"While I was a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I got into the habit of taking a walk every evening after dinner. I found myself drawn to the luminous interiors of the row houses and elegant mansions..."
So begins an article in the new issue of American Artist magazine by Margaret Krug, the renowned art historian, teacher, author and artist who taught a wonderful workshop last July at The Naturalist's Notebook. I'm happy to report that on top of her other creative endeavors (including teaching at Parsons The New School in New York, where she lives), Margaret has begun writing regularly for American Artist. Her first article, entitled, "Inside," discusses artists who depict interior spaces, including Edward Hopper and Vilhelm Hammershoi, and is very enlightening (though I had to look up the word grisaille, which refers to gray-tone paintings or a gray-tone layer of under-painting beneath the final surface).
We are hoping that Margaret will offer another workshop at the Notebook this summer. If you're interested in a longer creative session with her—and would love a trip to Tuscany—you should consider her April "Seeing and Drawing" program at the Spannocchia Foundation's thousand-year-old villa. For details you can go to http://www.spannocchia.org/education/program.cfm?id=69 or htpp://www.margaretkrug.com (click on courses)
Jacob Bernoulli, who would have been a spry 356, was the first mathematician in the horde of brilliant Swiss Bernoullis who became mathematicians. Among many other achievements, he advanced probability theory and applied it to games of chance—clearly a man ahead of his time. But (what are the odds?) his final request turned out to be a losing proposition. On his gravestone he wished to have engraved a logarithmic spiral, the type of spiral you see so often in nature, and even in the logo of The Naturalist's Notebook. Unfortunately, the stone masons doing the work were less savvy about curved lines and mathematical theories; whether by flipping a coin or an old-fashioned crapshoot, they selected an Archimedean spiral instead of the logarithmic and chiseled that onto the stone.
Jozef Maximillian Petzval, the Hungarian-born physicist and optical pioneer who was a father of modern photography and cinematography (because of the types of lenses he invented), would have been celebrating birthday number 204. Alas, he didn't get to celebrate much in his life; he passed away 120 years ago in despair and abject poverty, never having received the credit or profit he was due.
David Fleay, the Australian naturalist who one of the first people to breed endangered species in captivity (including a platypus) and was the last to photograph the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger, would have been 103 years old today. Before Fleay took his photo (in 1933), the tiger bit Fleay on the buttocks, leaving him with a lifelong scar of honor. Rather than seeking revenge, Fleay went on to try to protect all species on the verge of extinction.