Audubon’s Artistic Vision

Book cover for Audubon's Birds of America

Book cover for Audubon’s Birds of America

Update March 6, 2015

If you are in New York City, do not miss Audubon’s Aviary: The Final Flight, an exhibition of Audubon’s splendid water colors organized by the New York Historical Society from March 6, 2015 to May 10, 2015.

More information on the museum’s website and an interesting article from the New York Times.


In 1820, John James Audubon (1785-1851) challenged himself to sketch and describe all North American avifauna, thus fully embracing his genuine, lifelong passion for birds. The result of a decade spent exploring the wild west was an impressive collection of 435 life-size plates of the various bird species encountered by the self-taught, Franco-American artist and naturalist. His genius has been to give a dynamic representation of living creatures rather than depicting them in a more static, lifeless posture, which was common usage at the time. Audubon’s original concept was rejected by many, and it is in England, not the United-States, that he found positive reception for his unconventional drawings which were eventually published in a book called Birds of America.

His artwork continues to be considered a masterpiece as proven by the considerable auction prices Continue reading

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A first-time exploration of the Mercantour from the town of Roubion (French Alps)

Mercantour - Roubion and surroundings

The Mercantour (core and peripheral area). The area discussed in the present article is contained in the black square.

Created in 1979, the Parc National du Mercantour boasts a unique mixture of nature and culture on its 685 sq km alpine territory made up of six distinctive valleys dominated by mountain tops over 3,000 m. Though omniscient and diverse, the local wilderness has long coexisted with men whose early presence in the area is attested by the scattered remnants of former human activities (rock engravings, chapels, defensive fortifications ruins, military blockhaus, old sheep/cow pens…) and a multitude of hamlets remarkably erected on the steepest slopes of the park’s buffer zone (1,465 sq km). Built in a stair-like fashion amid the lush vegetation, the traditional rock houses give the impression of having literally grown out of the mountain stone. Visitors shall feel amazed at the sighting of such surreal constructions and a little frightened when accessing some of these unconventional dwellings via curvy one-lane roads.

Roubion

View from the end of the road leading to Roubion. Credit: Yalakom

An archetype of such picturesque villages is Roubion. Perched at an altitude of 1,336 m in the Vallée de la Tinée, this charming medieval town of 125 inhabitants makes for an ideal base for those wishing to explore the multiple facets of the Mercantour. Roubion will introduce visitors to the local lifestyle, past and present, while providing easy access to the park’s core area via the hiking trails that run through its narrow, cobbled streets. Refreshing source water feeds Continue reading

Brazilian insights into the state of our planet

If you missed Sebastião Salgado’s photography exhibition Genesis at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, the Polka Galerie (Paris) offers you one last chance to discover his outstanding work in France. Born in Aimorés (Brazil) in 1944, Sebastião Salgado began his career as an economist. Upon graduating from the Universities of São Paolo and Vanderbilt, he joined the London International Coffee Organization. In 1973, he abandoned his occupation and turned to documentary photography which led him to explore every corner of our planet―over 100 countries―with great insight, perception and a vision.

Brazilian president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva receives the book “Trabalhadores” as a gift from photographer Sebastião Salgado (left). / Source: Agência Brasil. Credit: Wilson Dias/ABr. This image is protected under a specific licence.

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