Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
DUBLIN (AP) — Irish expressionist painter Louis le Brocquy, who was best known for abstract portraits of Ireland’s literary and artistic stars, died Wednesday in Dublin, the government announced. He was 95.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins praised le Brocquy’s work as “amongst this country’s most valuable cultural assets.”
The cause of death was not given, but the painter’s family said he had been ill for the past year.
Born in Dublin in 1916, le Brocquy traveled widely in Europe throughout his seven-decade career and was an accomplished painter in oil and watercolors, illustrator, lithographer, sculptor and tapestry maker. His best-known works regularly commanded six-figure prices at auctions over the past two decades, reflecting his status as Ireland’s greatest living painter.
In the late 1930s he studied art in London and Venice, settled in the French Riviera, but fled back to Ireland to avoid Nazi occupation in 1940.
His first major works in 1946 were Cubist portraits of Ireland’s often-demonized Gypsy community, the travellers, works researched during his frequent trips into the rural west of Ireland.
His work wasn’t initially appreciated in his conservative homeland. His first masterpiece, the grey-and-white oil on canvas “A Family” in 1951, was brusquely rejected for display in Dublin. However it won accolades at the Venice Biennale and today is featured in a major display of le Brocquy’s works in the National Gallery of Ireland, where he became the only living Irish artist to be included in the gallery’s Permanent Irish Collection.
As a contemporary member of Ireland’s cultural elite, he spent decades producing unique images of artists’ and writers’ faces — and sought, he said, to capture a glimmer of their souls.
“Clearly, it is not possible to paint the spirit. You cannot paint consciousness,” le Brocquy said in a 1995 interview. “You start with the knowledge we all have that the most significant human reality lies beneath material appearance.
“So, in order to recognize this, to touch this as a painter, I try to paint the head image from the ‘inside out’ as it were, working in layers or planes, implying a certain flickering transparency,” he said.
Among his subjects were playwright Samuel Beckett, fellow artists Picasso and Francis Bacon, poets W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, and singer Bono. That latter 2003 portrait later fronted a global Irish advertising campaign called “The Irish mind.”
Le Brocquy received Dublin’s highest honor, the Freedom of the City, in 2007.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, the artist Anne Madden, and their two sons, Pierre and Alexis. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Catalog of le Brocquy’s 1939-2006 artworks, http://bit.ly/IRLDDU
Le Brocquy with Bono in 2003, http://bit.ly/I5eALf
“A Family” 1951, http://bit.ly/IclL85
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.