Historical Figures® News: 2011

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arizona Centenial Exhibition inTucson Features Father Kino


Father Eusebio Kino.
 
Historical Figures to Illustrate Arizona History in Statehood Centennial Celebration at the
Mini Time Machine Museum
January 31 - April 14, 2012.


The Mini Time Machine is an elegant, new boutique Museum for historical miniatures. The staff had wanted to exhibit George Stuart’s Historical Figures, and the Arizona centennial became the perfect reason. With encouragement and support of HFF Director Pat Bergen, an exhibit of fourteen Figures is scheduled to open in Tucson on January 31 and run through April 14, 2012.
New Mini Time Machine Museum in Tucson
What do Historical Figures and Arizona have in common? Lots, it turns out. We all share common “roots” with many of the Movement West Figures, going back to Spain and later to Mexico. That is why the exhibit will include 14 Figures spanning 400 years from Queen Isabella, King Ferdinand and Christopher Columbus to the conquest and colonization of Mexico and the American Southwest. Other Figures: Pope Alexander VI, Moctezuma, , Hérnan Cortés, Malinche, Leopard Warrior, Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson, Abraham Lincoln, John Fremont & wife Jessie Fremont—each with their own contribution to the Arizona saga.

The popular Figure of the beloved Father Eusebio Kino will lead the entourage! As George Stuart says,"The Austrian Jesuit Father Eubesio Kino was dauntless in his travels through the barren deserts of the Sonora and Baja regions of Mexico. His maps and charts were in use up to the end of the 19th century, and his missions still stand today. It is believed that he introduced cattle ranching to the west."

Mr. Stuart will give a special monolog at the museum on January 29.

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Historical Figures Foundation to Produce Renaissance Festival

Carnevale Ventura to feature historical faire, costume balls, fashion shows and more!

Traditional and Current Venetian Costumes to mix in Ventura 
George Stuart depicted Juan Borgia (left) of the infamous Borgia family in full carnevale regalia of the early 16th century. His playboy activities may have led to his murder, perhaps by one of his two brothers Cesare or Gioffre.

For a week in February of 2013, Ventura will host a series of events celebrating the historic period of the Italian Renaissance. These were the times of Michelangelo and de Vinci, vibrant city states and families of the infamous Borgia, Medici and Sforza. Through the centuries, pre-Lenten festivals featured revelers dressed in elaborate and elegant costumes replete with exotic masks.

Historical and entertaining activities are scheduled for Friday through Sunday, February 8 to 10, 2013 in downtown beautiful Ventura. Events currently being planned include – 
  • Traditional 15th Century Renaissance Faire in Mission Park
  • Doge’s Masked Ball and entertaining performances 
  • Period Costume Fashion Shows 
  • “How to” classes by professional costume and mask designers 
  • Contests for traditional carnival costumes and masks 
  • Renaissance Historical Figures® at Museum of Ventura County 
  • George Stuart performances about the Italian Renaissance 
  • Renaissance dishes, drink and décor featured at many restaurants

The Carnevale Ventura is a regional event, with invitations going to Period costuming enthusiasts and the general public throughout California. 

Exotic costumes from "Venice Carnevale 2010" presentation.
 Revelers are strongly encouraged to elegantly dress and mask in traditional Italian Renaissance attire or modern Venetian carnival-style finery. For more information, visit the Carnevale Ventura website. 


Carnevale Ventura is a production of the Carnevale Ventura Commission, an activity of the Historical Figures Foundation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Borgia Pope Alexander's Vestments & Regalia Gain Interest

 Alexander VI Full Regalia 1492 
Introduction
There is a growing interest in everything Renaissance since the SHOWTIME Borgia Series began. Among the clothing styles of the time, only papal vestments and regalia seem to have survived nearly unchanged in design. 

Actually each Pope  was given or had made many new garments and accessories. Over the centuries, dozens of variations of each have been created each incorporating the holy and traditional symbols of the Church and the office. Perhaps the most widely known of papal recreations is each Pope's unique ring. Upon death, the ring is immediately and ritually destroyed.

George Stuart has created five Historical Figures® of Popes. Two of Pope Alexander VI are depicted in highly formal attire. Now Mr. Stuart has prepared the following commentary detailing the meaning and importance of the vestments and regalia.     

The following information is excerpted from the new Borgia Series Wiki.
Papal Glove and Ring

The regalia of the Pope on his coronation were to impress upon the communicants the manifestation of God’s splendor incarnatus in the person of his representative on earth. Although the earliest priests dressed simply, over time a grand elaboration evolved, especially at the highest levels of the clergy. Every aspect was symbolic. Over the centuries, popes commissioned many versions of vestments and regalia to be consistent with their views of simplicity or ornamentation. Many were destroyed or stolen during difficult times.

Reference Sources
The Historical Figure of Alexander VI was extrapolated from his images in Pinturicchio’s paintings in the Borgia apartment in the Vatican Palace, a portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence and a bust of him from life in the Berlin Museum, and from other sources. As newly crowned Pope, he would show himself clothed very much as you see him here. These vestments would be changed often, as function and office required.


 Alexander VI in Regalia
Papal Tiara
The Papal Tiara, triple crown tiara or triregnum was a primary symbol only of the Pope. Origins of the three crowns vary, but as the Trinity is held as the most significant aspect of the Roman Catholic faith, this could be its meaning. There are others. 


 The Finial
The Orb and Cross
Atop the tiara, the orb and cross finial represents God’s rule over the world.

 Papal Tiara and Coif
The Coif
Under the Tiara is a white, close fitting cap, or more properly a coif. This was a standard article of dress for men. The cap kept the head warm and was often tied under the chin. It held the hair in place when heavier headgear was employed. And, as priests were tonsured, having the apex of their head shaved so the remaining hair appeared to be a form of crown, it served as protection against the elements as well.

 Cope of Vestments
The Cope and Vestal Hood
On the Back of the cope is the vestal hood. The origin of the cope was a Roman semicircular robe with a hood attached. Early Christians used this garment and gradually church leaders adopted it for ceremony and enhanced its decoration. The hood, no longer of practical purpose, was retained as a reminder of the garments humble origins. 

 Decorative Border of the Mantum
The Orphrey, Surpice and Stole
The decorative border of the cope or mantum is called the orphrey. In this case, it is a hagiography of the saints depicted with embroidery, jewels and embellishments. The cope is worn over a plain surpice, which has over it the stole, which is also encrusted with images and gold work.

 The Morse, Clasp
The Cope or Mantum, and Morse
The cope and the more elaborate mantum used as elaborate clasp, called a morse to hold it together across the chest. It is often heavily ornamented with gold and gems.

 Papal Glove and Ring
The Papal Ring and Glove
During the Renaissance, it was fashionable to cut a slit in the third finger of the right glove to expose the Episcopal Ring. These rings symbolized a marriage to the Church and were given at consecration. Early papal rings were set with a precious stone. The name given at consecration was engraved on the mounting. It is traditional for communicants to kiss the pope’s ring in salute.  

Hagiography 1

Hagiography 2

Hagiography
The images are of saints, are called hagiography and are painted on sheets of silk covered in gold leaf and set in gold bullion couching and large paste stones.


 Alexander VI in Mitre

The Mitre and Pectoral Cross
Here Alexander VI (1494) is shown at a ceremony wearing a mitre. The origins of the mitre in its recognizable form go back to the 13th century. Again, it has become ceremonial headgear for high clergy, loosely representing the wearer’s fealty to Rome and a secular as well as spiritual authority.
The
pectoral cross hangs below the embroidered morse. Crosses from the simplest to the most ornamental were always part of the clerical dress. Just above the morse is a ‘C’-shaped band. This is the top of the amice, a large, plain napkin with a stiffened collar, which is tied around the neck to prevent chaffing by the edge of the cope. This image is missing the stole, which was unfinished when the photography was taken.

 Cope of Alexander VI Full Regalia 1492
The Mitre, Cope and Lapplets
The back of the cope worn by Alexander VI shows the vestigial hood embroidered with the papal crest. The lapplets going over the edge of the cope are now decorative remnants, but in earlier centuries were possibly ties to hold the mitre or tiara in place. 

 Alexander VI Full Regalia 1494e

A Global Dispute
In 1493, a dispute between Spain and Portugal arose as to which kingdom owned what part of the Americas then being discovered. It fell to Pope to decide who owned what.


Sword of Alexander VI
The Line in the Sand
The story is that the pope had a map of the known world laid out in sand on the floor at the Vatican, and with a specially designed silver sword he drew a line down the center, thus separating the new lands of the Spanish and the Portuguese. Later, in 1494 the division was refined and codified in the Treaty of Tordesillas and announced in a papal bull.


Ornate Cross
Ornate Cross or Crucifix 
From time immemorial, bishops have carried a staff called a crozier, while popes always carried some form of a croix or crucifix. Alexander VI is shown with two styles of crosses. One shows the cross with equal, but very ornamental arms, all set with gold and stones - very popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.

 Alexander VI with Simple Cross
Simple Cross, Uneven Arms

This cross is elegant and simple with three transoms or cross bars of different lengths. 

The Historical Figures shown here are from collections of George Stuart and Museum of Ventura CountyPhotography by Peter D'Aprix. See all the Historical Figures at our website and visit the Museum of Ventura County to see the current exhibit of Historical Figures.

For information about events, museums, beaches, lodging and dining, visit the Ventura Gateway.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Borgia Family Now on Showtime


George Stuart tells us he selects his Historical Figures(R) for their political power and how they wielded it for good and evil. The Borgia Pope Alexander VII and his family certainly meet Stuart's criteria and thus became important players in Stuart's Renaissance and Reformation and Movement West Groups.
It's Showtime!
The creators of the new SHOWTIME miniseries about the Borgia family seem to  agree.  Their release is a dark, but elegant production, steeped in murder, sex, religion and political intrigue. 

While Columbus was discovering the Western World in 1492, the Spanish Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia bribed, cajoled and blackmailed his way to the papacy. His eleven year reign as Pope Alexander VI was rife with all the sins. Some are even calling the Borgias "the Original Crime Family!" 

Fans of the series and the historical period have their own gathering place on the web at the Borgia Wiki.


George Stuart's Borgia Family  
For fifty years, Stuart has spun tales about the intrigues of Pope Alexander VI and his illegitimate offspring Cesare, Juan (Giovanni) and Lucrezia. In that same time period, a dozen movies, some serious, featured the Borgias and their infamous times.
 
Stuart's Historical Figures of Borgia family shown below can be viewed in more detail in the Renaissance and Reformation Group on our website.

Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI
Stuart has actually created two Figures of Alexander VI. One shows Borgia in papal regalia in 1492 (above).

A second depicts the dramatic partitioning in 1494 of Spanish and Portuguese influence in the New World. Both of Stuart's Figures feature the exquisite detail of ecclesiastical garments later attempted by movie makers.
 
In the SHOWTIME Series, Pope Alexander is frequently shown in formal papal attire. A special page on the wiki describes papal vestments and regalia.  
Lucrezia Borgia 
Depending on the historian and historical references, Rodrigo's lovely daughter Lucrezia of ranges from an innocent to a murderer. The worst of stories claim she had incestuous relationships with her father and at least one brother. In the best versions, Lucrezia was an obedient pawn in the family's political strategies.

 
Cesare Borgia
Of the family members, Stuart's vision of Cesare departs more from the SHOWTIME production. While Showtime gives glimpses of warmth and cruelty, Stuart sees only the darker side. Everyone seems to agree that Cesare was never cut out for the clerical position imposed by his father, and later performed well in military conflicts.
Juan Borgia
When a sporting fellow like Juan was given military command of the papal armies, it was not long before incompetence surfaced. Soon he was mysteriously murdered, and many historians accuse brother Cesare of the foul deed. Stuart portrays Juan dressed for Venetian Carnevale, a favorite event and akin to New Orleans' Mardi Gras .


The Borgia Historical Figures on Exhibit
In January 2012, the Museum of Ventura in Ventura California will open a four-month display featuring the infamous family. The exhibit will also include Historical Figures of Stuart's elegant Renaissance and Reformation Group.

Monologs Feature the Borgias and Many More Historical Figures
During the exhibit, George Stuart will give three entertaining monthly Monologs on the Renaissance and Reformation Period in the Smith Pavilion.   Contact the Museum of Ventura for reservations.


 Visiting Ventura and the Historical Figures
For information about events, museums, beaches, lodging and dining, see the Ventura gateway.















Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ben Franklin, America's Early Jet Setter

We all have heard the tales and history about colonial America's Renaissance man. His prodigious works span most of contemporary commerce and science. Of equal importance were his political contributions over decades of service to his Pennsylvania Commonwealth and the fledgling United States of America. His assignments as representative and negotiator took him many times across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

Indeed, he was the diplomatic jet setter of his time. His "jets" were fast sailing ships called packet boats that carried mail, packages and a few passengers across the Atlantic in only 22 days. In route the ever curious Franklin studied the "Gulpf Stream" and printed printed a map of its currents to assist sailing ships to faster passages.

George Stuart created an Historical Figure of Franklin as a member of the Patriots and Founders Group and attendant monologs. However, it became clear that Franklin's whole story had to include his activities in Europe. In recognition to his international contributions, the Foundation has added images of his Figure to the English and French Groups on the website.

Franklin is the first to cross over to other groups, and many more Figures are  following his lead. The part Queen Victoria and Prince Albert played in the Civil War has earned them places in the Lincoln Era story. 

George Stuart has kindly volunteered to write brief descriptions of Figures in each new context. What follows are his takes of Franklin interacting with each country.


Printer, scientist, inventor, activist, and diplomat.

"Benjamin Franklin, son of a poor candle and soap maker, became an accomplished statesman, diplomat, writer, scientist and philosopher. He rallied French support for the nation and was key architect of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He also helped to guide the Treaty of Paris, which ended the war between England and the new United States.
Ben Franklin's inventions, like the lightning rod and the aphorisms he penned for Poor Richard’s Almanac have become fixtures of American culture."

He thought he might make England his permanent home.

"Ben Franklin represented the Pennsylvania colonists before Parliament in London in 1757, and remained several years in England. He was back in 1764 and would protest the Stamp Tax on the colonies. He found that many in the English government thought the policies then being carried out would lead to disaster. Those concerned included the King's brother and the powerful Lord Chatham! Franklin had not fully realized the ground swell against the crown policy.

He would remain in England until 1775. When he found his efforts to change these policies were failing, he returned to America and was elected to the Continental Congress.
"

His love affair with France was mutual.

"In 1767 Franklin visited France and fell in love with the country. By the time Congress appointed him the U.S. Minister to France, in 1775, his reputation had made him famous. He was loved by everyone from the count at Versailles to the peasants who had heard of him.

His goal was to gain French recognition of the fledgling United States. Franklin used all the wiles at his command. An American defeat of the British in an important battle was the turning point and Franklin adjusted the facts so as to convince France to give her full support. In February 1778 France recognized the United States of America!" G. S. Stuart


For More in formation, see Franklin on Wikipedia. And stay tuned for more crossovers!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

King George III gets a Young Queen Charlotte Sophia

George III and bride Charlotte Sophia in 1760
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
 When George Stuart first created the fabulous Figure of George III in Robes of State, his intention was to create an equally handsome Figure of Queen Charlotte Sofia. Of the three Historical Figures® created of George III at different ages, only the 1780 version received a bride.
George III and Queen Charlotte Sophia in 1780
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
For forty years, the Historical Figure of the young king in robes awaited his young queen. Now the couple of 1760, represented in their resplendent robes of state, debuted at the Museum of Ventura County along with many other Figures of English royalty.

Recently Mr. Stuart gave the last of three monologs about English royalty that began with Henry VII and ended with William IV.
Duchess of Kendal, Ehrengard Melusine
Baroness von der Schulenburg
When George I came to England in 1698, he brought an entourage including two very different ladies that would each play important roles in his new monarchy. The Duchess of Kendal, Ehrengard Melusine Baroness von der Schulenburg, became the king’s interpreter, as he spoke no English. Some said her gatekeeper position allowed her to gain wealth from those who would petition the king. She also bore him three illegitimate children.

Countess Darlington, Sophia Charlotte von Kielmanse
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
Photography by Peter D'Aprix

The Countess of Darlington, Sophia Charlotte von Kielmansegg was the king’s half sister and confidant. Darlington was known for staging and managing the most elegant parties and events of the times.
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Monday, January 03, 2011

Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island is Newest Historical Figure



 In 1835 a young Native American woman was stranded on San Nicolas Island 80 miles off the coast of  Los Angeles after her tribe,  the Nicoleños were evacuated by mission padres because Russian-led Aleutian fur trappers were decimating their population. Left marooned for 18 years, her dramatic story was played out in Scott O’Dell’s Newbery Medal-winning 1960 novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins and in a 1964 movie of the same name.

She was rescued in 1853, taken to Santa Barbara and named Juana Maria. Within a few weeks the Lone Woman of San Nicolas was dead of dysentery. Unfortunately her native Nicoleño language had become extinct, so a recounting of her life on the island was lost.

Steven Schwartz, Senior Archeologist at Pt. Mugu recently reviewed the known facts about the island and its lone inhabitant at a Museum of Ventura County lecture. Interestingly he gave some evidence that on two occasions the woman may have refused rescue by fur hunters who visited the island. Mr. Schwartz continues to study the remains of past inhabitants of San Nicolas Island.

In early 2010, the Museum of Ventura County commissioned Mr. Stuart to create an Historical Figure of this astonishing woman. The elaborate base illustrates the rich fauna and flora of the island. The dog is depicted as a typical breed found among coastal Indians.

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