant and vain rose might have been inspired by Saint-Exupéry’s Salvadoran wife Consuelo de Saint Exupéry. The prince’s asteroid would have been based on his wife’s small native country, El Salvador, also known as “The Land of Volcanoes”. Though they had a rather rocky marriage, Saint-Exupéry cared immensely for her.


Wikipedia, The Little Prince:

The Little Prince:

The New Yorker:

Art Deco: A Brave New World

Survey 9: A Toit Summary by Jake Peralta

cool cool cool cool cool cool cool no doubt no doubt no doubt

Art Deco: The True Beginning of Modern Architecture

Art Deco, also called style moderne, movement in visual  arts and architecture that originated in France just before World War 1 and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s. The style got its name from the Parisian Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, where the style was first exhibited in 1925. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials, representing wealth and luxury, glamour and sophistication, and faith in social and technological progress. Modernism was fashionable, and the sleek, simple, clean shapes, often with a “streamlined” look was present in everything from individually crafted luxury items to (rarely) mass-produced wares.

Chrysler Building in New York City. Built in 1930, at 1,046 feet (318.9 m), the structure was the world’s tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world with a steel framework.

The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920s and 1930s are monuments of the Art Deco style. In the 1930s, the Art Deco style became more subdued due to the effects of the great depression. New materials such as chrome plating, stainless steel, and plastic helped Art Deco evolve into a sleeker form of the style, called Streamline Moderne. This new 1930s trend featured curving forms and smooth, polished surfaces. Art Deco was one of the first truly international styles, but its dominance ended with the beginning of World War II.

Dome of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (1910–1913), with an Art-Deco rose design by Maurice Denis.
Art Deco style Crown of the General Electric Building (also known as 570 Lexington Avenue) by Cross & Cross (1933).

From 1915 to 1925 – Headfirst into the Roaring Twenties

Survey 8 – A Summary

These were years of turmoil throughout Europe and North America. The Assassination of Franz Ferdinand triggered the first total war, known throughout as the Great War, and nations were moved against each other on a global scale thanks to propaganda campaigns and other contributing war efforts. The world was left bare after a staggering loss of 16 million men in battle, and following the post-war depression the roaring twenties rose from the ashes. Writers and artists who survived the war became leaders of the dada and mertz movements, which rejected the social, political, and cultural values of the time. The Russian constructivist and suprematism movements, which sprung from the Russian Revolution, were based on the idea of rejecting autonomous art. The idea of constructivism was that art should be constructed for social purposes, whereas suprematism focused on geometric forms and shapes. De Stijl and surrealism, also founded by writers, rose up in the artistic world not long afterwards. Culturally, the world changed massively during the 1920s. With the beginning of the golden age of radio and the prohibition in North America, people were brought together in underground clubs and jazz became popular everywhere. Magazines also became important during this time, and the advertisement industry was booming along with ever-growing consumerist culture. Stay posted for the inevitable economic downfall to come.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur, better known as Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) was a French fashion designer and businesswoman, as well as the founder the Chanel brand. She is credited with the post-World War I liberation of women from the constraints of the corset and hourglass silhouette, instead popularizing a sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style. Chanel was the only fashion designer to be listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, and for good reason. She extended her influence beyond couture clothing to design jewellery, handbags and accessories, as well as fragrance. Her signature Chanel No. 5 became her most iconic scent.

A Leading Legacy

In 1915, Chanel’s designs were already taking over the fashion world. With her rise to the spotlight, the corseted female silhouette was finally tossed aside. The constraints, frills, long hair and hobble skirts of the 19th century made way for a redefined fashion aesthetic composed of youthful ease, liberated physicality, and unencumbered sportive confidence.

Coco Chanel wearing a sailor-inspired outfit, 1928.

Chanel’s enthusiasm for sports led her to design clothing based on her favourite activities. She most notably appropriated uniforms associated with sailors, fishermen and life at sea: the horizontal striped shirt, bell-bottom pants, crewneck sweaters, and espadrille shoes.

The Jersey Fabric

Chanel’s first breakthrough was with her creative and innovative use of jersey, a machine knit material traditionally used for the manufacture of undergarments.

The introduction of jersey to high-fashion worked well because the war had caused a shortage of other materials and women’s fashion was moving toward simpler and more practical daywear. Chanel’s loose and fluid jersey suits and dresses allowed for free movement as they were created for practicality. Women who were working for the war effort as nurses, in civil service, and in factories needed this type of comfortable garment and thus it became very popular. Also, since their jobs involved much physical activity and travelling to get to work, outfits that could endure strain and that were easily put on were ideal.

Three Jersey outfits designed by Chanel, 1917.

Suntans are IN!

Chanel managed to turn tradition on its head and not only make suntans socially and fashionably acceptable, but have them become a symbol of privileged life and leisure. In the past, continued sun exposure identifiable through tan was the mark of low-class outdoor labourers. Milky white skin was a sign of aristocracy. Under the influence of Chanel, the women of the mid-1920s were lounging on the beach as sun bathing and tanning were now fashionable.

The Chanel Bag: Yet Another Must-Have!

In 1929, Chanel introduced a handbag inspired by soldier’s bags. The user could keep her hands free as she carried it thanks to its thin shoulder strap. Chanel updated its design in 1955, creating the “2.55” model, which was named for the date of its creation.

Chanel 2.55 Bag, Black.

The Little Black Dress

One of Chanel’s most important contributions to the fashion lexicon is the concept of “The Little Black Dress”, a style still used today. The actress Suzanne Orlandi was one of the first women to wear a Chanel velvet little black dress with a white collar in 1912-1913. Chanel vowed that she would have all women dressed in black by 1920.

Coco Chanel’s Original Little Black Dress.

1905 to 1915 – Germany is Catching Up

Survey 7 – Ten Years Summarized

These years were ones of definite transition for the entire world. In Europe and North America especially, the move towards modernity is at its peak as design aesthetics are revolutionized to fit with mass production and an increasingly consumerist society. Revolutionary inventions and advancements such as the Wright bothers’ aeroplane and the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway allow people everywhere to be more connected than ever before, and the newly released affordable Ford car and soon-to-come first trans atlantic phone call would only decrease the distance between people and communities around the globe. These inventions allowed for successful explorations of the north and south poles, a quick paced sharing of ideas which would influence fashion, art, and everyday life. They also played a major role in the development of modern warfare as first seen in the First World War. Everything was happening at a quicker pace than it had ever done before, leaving victorian and archaic society and ideas behind as the world sped forward at an increasing pace.

The Deutscher Werkbund – Werk those Design Principles

The Deutscher Werkbund, in english ‘German Association of Craftsmen’ was a coalition of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists, established in Munich in 1907.

The Werkbund heavily influenced the development industrial design and modern architecture, especially in the later creation of the Bauhaus school of design. Less of an artistic movement, the Werkbund was more of a state-sponsored effort to integrate traditional crafts and industrial mass production techniques. It was meant to raise German companies’ competitiveness to rival England and the US in global markets. The Werkbund motto, Vom Sofakissen zum Städtebau, meaning ‘from sofa cushions to city-building’, shows the association’s wide range of interest.

1914 Werkbund exhibition poster.

The Deutscher Werkbund’s intellectual leaders, architects Hermann Muthesius and Henry van de Velde, were influenced by the leader of the English Arts-and-crafts movement William Morris. However, Van de Velde and Muthesius expanded Morris’ ideas past from creating only hand crafted goods to include machine-made goods. Another new idea of theirs was that form should be determined only by function, and that decorative ornamentation was unnecessary.

Thought their fundamental ideas were very similar, Muthesius advocated the greatest possible use of mechanical mass production and standardized design, whereas Van de Velde maintained the value of individual artistic expression. In 1914, the Werkbund adopted Muthesius’ philosophy.

Simple “Weißenhof chair”, Werkbund, 1927.

Originally, the Werkbund had twelve architects and twelve business firms. These architects included Peter Behrens, Theodor Fischer (the first president of the Werkbund), Josef Hoffmann, Bruno Paul, and Richard Riemerschmid. Affiliated were Heinrich Tessenow and Henry van de Velde.

The Members of the Werkbund were focused on improving the overall level of taste in Germany by improving the design of everyday objects and products. This very practical aspect made it an extremely influential organization among industrialists, public policy experts, designers, investors, critics and academics.

Peter Behrens – The First Industrial Designer

Peter Behrens (14 April 1868 – 27 February 1940) was a German designer and architect. Important to the modernist movement, he employed the young Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius who were to become leading figures in the modernist movement themselves. 

When he was young, Behrens worked as a painter, illustrator and bookbinder in an artisanal fashion. A frequenter of bohemian circles, he took was interest in subjects relating to the reform of lifestyles.

Peter Behrens in his Berlin office, 1913.

In 1899, Behrens built his own house as a part of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, fully conceiving everything inside including the furniture, towels, art, etc. This project is considered to be the turning point in his life, when he left the artistic circles of Munich and moved towards a sober and austere style of design.

The music room in Behrens’ house at the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, 1901.

In 1907, Behrens gathered with other architects and companies to create the German Werkbund. His work for AEG was important as it demonstrated on a large scale the Werkbund’s objectives and initiatives.

In 1907, AEG retained Behrens as artistic consultant. He designed the entire corporate identity including logotype, product design and publicity, and for that he is considered the first industrial designer in history. He never in fact was  an employee for AEG, instead acting as the company’s  artistic consultant.


Britannica, Henry Van-de- Velde:

Britannica, Deutscher Werkbund:

Wikipedia, Deutscher Werkbund:

Wikipedia, Peter Behrens:

1895 to 1905: The New Century Begins

Survey 6 – The Quick-paced Revolution

In this survey we mostly studied the evolution of art and design in the 10 short years from 1895 to 1905, and the impact these revolutionary changes had on the world. We saw the birth of Art Nouveau and the artists such as Alfons Mucha Gismonda that epitomized the style, as well as its transformation into something close to modern art by the Glasgow Four and Talwin Morris. The translation of Art Nouveau to architecture as well as poster design, advertising and erotic art by people such as Hector Guillmard, Ethel Reed and Aubrey Beardsley was also significant. Art styles and trends were being created and dropped more quickly than ever before, and scientific and technological innovation was advancing at the same unparalleled speed. Thomas Edison’s phonograph and moving picture quickly evolved into the first publicly released movie in 1895 by the Lumiere Brothers, and Ferdinand Zeppelin showcased this first passenger-carrying blimp only months later. Progress ranging from the first trans-atlantic message being sent in 1901, to the first successful plane test by the Orville Brothers four years later was being made at this time. However, the advancements being made in the domains of art, science and technology have not yet reached the stiff aspects of victorian society at this time. The change is imminent; the suffragette movements all over the world following the success of women in New Zealand have only just begun, and views on race, sexuality and nationalism will also begin to change in the near future. Breathe the air of revolution!

The Ancient Olympic Games

The ancient Olympic Games started as a part of a religious festival in honour of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses. The festival and the games were held in Olympia, a rural sanctuary site in the western Peloponnesos.

The Greeks that came to the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia shared the same religious beliefs and spoke the same language. The sanctuary was named after Mt. Olympus, the highest mountain in mainland Greece. In Greek mythology, Mt. Olympus was the home of the main pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses. The athletes were all free male citizens of different statuses from the city-states from around the Greek world, coming from places such as Spain in the west and the Turkey in the east. The competitors ranged from Kings such as Alexander I of Macedonia, to philosophers such as Democritus and shepherds such as Polymnistor. Participants came to compete for honour, symbolized as a laurel wreath, and large monetary prizes were also allocated to winners. There was no such thing as second or third place in these games. Anyone who did not win was considered dishonoured.

Modern Artist’s Impression of Ancient Olympia.

The ancient Olympic Games may have begun in 776 BCE, when the cook Koroibos from the city of Elis won the 600 feet stadion track race. It is possible, according to some sources, the stadion race was the only athletic event of the festival for the first 13 Olympic Games (until 724 BCE). From their beginning in 776 BCE, the Games were held in Olympia every four years for almost 12 centuries.

It is also possible, according to other literary and archaeological evidence, that the games may have existed at Olympia much earlier than 776 BCE, Going as early as the 10th or 9th century BCE.

The marathon, contrary to popular belief, was not an event of the ancient Olympic games. It was introduced for the Modern Olympic Games of Athens in 1896. It was a race from the town of Marathon (northeast of Athens) to the Olympic Stadium, a total distance of 40 km.

The race (now called the marathon) commemorated the run of Pheidippides, an ancient “day-runner” who carried the news of the Persian landing at Marathon of 490 BCE. to Sparta (a distance of 149 miles) in order to enlist help for the battle. According to the fifth century B.C.ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Pheidippides delivered the news to the Spartans the next day.

The distance of the modern marathon was standardized as 26 miles 385 yards or 42.195 km in 1908 when the Olympic Games were held in London. The distance was the exact measurement between Windsor Castle, the start of the race, and the finish line inside White City Stadium. 

Let’s Look at Nudes… Nudity. Nudity at the Games. 

In the late days of the ancient Olympics, nudity was common for the contestants. But how did this tradition start? There are two stories, or explanations as to how nudity was introduced at the games. One states that it was the runner Orrhippos of Megara who, in 720 BCE, was the first to run naked in the stadion race after losing his shorts mid-race. Another tradition is that it was the Spartans who introduced nudity to the Olympic Games in the 8th century BCE. as it was a Spartan tradition. It is not known whether the first recorded victor at Olympia, Koroibos (winner of the stadion race in 776 BCE) was nude or not. 


The ancient Games were took place in Olympia, Greece, from 776 BCE through 393 CE. 1503 years later, the now modern Olympics returned to Athens, Greece, in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a Frenchman, presented the idea in 1894 and is considered responsible for the rebirth of the tradition. He originally imagined that the modern Games would first take place in Paris in 1900, but delegates from 34 countries were so eager that the date of the Games was moved up to 1896, and Athens was selected to serve as the first host.

The Olympic Flame: A Modern Spark 

The idea of the Olympic Flame of Torch was first unveiled in Amsterdam’s 1928 Olympic Games. This was a completely modern idea, as no such ritual had been followed in the ancient Olympic Games. Torch relays were, however, held in several other ancient Greek athletic festivals, forming the basis of the idea of the Olympic Torch. The modern Olympic torch relay was first instituted at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, shortly after the introduction of the Olympic Oath in 1920. 

A relay runner carries the Olympic flame before the start of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Women at the Games? 

In the ancient Games, married women were not allowed watch to participate in any of the events. Unmarried women were allowed to attend the competition, and the priestess of Demeter (goddess of fertility) was considered an honourable guest and was offered a privileged position next to the Stadium altar.

While women weren’t allowed to compete at the ancient Olympics, there was a separate festival in honor of the goddess Hera in which unmarried girls could participate in footraces. The festival is thought to be as ancient as that of the Olympic Games.

Fun Fact!

The Pankration, a sporting event of the ancient Greek Olympic Games introduced in 648 BCE, was an empty-hand submission sport with almost no rules. The athletes were allowed to use boxing and wrestling techniques as well as any others such as kicking and holds, locks and chokes on the ground. The only things not acceptable were biting and gouging out the opponent’s eyes. This event was often a fight to the death.

The Pancrastinae. This is a Roman statue portraying the pancratium, an event identical to the Greek Pankration. This statue is a Roman copy of a lost Greek original, c. 3rd Century BCE.


Wikipedia, Ancient Olympic Games:

Wikipedia, Pankration:

Penn Museum, the Real Story of the Ancient Olympic Games:

Penn Museum, The Women: Were the Ancient Olympic just for Men?:

Time, The Olympic-Torch Relay:,8599,1932160,00.html

Survey 5, from 1850 to 1895 – So little time for so much progress!

From 1850 to 1895: A Summary

The age of Enlightenment was highlighted by King Albert’s Crystal Palace which hosted the Great Exhibition in 1851. Over six million people from around the world came to attend the event, in which  thousands of stands and curiosities spanning over 10 miles stood. Later, in 1859, Charles Darwin published his book ‘The Origin of Species’, and in 1861, William Morris created Morris and Company, and is now credited for beginning of the later Arts and Crafts movement. His aim was to return to the time when every object was hand-crafted with care, and he came up with a multitude of patterns resembling those of old illuminated manuscripts to decorate wallpaper, carpets and curtains.

From the 1880s to the 1890s was the true beginning of the Arts and Crafts movement. In 1882, the Century Guild founded by AH Mackmurdo and Selwyn Image.  They wanted craft to be valued on the same level as Fine Art. Following this came the founding of the School and Guild of Handicraft by CR Ashlee, as well as the publishing of the Century Guild Hobby Horse magazine. The emergence of these magazines encouraged literacy as well as more work opportunities for illustrators, designers. Advertising was also elevated to a new level with this.

It’s really difficult not to include everything in this summary as it feels as all that we learned about made a significant impact on the world in different ways. The creation of the Linotype machine, the emergence of Japanese-inspired artwork, fashion and way of living, and the blossoming of impressionism all occurred in this time frame. The first postcards without images were immensely popular in 1869, and soon photography brought imagery everywhere to a new level. With the invention of the Kodak camera in 1889, this technology became available to the general public. (Check out last week’s post for more background on the evolution of photography!)

While there is much more to talk about, what I found most interesting about this time is the work of Jules Cheret. He really brought out the notion that important figures should be highlighted in bold colours, and had a tremendous role in empowering women and supporting the suffrage movement. He was also very sought after, which was pretty much a first for a designer.

Impressionism: Is it really ‘Art’?

Impressionism is an art movement that developed in France in the late 19th century. It gained its name from a painting by Monet entitled Impression, Sunrise (1874), and the style itself was strongly inspired by both Édouard Manet’s own early style as well as Turner’s late works such as The Fighting Temeraire (1839) and The Great Western Railway (1844). In painting, impressionism was most prominent in works produced from 1867 to 86 by a group of artists who shared approaches, techniques, and discontent with academic teaching. The original group included Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Berthe Morisot. Later on, Édouard Manet, who was in turn influenced by the impressionists, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne as well as others joined them.

The Fighting Temeraire, c. 1839 by JMW Turner. This atmospheric work influenced the birth of the later style of impressionism.

The distinct feature of the work of these artists was the attempt they made to record a scene accurately and objectively. They aimed to capture the fleeting effects of light on colour and texture.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, one of the most renowned masterpieces of impressionism.

To do this, they left behind the traditional muted brown, grey, and green colours and adopted a lighter, more brilliant palette. They stopped using greys and blacks for shadows, and built up forms out of subtle flecks and dabs of colour; and often painted out of doors rather than in a studio. Traditional, formal compositions were discarded in favour of a more casual and less minutely configured array of objects in the painting. The impressionists’ subject matters ranged from landscapes, trees and houses to urban street scenes, plein air gatherings and railroad stations.

Camille Pissarro, Boulevard Montmartre, c. 1897. I thought this artist was a woman until I searched him up. I was so disappointed.

The French Academy’s Salon, a group of academics that determined whether art was worthy or not to be exhibited, was consistently rejecting most of the Impressionists’ works. So, the group held their own exhibition in 1874 at their own ‘Salon des Refusés’; seven others followed. A critic mockingly described the artists as “impressionists,” and they then adopted the name as they thought it accurately described their intention. Impressionism wasn’t accepted at the time of their first few exhibitions, but the style became influential from the late 1880s after the group dissolved.

Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son (Camille and Jean Monet), Claude Monet c. 1875.


Wikipedia, ‘Impressionism’:

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, ‘Salon des Refuses’:

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Impressionism:

Philip’s Encyclopedia, Impressionism:

Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought, Impressionism:


Survey 4: Things are Getting Steamy

Steam, as in the steam engine. Get your minds out of the gutter.


From 1750 to 1850: A Summary

What a lot can happen in just 100 years. The long eighteenth century gave way to the age of enlightenment, in which the industrial revolution began to change the face of the world forever. The French revolution made a big step forward in its beheading of the monarchy; the times of feudalism and kingship had passed and the voice of the people rang out in a new political and philosophical age.

With the invention of the steam engine by James Watt, industrialism and urban cities came to life as mass production rose. Technological and scientific innovation were rampant especially within the new reign of queen Victoria, and with the industrial fabrication of materials such as iron and steel dawned the era of railways. By the mid 19th century, transportation by train and boat had become faster and more efficient than ever, and tools such as the cast-iron and steam press allowed for prints to be produced at an unseen rate.

With this new widespread distribution of printed materials, the role of writers, illustrators and designers became prominent. The creation of new type and layout was needed by advertisers, authors and printers in every occasion. Common people learned to read and write, and the beginnings of public education could be seen in the mid 1800s.

This new industrial era also allowed for foreign trade and policy to reach a peak, and the invention of the telegram facilitated rapid communication. Around this time, Japan opened itself to outside trade and its culture and art made a massive impact on the high society of the Victorian era. It is interesting to see how the style of Japanese artists influenced expressionist painters as well as fashion during the late 1850s to the early 1900s.


The Invention of Photography: It came in a flash

In 1802, Thomas Wedgwood (1771–1805), experimented with paper soaked in silver nitrate. As a result of his exploration he found that he was able to copy an image onto the paper with the use of glass and sunlight, but that the result could only be preserved in the dark. These were called photograms. Although he was unsuccessful in preserving his images, Wedgwood was the first to make a documented attempt at capturing camera images in a permanent form.

From 1816 to 1833, Joseph Niepce experimented with the effects of light on treated surfaces. He was the first to manage to fix an image that was captured with a camera, but a minimum of eight hours of exposure was required produce a picture. His partner, artist and entrepreneur Louis Daguerre, continued his work and eventually developed the daguerreotype process. The daguerreotype only needed a few minutes of exposure to the camera, and the results were clear and detailed as opposed to Niepce’s previous attempts which had come out mostly blurry. In 1839, the invention was publicly announced and given to the world by the french government as a ‘free gift’ (unpatented), with instructions published. Thus practical photography was born and spread.

This photograph, the oldest known in the world, was made by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce in 1825.

“Daguerreotypes used highly polished silver sheets, iodized for sensitivity to light. Light from the subject passed through the camera’s aperture, creating a latent image on a silver sheet that was developed by mercury fumes and fixed by immersion in hyposulfite of soda. Hypo (sodium thiosulphate), discovered by the English scientist John Herschel in 1819, could be used to fix residual salts, an essential stage in the stabilization of photographic images, which otherwise would continue to darken when exposed to light.” (World History Encyclopedia, Photography, this is much too science-y to paraphrase without messing up). The Daguerreotype process was the most common commercial process until the late 1850s.

“Boulevard du Temple”, a daguerreotype made by Louis Daguerre in 1838. Known as the “first photograph to include people”.

In the same year, only a bit later than Daguerre, the English scientist William Henry Fox Talbot announced the success of his paper-based negative and salt print processes. In 1841, Talbot invented the calotype process. It was advantageous over the daguerreotype process, because a calotype negative could be used to make a large number of positive prints by contact printing. The Daguerreotype, on the other hand, could only be copied by rephotographing it with a camera. However, the calotype never became widely used as Talbot patented his process, but his process remains at the base of chemical film cameras today. After these first camera processes were invented, progress was made by inventors in the 1840s such as Hippolyte Bayard, John Herschel,  Janez Puhar, Niépce St. Victor, the Langenheim brothers, John Whipple and William Breed Jones.

“Willy”, Captured by Mary Dillwyn in Wales in 1853.

The Church Wasn’t So Broke When They Created Baroque

Survey 3 Summary

1450-1750: The Age of Printing

This particular lecture was focused on the evolution of printing and typography in Europe and the changes it brought on in society and the world. We discussed the founding of the first printing company by Gutenberg’s former partner, Fust, and his associate Scheffoer. Together these men invented printing in more than one colour, and first introduced the colophon. Their success turned Germany into the centre of printing, but this was quick to end as political and religious unrest rose within the country and forced the printers to move their trade to Rome. Here came into existence the Roman and Greek inspired use of uncials and half uncials, called “batard”. From there, printing also spread to France, where Adobe Jenson created another font to be named after himself. With the rising success of the printing industry and the constant creation of new fonts and types, a need for punch cutters grew and the trade developed into an industry of its own. The printing and distribution of books led to the invention of copper plate cutting, which in turn allowed for illustrations to be more accurate and detailed. These illustrations were printed into textbooks of science and medicine as well as in religious books such as the Art of Dying. With this evolution came the rise of design as we now know it; layout, fonts, typeface and illustration became an important part of anything printed and written throughout the 16th to 18th century. The invention of printing revolutionized the world as we know it today, and the growth of the industry groomed Europe for the industrial revolution to come.

Movable type sorted in a letter case.






Italian Baroque Architecture: A Bit Excessive Maybe?

Baroque architecture first emerged in Italy during the late 16th-century. It took as a basis the Roman-influenced Renaissance architecture and grew into a theatrical style meant to express the triumph of the Catholic Church. Baroque architecture and art was a reaction on the part of the Catholic Church to the reformation that had begun with Martin Luther in Germany. New explorations of form, light and shadow, as well as dramatic intensity are all characteristics of this style. Gigantic proportions, big open central spaces, twisting columns, theatrical effects created with lighting, bronze, gilding, trompe-l’oeil (quadratura) effects and clusters of religious figures overhead were common in Italian Baroque spaces.

The Church of the Gesù: The Birth of Baroque

The Church of the Gesù is the mother church of the catholic religious order of the Jesuits. Located in the Piazza del Gesù in Rome, the church was completed in 1580 and was consecrated in 1584.

The facade of the Gesu, designed by Giacomo Della Porta, is known as “the first truly baroque façade”, and introduced the baroque style into architecture. The church served as model for innumerable Jesuit churches all over the world, especially in the Americas. Its paintings in the nave, crossing, and side chapels became models for Jesuit churches throughout Italy and Europe, as well as those of other orders.

“The façade of the church is divided into two sections. The lower section is divided by six pairs of pilasters with Corinthian capitals, while the upper section is divided with four pairs of pilasters. The upper section is joined to the lower section by a volute on each side. The main door stands under a curvilinear tympanum, while the two side doors are under a triangular tympanum. Above the main door one can see a shield with the letters IHS representing the Christogram. The façade also shows the papal coat of arms and a shield with the initialism SPQR, tying this church closely to the people of Rome.” (Wikipedia). Really didn’t know how to explain this otherwise, so I didn’t. Wikipedia did.

Giacomo Della Porta’s baroque facade on the Church of the Gesù

Northern European classical architecture: An Intro

The Northern European approach to classical architecture was predominantly neither Baroque or Rococo. Countries such as England, Holland, northern Germany and Scandinavia tended to keep to Renaissance and Palladian architectural themes, then later switched to Neoclassicism. Their style was less colourful than Italy’s Baroque style and France’s Rococo. With emphasis on orders based more directly on Roman rather than Greek traditions, the architecture of these northern countries was in many instances of high quality, well designed dignified and impressive. It was never as colourful, richly ornamental or breathtaking than the style of the south.

English Baroque Architecture: Is it really Baroque though?

The English baroque manner differed from that of the continent and the countries of the south in its clarity of design and subtle taste for classicism. It developed later than the baroque style which was influential in the mid-17th century in France and Italy. Sir Christopher Wren is the architect that really brought the english baroque style to life in the 53 churches he designed and constructed after the devastating Great Fire of London in 1666. These churches’ dynamic structure and multiple changing views are key baroque features.

London’s Anglican St Paul’s Cathedral (1675-1711) is the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It was Wren’s most ambitious project and is now the second largest cathedral in England. The original church on this site, founded in AD 604, was also dedicated to St Paul the apostle and remained so through its reconstructions. The present cathedral was designed in the English Baroque style, and its majesty can be compared with some of the most magnificent domed churches in France and Italy.

Cathedral Church of St Paul the Apostle







Works Cited:

The Architecture of Europe by Doreen Yarwood

From 0 CE to 1450 CE: A Brief History

Survey 2, God and Gutenberg: A Summary


In this survey we reviewed the history and advancements of what is known as the Medieval period (0-1450). The people of the European and Arabic world began in this time to discard polytheistic religions in favour of monotheistic ones. Christianity, Judaism and Islam rise and Armenia is the first to adopt one of these, Christianity, as a state religion. Much of the discovery and advancement we discussed revolved around paper and writing, and the somewhat sluggish sharing and propagating of these ideas especially between Eastern Asia and Western Europe. While in China paper which had already been invented was used to create books, in Europe and the Middle East the use of Egyptian paper was gradually discontinued and replaced in the second century with expensive parchment. Made from animal skin and less brittle than papyrus, parchment was used to create vertical scrolls and eventually bound books known now as codices or illuminated manuscripts. However, these were few and far between as they were expensive, took laborious work to create as they were written by hand, and were usually written in Latin (In Europe). The majority of the population being illiterate, few had access to these precious items. Some of these codices include the Vergilius Augusteus and the Book of Durrow. Codices were also created at the same time in Mayan civilization, though only three of these books remain today. Something I found fascinating was the evolution of handwriting styles during this time. Along with the translation of manuscripts and codices into the Medieval peoples’ common languages, lettering evolved not only for stylistic effect but also for practicality. Style of illumination or illustration of these codices varied and changed according to culture and situation as well, and the invention of block printing changed the fabric and clothing making industry as well as the illumination practice. With the reinvention of the printing press by Gutenberg in Germany, long after that of Bi Sheng in China, the era of codices gradually came to an end to be replaced with printed books as we know them now.


The Middle Ages: China and the Middle East Prove to Lead in Scientific and Technological Advancements while Europe just kind of Follows Along

An oversimplified view of the Middle Ages often results from a predominantly Eurocentric historical account. In fact, five great civilizations, writing in five different languages, make up the bulk of the history of medieval mathematics and science. These include China, India, Arabia, the Eastern or Byzantine Empire with Constantinople at its centre, and the Western or Roman Empire.    

Human societies around the world had traditions of thought about nature. However, the concept of “science” as we know it had yet not fully emerged in medieval times. Science was one with magic or religion in most cultures and groups. In many societies, healing was considered to be closely connected with the powers of wizards, shamans or holy people. In Christian Europe, studies of natural philosophy even in universities were closely tied with the church. The goal of these studies was foremost to illuminate the glory of God.

So at this time, science hadn’t yet really severed its links with magic. Astronomy was still tied to astrology, and it was believed that physicians should schedule medical treatments for the astrologically correct time. Chemistry, known as “alchemy” usually involved experiments alongside magical rituals, and this type of practice was generally frowned upon by Christian and Islamic authorities.

The closest relative to science as we know it today existed mostly in China, and to some small extent in the Islamic and Christian worlds, where researchers in science and medicine received some of the knowledge of classical Greece. Arab philosophers and scientists were the most intent followers of Greek advancement in the early Medieval age. They began the study of optics, as well as advanced mathematics, astronomy, medicine and other disciplines. Their work had impact on the Latin Christian world, where works were translated from Arabic into Latin, and India, where the arabic advancements helped create their own medical tradition. Through the Arab world the Indian numeral system was adopted and spread to Europe, where it virtually replaced the Roman numeral system in the practices of science.

While the European, Middle Eastern and North African cultures did build on the Ancient Greek school of thought, they did not go as far as challenging its fundamental assumptions. The ancients— Ptolemy in astronomy, Aristotle in physics, and Galen in medicine— held a kind of untouchable authority over their respective disciplines even after their systems were modified substantially by the late medieval physicists of Oxford and Paris who introduced new ideas about motion and mathematical treatments that would later have influence over Galileo.

The Alchemy of Happiness – a text on Persian Islamic philosophy and spiritual alchemy


A Russian Shaman, a person who interacts with the spirit world.







The ideas of Ancient Greek thinkers were usually challenged or denied when they were incompatible with the monotheistic religion descended from Abraham. Old ideas which challenged the belief in the creation of the world and universe by a single all-powerful God were rejected. This demonstrates the important grip religion still held on medieval science. However, its influence also motivated scientists and thinkers to accomplish tasks which would require advancement. Christians studied astronomy to determine the correct date of Easter, and Muslims further developed cartography as well as trigonometry to establish the direction of the Mecca towards which they would orient themselves in prayer.

Meanwhile in China and Eastern Asia, the invention of paper, block printing, the moveable type, gunpowder, fireworks, the compass and eyeglasses as well as many other technological, medicinal and scientific advancements were being achieved independently from Europe.

Ptolemy as rendered by a Baroque era artist.



Han Dynasty Compass (206 BC–220 AD)







Works Cited:

A History of mathematics, second edition
Carl B. Boyer, UTA C. Merzbach

Wikipedia, European Science in the middle Ages:

Wikipedia, Science in the Medieval Islamic World:

Wikipedia, History of Science and Technology in China:

The Advances and Limits of Medieval Science
from World History Encyclopedia

Wikipedia, Ptolemy:

Wikipedia, History of the Compass:

Wikipedia, Alchemy:

Wikipedia, Shamanism:


Survey 1: Handprints and Handwriting

The evolution of writing from 40 000 and 35 000 BCE to 0 CE: Lecture Summary

The earliest cave paintings were found in Europe and Asia. They date from 40 000 to 35 000 BCE. These drawings are the starting point of  humanity’s history in visual communication. Later rock art dating from 4000 BCE can be found in America, Australia and Africa. At this same time, the earliest form of writing appears in what is now called the “cradle of civilization” (Fertile Crescent in Iraq and Iran), as well as in the Indus River region.

The presentation followed the creation of writing systems alongside the development of visual communication as it spread from Western Africa and Eastern Asia to the Mediterranean, to West and to South Asia.

Writing continued to change everywhere as it became a necessity to civilization. It started from drawings portraying objects, to simpler pictographs, to symbols and then characters.

Gradually most alphabets went from having large amounts of characters representing specific things to having fewer phonetic characters. It was interesting how various civilizations and groups developed their writing system differently according to the resources available to them; the Egyptians who had an abundance of papyrus made it into paper; the Sumerians used clay tablets and styluses to create imprints; the Greeks used chisels and blocks of stone. It is fascinating that almost every civilization felt the necessity of creating a form or another of written communication as it grew and expanded, no matter where it was situated or how much they had been in contact with other groups. Humanity evolved, and continues to evolve, in the same basic way all over the world.

An Outline of Ancient Egyptian Political History

Ancient Egyptian History can be generally divided into five distinct periods. The period before the invention of writing is known at the Prehistoric period. It is the long length of time in which early man inhabited the Nile Valley. This period is followed by was is identified as the Predynastic period. Not much is known about this time, but it is generally thought that two loose confederations made up of several communities existed. Political centres such as Haqada in the south and Behdet in the north were formed. Later in the Predynastic period, leaders of the separate confederations became distinct. The king of Lower Egypt wore a red crown, and the kind of Upper Egypt wore a white crown. Two new capital cities had also emerged: Huto in the Delta, and Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt. The final conquest of the North by the South unified the two kingdom of Egypt. The unifying king was Menes, and with him began the first truly historic period of Egypt: The Dynastic Period.

The Dynastic period, whose beginning is characterized by the unification of Egypt and the invention of writing, lasted from 3100 BC to 332 BC. 31 dynasties came to pass in this time, whose successive kings divided in a scheme were preserved by the priestly historian Manetho who lived in the early Ptolemaic era.

The long Dynastic period was divided into sections:
The Early Dynastic period, which lasted from 3100 to 2686 BC, engulfed the first and second dynasties.

The Old Kingdom (2686 – 2181 BC), held the third to sixth dynasties.

The First Intermediate Period (2181 – 2050 BC) with the seventh to tenth dynasties.
The Middle Kingdom (2050-1750 BC) with the eleventh and twelfth dynasties.
The Second Intermediate Period (1750 – 1567 BC) the time from the thirteenth to seventeenth dynasties.

New Kingdom (1567 -1085 BC), lasted from the eighteenth to twentieth dynasties.

The Late New Kingdom (1085 – 715 BC), twenty-first to twenty-fourth dynasties.

The Late Period (715- 332 BC) which is the period from the twenty-third dynasty to the Ptolemaic period.


Following is a summary of essential political events that occurred during the Dynastic Period.

Events of the Early Dynastic Period, also called the Archaic/Thinite period:

After the Unification of Egypt, a New administrative capital was established at Memphis, a city at the junction of the former Upper and Lower Egypt. Very little is known of these first two dynasties; Abydos is the tomb site of the first royals, and Saqqara held the mummies of high officials.

Events of the Old Kingdom:

King Djoser of the third dynasty and his architect Imhotep ushered in this new period with the building of the first step pyramid at Saqqara. Later, during the fourth dynasty, an expansion of power occurred, and pyramid building reached its peak. In this time the pyramid of Sneferu, then the Great Pyramid Of Cheops at Giza, followed by the pyramid of Chephren and the Sphinx were constructed. However, this proved to put a heavy stain on the economy of the country, and the later king Mycerinus built one far smaller in size because of this. During the fourth dynasty, trade with Western Asia through Byblos flourished. The decline of the old kingdom was caused by a dwindle in the power of the pharaohs in favour of that of nobles. This lead to a struggle to maintain the unity of Egypt due to lack of central power. The kings of the sixth dynasty prosecuted vigorous policies inside the country and abroad, to Nubia, Libya, Western Asia, Sinai and Punt. These expeditions were aimed to collect foreigners for the Egyptian army, but also meant the expansion of foreign policy. However, due to political fragmentation of Egypt, central administration ultimately collapsed under King Pepi II’s reign.

Pyramid of Djoser

Events of the First Intermediate Period:

This period started after the death of Pepi II, and is a time of political anarchy and internal chaos. It lasted for 130 years, and during this time Egypt was ruled by regional princes. In 2050 BC, the period came to an end when the southern king Smatowy united the two lands under his rule.

Events of the Middle Kingdom:

Campaigns under Smatowy (1st king of the 11th dynasty) pushed out invaders that had come during the intermediate period, and the mines, quarries and trade routes of the Old Kingdom were reopened. The Egyptian state gained much power and authority over the course of the Middle Kingdom. Under the 12th dynasty, Egypt became once more a highly organized, well administered country with vigorously prosecuted policies. The Egyptian capital was moved from Thebes to Itj-towy, and prosperity and contact between Egypt and other kingdoms was enjoyed. This period ended with the death of the last member of the 12th dynasty, Sobkneferu.

Events of the Second Intermediate Period:

The period began with Egyptian rule in 13th dynasty. However, Egypt was subsequently invaded by the Hyksos people in 1670 BC. The Hyksos ruled in the manner of Egyptian kings; fostered culture and enforced strict policy. In 1650 BC, the Hyksos were replaced in Upper Egypt by the Egyptian 17th dynasty, who attempted to maintain the culture and tradition of the Middle Kingdom. Eventually they clashed with the Hyksos rulers, and the final defeat of the Hyksos took place in 1567 BC by Amosis, the founder of the 18th dynasty.

Events of the New Kingdom:

Policies were set early in this period by the 18th dynasty kings to ensure the security of the United Kingdom. The securing of the fortress of the north, the east and the west of the delta, the re-establishment of central administration, the consolidation of Egyptian control in Nubia and the reopening of trade routes to Africa and Asia were all accomplished during this time by Amosis. Egypt also seized southern Palestine, the kingdom of Mitanni, and conquered Nubia. The expansion southwards up the Nile as well of the resetting of Egyptian borders in the west in Libya were successfully accomplished by Tuthmosis I.

After the short reign of Thutmosis ll, Queen Hatshepsut assumed regency and later on asserted her personal claim to the throne, secured her coronation and supplanted her young stepson. She ruled with complete control for 20 years and constructed a funerary monument at Deir El-Bahri. In 1482 BC, Tuthmosis lll succeeded to the throne after the (suspicious) death of Hatshepsut. At the end of his reign, Thuthmosis lll started a hostile campaign aimed to efface the memory of Hatshepsut. He had statues and monuments of her destroyed, and her name scratched out of writings.

Queen Hatshepsut

Tuthmosis lll led a successful military campaign across the Euphrates all the way to the Hittite Empire. The Egyptian border was also expanded south past Sudan. Egypt’s fortunes had reached its zenith during his reign.

The Egyptian empire’s fall came with Amenophis IV, who introduced a new religion with Aten as the new sole god. He forbade the worship of Amun and changed his name to Akhenaten. He then moved the capital to a new city (called Akhenaten) and devoted himself to the promotion of his new religion. His inactivity and lack of interest for the empire caused it to weaken and retract.

King Akhenaten

Akhenaten was succeeded by his son, Tutankhamun, who returned to the worship of Amun and moved the capital back to Thebes. He died young, however, and subsequent Kings worked to restore the Egyptian empire to it former glory. Pharaoh Ramses II established peace with the threatening Hittite Empire through his marriage to a Hittite princess. Peace prevailed during his reign. More monuments were erected during his reign than in any other king’s. After his reign, the Egyptian Asiatic empire slowly declined with other kings then was lost, causing serious economic consequences. (1166 to 1085 BC).

Events of the Late Dynastic Period:

Egypt was ruled by the first 21st dynasty King Manetho, but the south was mostly governed by the priests of Amun at Thebes. These two powers coexisted in peace. King Sheshonq l, first king of the 22nd dynasty, attempted to attach the priests of Thebes closer to the monarchy by appointing his son to the office. However, the forces of separation in Thebes were continually exerted. From 818 BC, The lack of unity of Egypt caused further fragmentation to take place.

In 727 BC a conqueror from the south, Prince of lower Nubia, took southern Egypt and his brother, Shabaka, conquered the rest of Egypt, establishing the 25th dynasty.
However, a subsequent attack by Assyrian kings in 671 BC divided the country into locally governed states. The 26th dynasty was established by king Psammetichus, descendant of the 25th dynasty, who united Egypt once more and discontinued tribute to Assyria in 656 BC.

By 526 BC, Egypt was captured by the Persian Empire, leaders of which founded the 27th dynasty. They introduced policies that greatly benefited Egypt, codified laws and undergo great public works. From 465-454 BC, prince Inarus of the delta, descendant of the 26th dynasty, attempted to retake Egypt and was aided by the Athenians, but he failed. Resistance in the north was continued by another prince, but it was soon crushed.

In 405 BC the king Amyrtaeus, founder and only ruler of the 28h dynasty, expelled the Persians from Egypt. The 29th and 30th dynasties are characterized by a long struggle by the kings of Egypt to maintain independence against the Persian attempts of re-annexation. Egypt relied heavily on Greek alliance during this time. In 343 BC, the king of Egypt fled to Nubia after a successful attack by the Persians on Egypt. Egypt once more  became a part of the Persian empire until 332 BC with the arrival of Alexander the great. Recognized as a deliverer, Alexander founded the city of Alexandria and was formally installed as Pharaoh as he reorganized the administration of the country. He then left Egypt to continue his campaign against the Persians.

Events of the Ptolemaic period:

During this time, Egypt was ruled by kings of Greek descent. It was organized as a province of the Macedonian Empire by Alexander the Great. In 323 BC, Alexander died, and Ptolemy Lagus was sent to Egypt as satrap.
In the dissolution of the Macedonian empire which occurred in the following years, Ptolemy controlled an increasingly independent Egypt and was crowned King in 305 BC. His coronation established the Ptolemaic Dynasty. In his reign, the Egyptian army was reorganized on Macedonian lines and became very efficient, acquiring an empire in Asia. The great library of Alexandria was also created by Ptolemy l.

By the 1st century BC, internal control in Egypt began to slacken and the empire was lost. During the reign of Ptolemy Xll (80-51 BC), Roman intervention caused the Egyptian kings became dependants of Rome. The Ptolemaic dynasty eventually ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and Cesarion in 30 BC.

After 30 BC, Egypt as a whole is a province of the Roman Empire.

Works Cited:

An Introduction to Ancient Egypt, TGH James, published 1987 London