1. The Power of a Small Invention That Changed Painting Forever
Monet, Van Gogh, and the other Impressionism and Post Impressionism painters (1860’s-late 1800's) couldn't have done what they did without the invention of the paint tube, Before it was invented in 1841, it was too hard to carry around paint and do complete paintings outside. A little known American portrait painter, John G. Rand was the genius behind the humble tin paint tube that changed painting forever.
2. 2,000 Years Is Not So Far Away
Most of us know of someone who is 100 years old. If you line up a person born at the turn of each century and lived for 100 years, it would take only 20 people from now to the time that Jesus walked the earth.
3. Hard to Pin Down Dates Before 700 BC-Coins Helped Before 600-700 BC, in my research, scholars did not all agree on the dates on much of the art and historical events. So I charted what ‘most scholars agreed’ and wrote “Approx.” dates on my Timeline where appropriate because of those debates. But then, after 600-700 BC scholars began agreeing much more on the dates. This timing coincides with the start of Classical Age of Greece, founding of Rome and when coins started being used. I think ancient coins were very valuable to archaeologists by giving specific clues with their symbols, markings and metal content to help define dates and places of the other objects that were found with them.
4. US Naval Commodore Matthew Perry, Japan and Van Gogh’s Starry Night In the 1850’s, Commodore of the US Navy Matthew Perry helped open up trade relations with Japan and the west. Bright colorful Japanese art prints became really popular in the 1860’s in France during a somewhat dreary time of the Industrial Revolution. Before moving to France, Van Gogh painted using mostly dark browns. But living in Paris and seeing all of the explosions of bright color and unusual compositions in Japanese art, Van Gogh was inspired and created his masterpieces.
Look closely and you’ll see that Van Gogh’s Starry Night's swirly sky and the iconic Japanese woodcut print, The Great Wave's crest have a very similar composition and color scheme of blues, yellows and oranges. The steeple in Starry Night is also pointing up in the same place as Mt. Fuji in The Great Wave. Coincidence or inspiration?
5. The Renaissance Came Out of The Plague? The Black Plague killed up to half of Europe’s population in the 1300’s. That's outrageous! Then just on the heels of that, the Renaissance happens in the next 100 years. It literally means ‘rebirth’ in French.
6. How Did the The Sphinx Lose it’s Nose?
The Great Sphinx’s nose was destroyed in 1378 by a Sufi Muslin named Muhannad Sa’im al Dahr who wanted to stop the local Egyptian peasants from treating it like a god and sacrificing to it. So he just chiseled it off. This was documented by an Arab Egyptian historian in the 1400’s. Napoleon's troops were also blamed for taking shots at it as well.
7. It's Not All Written In Stone And speaking of Napoleon, the more I researched history dates and events for my Art History Timeline, the more I saw that he was right about this; “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”
I'm Tracy Boberg Nichols. I teach Art at a classical school in Colorado. Researching, writing, and hand illustrating these timelines have been an unexpected obsession. My family call them my 'empty nest' projects. I call them a labor or love.