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"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." ~Linda Hogan

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Historical Artists

There are many great, historical artists who have brought beauty and truth into the lives of countless people.  This section of my art journal shares those artists whose work and/or life have brought much beauty and truth in to my work and life.  Although each of these artists walked the earth before you and me, their work and ideas continue to walk among us.  

These artists are special people and so it is a joy for me to suggest them to you.  It is my hope that their beautiful accomplishments, as well as intense struggles, give you a better understanding and enjoyment of the arts and the art of living.

The artists are listed alphabetically, according to their last name.  

Johann Sebastian Bach - History & Music

Extensive List of J.S. Bach's Compositions & CDs; & Brief  Overview of Bach

"Study Bach! There you’ll find everything." - Johannes Brahms

Many musicologists argue that Bach is the greatest composer in history.  But what is "greatest"? It is difficult to define, but in music composition as in other arts it may include the ability to create the most variety and quantity of masterworks.  Bach may fulfill these criteria, yet such criteria probably should not be the only criteria.  Nonetheless, Bach is indispensable for understanding the history of Western music.  Bach's creative output and force is second to none.  Learning about him means learning about the creative process, music education, the relationship of math and music and a man who loved The Creator and used his artistic gifts to express that love.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) - Beethoven's music may  influence more musician's than any other composer.  His work changed the direction of Western music and brought upon a new form and style known as Romanticism.  Beethoven was a true visionary artist.  His life is amazing not just because of his many perfect works of music, but also because of what he overcame.  Beethoven began going deaf in his late twenties and, as an aspiring virtuoso pianist, was devastated.  Yet this supposed curse became one of the great blessings for mankind because it is Beethoven's deafness that drove him to a more inner search for a deeper and higher level of musical expression; an expression that probably would not have been found if he did not go deaf.    Beethoven's music is truly exciting.  It is true and pure art-music.  It includes some of the great works every composed.  And establishes as one of the greatest - some believe the greatest - composers ever.  But maybe more important is that just as with all musicians in this list, Beethoven's music literally improves life.

Recommended reading: Beethoven and the Spiritual Path

Listen to some of Beethoven's pure art-music 

William Blake - William Blake was a visionary poet and visual artist.  Several of his poems are among the most famous in Western poetry.  Many of his works in visual art are also infamous and have taken on iconic qualities.  Blake was deeply spiritual, though I personally don't agree with some of his spiritual conclusions, such as his 1788 work "All Religions are One", he still uncovers some very beautiful truths through his life and work.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) - Johannes Chysostomus Wolfgangus Gottlieb Mozart, and baptized Johannes Chysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was born to be a musician.  His father, Leopold, was a highly regarded composer, violinist and musician and so from the time of Mozart's conception his very cells were bathed in music; and quality music at that.  Of course, Mozart had some very special genes, but it is equally important to remember that he was always in and around music, and trained from a very young age.  Joseph Hayden, the father of the symphony and Mozart's teacher and friend, considered Mozart the greatest composer of their day, maybe the greatest ever.  Mozart's music is often flawless, seamless and perfectly pure.

Mozart is famous for being a child prodigy, but he was also a great student.  As a child composer and player he proved himself to be a genius.  Yet he grew up being educated and throughout his life he cared very much about learning, although he very liked to play around too.  Certainly, he was gifted from birth, but he studied music as much or more than any other musician of his day.  This impresses me because it shows his personal discipline as well as the general importance of training for any artist.  It also amazes me that Mozart died before he was thirty-six.  Up until that age he composed as much or more great works than any other composer of the same age.  Imagine the music he would have made if he lived to rip old age!  "God giveth and God taketh away"!

 

Various Artists

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