Category: art

10 facts you should know about Pablo Picasso

teded:

10 facts on the highly influential Spanish artist.

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Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait, 1907

1. Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881. His father was an artist and art teacher in the classic European style.

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Pablo Picasso, The old fisherman, 1895

2. As a teenager, Picasso studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. There he learned how to paint realistic images of people and landscapes, just like his father had before him. 

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3. At school, Picasso began to question the conventional art wisdom in Europe. For example, why should a portrait strive to duplicate reality from a single viewpoint, when the recent invention of photography made it possible for anyone with the right equipment to accurately portray a person’s face?

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Pablo Picasso, The old blind guitarist, 1903 // Pablo Picasso, A boy with pipe, 1905

4. In his early 20s, Picasso began to experiment with new ways to create meaning through unconventional brushwork styles and color palettes of blue and rose. His first exhibit was not a financial success.

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5. Picasso moved to Paris and became friends with a group of painters and writers who were also pushing the boundaries of what was considered to be “acceptable” art in Europe. One of these avant-garde painters was the French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gaugin. Another was Henri Matisse.

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Self Portraits: Paul Gaugin // Pablo Picasso // Henri Matisse

6. Gaugin and Matisse introduced Picasso to a variety of non-European art forms, viewpoints and ideas.

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7. Picasso found one non-European art form particularly enchanting: African masks, traditionally used in ritual storytelling.

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8. Inspired by the African art he’d seen, Picasso created the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

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Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907

9. While most of Picasso’s friends disliked the multifaceted style of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, he found a kindred spirit in George Braque. Together, they invented a new art form that embraced many angles and viewpoints. Matisse called this “Cubism.”

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10. Picasso is known for Cubism — but he created much more than that. Throughout his life, Picasso kept learning and experimenting with new art forms and types of media, and he continued to paint, sculpt and draw in a variety of styles. Today he is considered to be one of the most influential European artists of the 20th century.

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For a deeper dive into ancient influences on modern art, watch How ancient art influenced modern art – Felipe Galindo

Paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse

Animation by TED-Ed

Happy Birthday, Pablo Picasso!

teded: On this day in 1911, Italian nationalis…

teded:

On this day in 1911, Italian nationalist, Vincenzo Peruggia, stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. The painting was missing for more than 2 years, but in December 1913, Peruggia was finally caught and the Mona Lisa, now the subject of a major news story and a household name, was recovered.

The disappearance of Da Vinci’s painting was briefly attributed to French poet and radical, Guillaume Apollinaire, who was even arrested in September of 1911 as the prime suspect in the theft, but after five days with no evidence, he was released.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The poet who painted with his words – Geneviève Emy

Animation by TED-Ed and @charlottecambon

Hallucinatory experiences are much more closel…

Hallucinatory experiences are much more closely tied to ordinary perception than we once thought.

We know from fMRI studies that hallucinations activate the same brain areas as sight, areas that are not activated by imagination. Many other hallucinations, including smells, sights, and sounds, also involve the same brain areas as real sensory experiences. Because of this, the cerebral cortex is thought to play a part in hallucinations. This thin layer of grey matter covers the entire cerebrum, with different areas processing information from each of our senses. But even in people with completely unimpaired senses, the brain constructs the world we perceive from incomplete information. 

For example, our eyes have blind spots where the optic nerve blocks part of the retina. When the visual cortex processes light into coherent images, it fills in these blind spots with information from the surrounding area. Occasionally, we might notice a glitch, but most of the time we’re none the wiser. When the visual cortex is deprived of input from the eyes, even temporarily, the brain still tries to create a coherent picture, but the limits of its abilities become a lot more obvious. 

By studying hallucinations, we stand to learn a great deal about how our brains construct the world we see, hear, smell, and touch. As we learn more, we’ll likely come to appreciate just how subjective and individual each person’s island universe of perception really is.

For more on the science and research of hallucinations, check out the TED-Ed Lesson What causes hallucinations? – Elizabeth Cox

Animation by Nerdo

Since the time of Homer, ancient stories told …

Since the time of Homer, ancient stories told of fierce warriors dwelling beyond the Mediterranean world, striking fear into the mightiest empires of antiquity. Their exploits were recounted by many epic poets. They fought in the legendary Trojan War and their grand army invaded Athens. Jason and the Argonauts passed by their shores, barely avoiding their deadly arrows. These formidable fighters faced off against the greatest champions of myth: Heracles, Theseus, and Achilles. 

And every single one of these warriors was a woman.

The war-loving Amazons, “the equals of men” in courage and skill, were familiar to everyone in ancient Greece. But were Amazons merely figures of myth, or something more?

Watch the TED-Ed Lesson Did the Amazons really exist? – Adrienne Mayor to uncover the mysteries of these women warriors.

Animation by Silvia Prietov

lea–krawczyk: Last summer i’ve made a co…

lea–krawczyk:

Last summer i’ve made a commissioned film for TED-ed lessons ! What a great experience. It’s about the myth of Prometheus. You can check the film here : https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-myth-of-prometheus-iseult-gillespie

Here are some color researches !

We love when artists share their behind-the-scenes of TED-Ed Lessons! 

Here, Léa Krawczyk shares her color studies for her beautifully designed animation on the The myth of Prometheus!

Check out Léa’s tumblr for more behind-the-scenes and her other stunning illustration + animation work.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The myth of Prometheus – Iseult Gillespie

Animation by Léa Krawczyk ( @lea–krawczyk )

teded: Can plants talk to each other? It certa…

teded:

Can plants talk to each other? It certainly doesn’t seem that way: They don’t have complex sensory or nervous systems, like animals do, and they look pretty passive. But odd as it sounds, plants can communicate with each other — especially when they’re under attack. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson Can plants talk to each other? – Richard Karban

Animation by Yukai Du / @yukaidu 

How 3 animators interpreted the same Whitman p…

teded:

One of the most amazing things about poetry is its seemingly infinite capacity for interpretation. To illustrate that fact, TED-Ed launched a great poetic experiment. We gave one Walt Whitman poem to three of our in-house animators, and asked them to interpret it using three different styles of animation. They were each given a recording of the text to work from, which was supplied by three local poets who also interpreted the text using their voices. The result? A stunning video that breathes three very different lives into Walt Whitman’s timeless poem, “A Noiseless Patient Spider.” 

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Interpretation #1 by Jeremiah Dickey

Medium: Paint on Glass

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Interpretation #2 by Biljana Labovic

Medium: Video

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Interpretation #3 by Lisa LaBracio

Medium: Scratchboard

Watch all of the interpretations here: A poetic experiment: Walt Whitman, interpreted by three animators – Justin Moore

Happy Birthday to Walt Whitman today!

Animation & Inspiration

teded:

teded:

In honor of Henri Rousseau’s birthday (today!), we wanted to share how his work influenced the animation for one of our very own lessons.

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When designing the rainforest scenes in our lesson on Biodiversity, we couldn’t help but thinking of Henri Rousseau’s The Dream. Our color palette was inspired by the richness and depth of greens in his forest scenes. And we love the way the blue & ivory flowers pop out against the many shades of green.

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The Dream, by Henri Rousseau (1910)


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Rousseau’s color choice for the Sun in many of his paintings is fairly difficult to replicate digitally. It took a lot of layers of brushstrokes and color washes to try to mimic his skies – which offer a perfectly soft contrast to the detailed leaves and fronds in the foreground foliage.

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Three apes in The Orange Grove, by Henri Rousseau (1907)


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We love the placement of wildlife in Rousseau’s paintings – as if the leaves parted momentarily to allow us to peer in on the secret lives of the lions and monkeys going about their business. While designing the Biodiversity lesson, we wanted to similarly highlight the variety of species in the rainforest, while also allowing the audience to imagine that much, much more lurks behind the leaves.

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The Repast of the Lion, by Henri Rousseau (1907)


Animated GIFs from the TED-Ed lesson Why is biodiversity so important? – Kim Preshoff

Animation by TED-Ed

Happy Birthday, Henri Rousseau!

The Complex Geometry of Islamic Design

teded:

In Islamic culture, geometry is everywhere. You can find it in mosques, madrasas, palaces and private homes. This tradition began in the 8th century CE during the early history of Islam, when craftsmen took preexisting motifs from Roman and Persian cultures and developed them into new forms of visual expression. 

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This period of history was a golden age of Islamic culture, during which many achievements of previous civilizations were preserved and further developed, resulting in fundamental advancements in scientific study and mathematics. Accompanying this was an increasingly sophisticated use of abstraction and complex geometry in Islamic art, from intricate floral motifs adorning carpets and textiles, to patterns of tile work that seemed to repeat infinitely, inspiring wonder and contemplation of eternal order.

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Despite the remarkable complexity of these designs, they can be created with just a compass to draw circles and a ruler to make lines within them, and from these simple tools emerges a kaleidoscopic multiplicity of patterns. So how does that work? Well, everything starts with a circle. The first major decision is how will you divide it up? Most patterns split the circle into four, five or six equal sections. And each division gives rise to distinctive patterns. 

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There’s an easy way to determine whether any pattern is based on fourfold, fivefold, or sixfold symmetry. Most contain stars surrounded by petal shapes. Counting the number of rays on a starburst, or the number of petals around it, tells us what category the pattern falls into. A star with six rays, or surrounded by six petals, belongs in the sixfold category. One with eight petals is part of the fourfold category, and so on. 

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There’s another secret ingredient in these designs: an underlying grid. Invisible, but essential to every pattern, the grid helps determine the scale of the composition before work begins, keeps the pattern accurate, and facilitates the invention of incredible new patterns. Let’s look at an example of how these elements come together. 

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We’ll start with a circle within a square, and divide it into eight equal parts. We can then draw a pair of criss-crossing lines and overlay them with another two. These lines are called construction lines, and by choosing a set of their segments, we’ll form the basis of our repeating pattern. 

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Many different designs are possible from the same construction lines just by picking different segments. And the full pattern finally emerges when we create a grid with many repetitions of this one tile in a process called tessellation.

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By choosing a different set of construction lines, we might have created this any of the above patterns. The possibilities are virtually endless.  

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We can follow the same steps to create sixfold patterns by drawing construction lines over a circle divided into six parts, and then tessellating it, we can make something like the above.

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Here’s another sixfold pattern that has appeared across the centuries and all over the Islamic world, including Marrakesh, Agra, Konya and the Alhambra. 

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Fourfold patterns fit in a square grid, and sixfold patterns in a hexagonal grid. 

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Fivefold patterns, however, are more challenging to tessellate because pentagons don’t neatly fill a surface, so instead of just creating a pattern in a pentagon, other shapes have to be added to make something that is repeatable, resulting in patterns that may seem confoundingly complex, but are still relatively simple to create. 

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This more than 1,000-year-old tradition has wielded basic geometry to produce works that are intricate, decorative and pleasing to the eye. And these craftsmen prove just how much is possible with some artistic intuition, creativity, dedication along with a great compass and ruler.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The complex geometry of Islamic design – Eric Broug

Animation by TED-Ed // Jeremiah Dickey

Happy to re-share our lesson on the geometry of Islamic design as Ramadan begins. Ramadan Mubarak!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The complex geometry of Islamic design – Eric Broug

Animation by TED-Ed // Jeremiah Dickey

10 facts you should know about Vincent van Gog…

teded:

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1. Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in Holland. He was named after his grandfather and his stillborn brother who died one year before Van Gogh was born.

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2. Van Gogh was 27 years old when he painted his first piece.

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3. When Van Gogh first began painting, he used peasants as models. He would later paint flowers, landscapes and himself, mostly because he was too poor to pay the models.

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4. Van Gogh suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

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5. In a short period of ten years, Van Gogh made approximately 900 paintings.

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6. During one of his seizures, Van Gogh attempted to attack his friend Paul Gauguin with an open razor. This ultimately resulted in Vincent cutting off a piece of his own ear – but not the whole ear as is often rumored.

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7. Van Gogh created his most famous work The Starry Night while staying in an asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France.

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8. Vincent Van Gogh visually depicted turbulence, an incredibly complex (and still unsolved) mathematical principle in several paintings during a particularly chaotic time in his life.

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9. Vincent shot himself in a wheatfield in Auvers, France, but did not die until 2 days later at the age of 37. His brother Theo, at his side when he died, said that Vincent’s last words were “La tristesse durera toujours” which means “the sadness will last forever.”

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10. Vincent only sold one painting during his lifetime and only became famous after his death.

Happy Birthday, Vincent van Gogh.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – Natalya St. Clair

Animation by Avi Ofer

Happy Birthday, Vincent van Gogh!