Paul Manship

Paul Manship, “Actaeon”, 1925, Gilt Bronze, Alexis Rudier Fondeur, 120.7 x 130.8 x 33.7 cm, Cooper Hewitt Museum

Born in December of 1885 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Paul Manship was an American sculptor whose subjects and modern style were largely inspired by classical sculpture. After attending Mechanical Arts High School, he took evening classes at the St. Paul Institute School of Art from 1892 to 1903, but left to work as a designer and illustrator. In 1905 Manship enrolled briefly in the Art Students League in New York City under Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 

Soon after his arrival to New York, Paul Manship became an assistant to stone sculptor Solon Borglum, whom he credited as the master who had most influenced him. With money saved, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1907-08 under sculptor Charles Grafly. Moving back to New York, Manship worked at the studio of Viennese sculptor Isidore Konti, where he modeled a decorative relief entitled “Man with Wild Horses”, later shown at the National Academy of Design in 1908.

In 1909 at the age of twenty-three, Paul Manship received a three-year scholarship, the coveted American Prix de Rome, to study at the American Academy in Rome. His early work was influenced by Rodin’s expressive style but, after traveling throughout Italy and Greece, he developed an appreciation for Hellenistic statues and for Egyptian, Assyrian, and Minoan artwork. This affinity for archaic work influenced Manship’s unified linear style of sculpture for which he is well known; his novel approach represented a break from the popular Beaux-Arts style of his former teachers. 

After three years abroad, Manship settled in New York City in 1912, where he began a successful career that would last fifty years. His arresting sculptures, with their freely modeled simple forms and dramatic gestures, were in demand in the New York art world. In February of 1913 Manship had a solo exhibition of his work at New York’s Architectural League. An instant success with critics and the public, it resulted in many private and public commissions. 

This success of Manship’s solo show was followed with two more exhibitions of his work in November of 1913, moving his career briskly forward. A show at the Berlin Photographic Company in 1914 resulted in the sale of almost one hundred of Manship’s bronze pieces. He was honored by his peers for this achievement with a gold medal at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Some of Paul Manship’s most notable works are: the set of monumental bronze gates at the entrance to the New York Zoological Park in the Bronx area of New York, erected as a memorial to Paul Rainey; the Prometheus Fountain in Rockefeller Center, New York City, which ultimately became his signature work despite his disappointment with the subject; and the “Time and Fates Sundial” with the accompanying four “Moods of Time”, executed in plaster of Paris, for the reflecting pool of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. 

Paul Manship, at the top of his profession, was bestowed with many honors: membership in the Academia Nacional de las Bellas Artes in Argentina in 1944; membership in Paris’ Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1946; membership in l’Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1952, the gold medal for sculpture by the National Institute of Arts and Letters in New York City in 1945; membership in the French Legion of Honor; and election to president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1948.

“I’m not especially interested in anatomy, though naturally I’ve studied it. And, although I approve generally of normally correct proportions, what matters is the spirit which the artist puts into his creation—the vitality, the rhythm, the emotional effect.” —Paul Manship


A Year: Day to Day Men: 24th of November,  Solar Year 2018

One Facet of Life

November 24, 1639 marks the first known observation and recording of a transit of Venus.

By the 17th century, two developments allowed for the transits of planets across the face of the sun to be predicted and observed. One was the telescope of which the actual inventor is unknown; a patent for a refracting telescope was submitted in 1608 in the Netherlands by spectacle maker Hans Lippershey. Galileo heard about it, and in 1609 built his own version, making observations of celestial objects.

The second development was the new astronomy of Johannes Kepler, which assumed elliptical rather than circular orbits fro the planets. In 1627, Kepler published his “ Rudolphine Tables”, a star catalogue and planetary tables using some observational data collected by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Two years later, Kepler published extracts from his tables concerning the transit of Mercury and of Venus for the year 1631. These occurred as predicted and were observed by several astronomers, vindicating Kepler’s approach to astronomical theory.

The first known observations and recording of the transit of Venus across the sun were made in 1639 by the English astronomers Jeremiah Horrocks and his friend and correspondent William Crabtree. These observations were made on November 24, under the Julian calendar then in use in England. This calendar was refined and gradually replaced by our Gregorian calendar initiated by Pope Gregory XIII, changing the observation date to December 4th of that year. Horrocks observed the event from the village of Much Hoole, Lancashire, and Crabtree, independently, observed the event from his home in Broughton, near Manchester.

Both men, followers of Kepler’s astronomy, were self-taught mathematical astronomers who methodically worked to correct and improve Kepler’s Tables by observation and measurement. In 1639, Horrocks was the only astronomer who realized that the transit of Venus was imminent; others became aware only upon receiving Horrocks’s report. The two men’s observations and later mathematical work were influential in establishing the size of the solar system. For their achievements, they are considered the founders fo British research astronomy.


A Year: Day to Day Men: 28th of December, Solar Year 2017

Wearing White Attire

December 28, 1612 was the date of the first observation of the planet Neptune. Galileo observed and recorded it as a nearby “fixed star”.

Galileo was observing the four large moons of Jupiter — now named for him — in the years 1612 and 1613. Over several nights, he also recorded in his notebook the position of a nearby star that is not in any modern catalogues, University of Melbourne’s physicist David Jamieson explains.

“It has been known for several decades that this unknown star was actually the planet Neptune,” Jamieson said. “Computer simulations show the precision of his observations revealing that Neptune would have looked just like a faint star almost exactly where Galileo observed it.” But unlike stars, planets orbit the sun. So planets move through our sky different than the relatively fixed background of stars.

On the night of Jan. 28, 1613, Galileo wrote in his notebook that the star we now know is the planet Neptune appeared to have moved relative to an actual nearby star. There was also a mysterious unlabeled black dot in his earlier observations of Jan. 6, 1613, which is in the right position to be Neptune.

If the mysterious black dot on Jan. 6 was actually recorded on Jan. 28, Professor Jamieson proposes this would prove that Galileo believed he may have discovered a new planet. “I believe this dot could reveal he went back in his notes to record where he saw Neptune earlier when it was even closer to Jupiter but had not previously attracted his attention because of its unremarkable star-like appearance,” Jamieson said.

Anak  Krakatau

Anak  Krakatau

Anak Krakatau has grown at an average rate of five inches (13 cm) per week since the 1950s. This equates to an average growth of 6.8 meters per year. The island is still active, with its most recent eruptive episode having begun in 1994. Quiet periods of a few days have alternated with almost continuous Strombolian eruptions since then.

Hot gases, rocks, and lava were released in an eruption in April 2008. Scientists monitoring the volcano have warned people to stay out of a 3 km zone around the island. Several videos of Krakatoa on YouTube show recent footage of eruptions and of the inside of the crater as seen from the rim of the volcano.

On 6 May 2009 the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia raised the eruption alert status of Anak Krakatau to Level III. A Level Three alert signifies an increasing tendency toward eruption, relatively high unrest, and magna close to the crater. A recent expedition to the volcano has revealed that a 100-meter (328-foot)-wide lava dome is growing in its crater. The dome has two active vents that eject incandescent gas.

Volcanic Crevasse

Photographer Unknown, Volcanic Crevasse at Grimsvotn, Iceland

Grímsvötn is a volcano in South-East Iceland. It is in the highlands of Iceland at the northwestern side of the Vatnajökull ice-cap.

Grímsvötn is a basaltic volcano which has the highest eruption frequency of all the volcanoes in Iceland and has a southwest-northeast-trending fissure system. The massive climate-impacting Lake fissure eruption of 1783–1784 was a part of the same fissure system. Grímsvötn was erupting at the same time as Laki during 1783, but continued to erupt until 1785. Because most of the volcano lies underneath Vatnajökull, most of its eruptions have been subglacial and the interaction of magma and meltwater from the ice causes phreatomagmaticexplosive activity.

Grimsvotn erupted again on 21 May 2011 with 12 kilometer high plumes accompanied by multiple earthquakes. This forced the cancelation of nine hundred flights in Iceland, the United Kingdom, Greenland, Germany, Ireland and Norway on the 22-25 May.

Frosted Sand Dunes of Mars

NASA, Frosted Sand Dunes: Mars

In this amazing photo taken by NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on their Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we see frosted sand dunes on Mars from above. The photo was taken on March 27, 2016 at 15:31 local Mars time.

“Sand dunes cover much of this terrain, which has large boulders lying on flat areas between the dunes. It is late winter in the southern hemisphere of Mars, and these dunes are just getting enough sunlight to start defrosting their seasonal cover of carbon dioxide. Spots form where pressurized carbon dioxide gas escapes to the surface.”- NASA