After gaining a degree in English Literature from the University of Leeds, Fergus Walsh began working for the BBC as a local radio reporter and then as a producer in national radio news. In 1988, he was appointed Home & Legal Affairs Correspondent and became the Medical Correspondent in 2004.
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A Levels studied in Year 12
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We offer two Art GCSE’s at RGS, Fine Art, and Graphic Communication. The coursework consists of two projects. Each unit of work includes a visual journey of ideas, research, and experimentation. Work is recorded predominantly in a sketchbook or digital sketchbook and accompanied by one or two resolved final outcomes.
Art uses creativity and hones practical skills to equip the students with the knowledge and ability to invent and create works of art, craft and design across all three key stages. Making art is a powerful tool; it can raise social consciousness, promote democracy and be a vehicle for change. It is therefore especially important that young, bright and enquiring minds have the opportunities to develop their cognitive skills through analysing artwork and eventually planning their own projects that challenge and engage.
The Olympics wasn’t always about abs and doping scandals. The founder of the modern Games, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was enamoured with the idea of the true Olympian being a talented artist and sportsperson. Thanks to him, between 1912 and 1948 medals were given out for sporting-inspired masterpieces of architecture, music, painting, sculpture and literature.
Considering the US is one of the oldest modern democracies, this is pretty amazing. Sir Isaac Newton invented the colour wheel in 1706 by refracting white sunlight into its six colours. The realisation that light alone was responsible for colour was radical, and the wheel proved especially useful for artists, who could now easily observe the most effective colour complementation.
What’s that, you say? He inhaled a painting?? The man must be enormous! Not quite. Wigan’s works are ‘micro-sculptures’, so tiny they must be viewed through a microscope. In creating his art, Wigan has to slow his heartbeat and work between pulses. The work he inhaled was Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, but apparently she was even better when remade.
The prank was soon undone by its inadequate glue, but for a few hours Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us was hung in one of the world’s most famous museums. It also inspired Andrzej Sobiepan, a Polish art student, to a similar feat in 2005, where for three days he successfully passed off his work as part of the National Museum’s collection.
This fact may not sound that far-fetched when considering the source is the notoriously odd Salvador Dalí, but this wasn’t something he simply claimed just to raise eyebrows.
Dalí had an older brother, also named Salvador. Tragically, he never met his older sibling—nine months before Dalí was born, his brother died of gastroenteritis.
At the age of 5, Dalí’s parents took him to the grave of his brother and told Dalí that he was the reincarnation of his brother. He came to believe this as a fact and truly believed that he was his reincarnated sibling. Years later, Dalí featured images of the previous Salvador in several of his paintings, including “Portrait of My Dead Brother.”
Leonardo da Vinci is unquestionably one of the most famous artists in history. Ironically, one quirk that made him such a genius was that he was easily distracted.
Despite being the epitome of a “Renaissance man,” Leonardo had a penchant for leaving his works unfinished. Evidence for this is seen in the hundreds of notes and sketches he left behind for projects following his death in 1519.
Need more evidence? Two of his most famous works took a combined 17 years to finish. Leonardo worked on his influential mural, “The Last Supper,” for three years, and he later spent a whopping 14 years completing the famous—and surprisingly small—“Mona Lisa.” It’s said that Leonardo only finished “The Last Supper” after his patron finally threatened to cut off his funds.
There’s an old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” when it comes to advancing one’s career. In the case of Spanish artist Francisco Goya, it seems a combination of both contributed to his eventual enrollment at a prestigious art academy.
In 1763 and 1766, Goya submitted entries to enroll at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. He was rejected both times.
Following these attempts, Goya traveled to Italy in 1770 to refine his technique. After returning to Madrid in 1771, he befriended and studied with artist Francisco Bayeu, who happened to have a membership at the Royal Academy. In 1773, Goya married Bayeu’s sister, Josefa.
These helpful connections, in addition to Goya’s rising success as an artist, finally granted him admission to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1780. Five years later, the academy appointed him to be the deputy director of painting, and in 1786, he was appointed as painter to King Charles III.
Now widely regarded as one of art history’s greatest painters, Post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh didn’t experience the success he deserved. Instead, the artist only managed to sell one painting during his lifetime. Or were there more?
Van Gogh officially sold one painting, “The Red Vineyard at Arles,” before committing suicide in 1890. This is backed by authenticated documentation that shows the painting was sold to fellow painter Anna Boch in early 1890.
Despite this, scholars of Van Gogh have challenged this longstanding lore, proposing that in 1888, Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, sold one of the artist’s self-portraits before the sale of “The Red Vineyard at Arles.”
Additionally, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam purports that the artist sold or bartered many paintings while alive, with letters written by Van Gogh suggesting that he sold many works to relatives.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, one of the founders of the Impressionist movement, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis starting in 1892. Amazingly, Renoir continued to paint for the last 20 years of his life despite the pain and limitations he suffered.
Renoir could still hold a brush in his hand, but required an assistant to place it there first. With his brush in place, Renoir had an assistant stand by to arrange his palette as he painted. He also worked with a moving canvas so he could create larger works.
Contrary to popular belief, the bandages seen on Renoir’s hands in photos from his later years weren’t for strapping brushes to his hands. Instead, they prevented his curled fingers from digging into his palms.
Da Vinci’s other most famous work—which can be seen in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy—originally included Jesus’ feet. But in 1652, while installing a doorway in the refectory where the painting is on view, builders cut into the bottom-center of the mural, lopping off Jesus’ feet.
There are technically five separate versions of Expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s most famous work, The Scream. The first two, from 1893 and created with tempera and crayon on cardboard, are located in the National Gallery in Oslo and the Munch Museum, respectively. A privately owned third version created in 1895 with pastels recently sold for nearly $120 million at auction. Yet another version from 1895 is a black and white lithograph. A final version, done in 1910 by Munch due to the popularity of the previous incarnations, is also held in the Munch Museum, and it made headlines in recent years for being stolen in 2004 and recovered in 2006.
Another famous painting with interesting models is Grant Wood’s American Gothic, which can be seen on view in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. To depict—for better or worse—the ideals of rural America, Wood wanted to use his mother, Hattie, as a model for his painting. Wood determined that standing for so long would be far too exhausting for his mother, so he had his sister wear his mother’s apron and pin while posing. For the male subject in the painting, Wood used his 62-year-old dentist.
The marble slab that was eventually turned into the sculpture of David by Michelangelo in 1504 was cut 43 years earlier for an artist named Agostino di Duccio, who planned to turn it into a statue of Hercules. Di Duccio abandoned his sculpture, which was originally to be installed in a Florentine cathedral, and the marble was unused for 10 years until another sculptor, named Antonio Rossellino, decided to work with it. Rossellino also abandoned his work because he found marble too difficult to sculpt, and eventually Michelangelo began work on his sculpture in 1501.
Over the years many have fallen prey to the portrait’s ‘limpid and burning eyes’, leaving her offerings of flowers, poems and, yes, love notes. Artist Luc Maspero allegedly took this fervour to a new high – and then low – in 1852, diving off a hotel balcony because “For years I have grappled desperately with her smile. I prefer to die.” Who knew art appreciation could be so dark?