Viennese Rose

Founded in 1718, the Augarten Vienna Porcelain Manufactory is the second-oldest in Europe. Now as then, porcelain is made and painted by hand. This makes each piece unique.

The designs of Augarten porcelain have been created in cooperation with notable artists ever since the manufactory first opened its doors. Artists of all epochs have designed masterpieces. The “Viennese Rose” is a famous decoration from the Biedermeier period.

The Biedermeier period refers to an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848 during which the middle class grew and arts appealed to common sensibilities. It began with the time of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and ended with the onset of the European revolutions in 1848.

Source: Viennese Rose – Augarten Porzellan

Forces of Good

We onward go, “To do what is best”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote in 1815, when everyone was seeking ways to balance each other and remain at peace:

“Versäumt nicht zu üben Die Kräfte des Guten!”

Do not fail to practice the forces of good!

An English translation:

The mason’s trade Observe them well,
Resembles life, And watch them revealing
With all its strife,– How solemn feeling
Is like the stir made And wonderment swell
By man on earth’s face. The hearts of the brave.
Though weal and woe The voice of the blest,
The future may hide, And of spirits on high
Unterrified Seems loudly to cry:
We onward go “To do what is best,
In ne’er changing race. Unceasing endeavour!
A veil of dread “In silence eterne
Hangs heavier still. Here chaplets are twin’d,
Deep slumbers fill That each noble mind
The stars over-head, Its guerdon may earn.–
And the foot-trodden grave. Then hope ye for ever!”


Des Maurers Wandeln,
es gleicht dem Leben,
und sein Bestreben,
es gleicht dem Handeln
der Menschen auf Erden.

Die Zukunft decket
Schmerzen und Glücke.
Schrittweis dem Blicke,
doch ungeschrecket
dringen wir vorwärts.

Und schwer und ferne
hängt eine Hülle
mit Ehrfurcht. Stille
ruhn oben die Sterne
und unten die Gräber.

Betracht sie genauer
und siehe, so melden
im Busen der Helden
sich wandelnde Schauer
und ernste Gefühle.

Doch rufen von drüben
die Stimmen der Geister,
die Stimmen der Meister:
“Versäumt nicht zu üben
die Kräfte des Guten.

Hier winden sich Kronen
in ewiger Stille,
die sollen mit Fülle
die Tätigen lohnen!
Wir heißen euch hoffen.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Thuringian States

In 1884 Paul Lehfeldt was appointed as “Conservator of the Governments of Thuringia”. He mainly focused on the recording of artistic monuments, particularly as editor and publisher of the body work on the Thüringer monuments.

Architectural and art monuments of Thuringia, Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler Thüringens, Jena 1888–1899 can be read online.

For his publications, he was appointed by the Prussian Minister of Culture to the royal title of Professor.

When the German Empire was founded on January 18, 1871, Thuringia had been ruled for centuries as duchies and principalities.

The empire was forged not as the result of the outpouring of nationalist feeling but through traditional cabinet diplomacy and agreement by the leaders of the states
The empire was forged not as the result of the outpouring of nationalist feeling but through traditional cabinet diplomacy and agreement by the leaders of the states

The empire was founded toward the end of two decades of rapid economic expansion. The railway system almost doubled in size between 1865 and 1875.

These halcyon years came to an abrupt end with the onset of a worldwide depression in 1873. Prices for agricultural and industrial goods fell precipitously, as surplus American and Russian grain flooded the market. Among the more immediate consequences of the crash was a burst of emigration. During the 1870s some 600,000 people departed for North and South America; this number more than doubled in the 1880s.

Millard House

Frank Lloyd Wright designed four textile block houses in Los Angeles. According to Henry Russell Hitchcock, the 1923 Millard residence is the best. Hitchcock, the preeminent architectural historian of his day, noted it was Wright who conceived of such modernist principles as the open plan, the flat roof, the indoor to outdoor lifestyle, and the organic relationship between building and landscape.

Redwood ceilings and paneling lend warmth to the concealed stairs and corridor leading to the master bedroom.
Most of Wright’s early buildings were oriented horizontally, the Millard house is distinctly vertical, with columns of block reinforcing the upward movement, in response to the shape of the ravine in which it sits.
Filtered, dappled light flows into the house through perforated block walls that act as screens. Wright mixed sand from the site into the cement so the building would be authentically integrated with its location.
The three levels of the house spiral around a central chimney, that ensures one is in touch constantly with the palpable presence of nature through windows, terraces and glass doors. The master bedroom features high ceilings and a tall, slender window framing the view of the arroyo.
The weaving of earth and dwelling, the knitting of body with nature, indoor with outdoor, the weaving of sheltered, intimate space with soaring, liberated space, La Miniatura offers the opportunity to experience one’s humanity in ways most houses and their architects have never even conceptualized.
On the lower level, the original kitchen has been updated with contemporary appliances. It is adjacent to the dining room.
The dining room opens onto a patio and garden.
Wright was exceptionally pleased with La Miniatura. In his autobiography, he wrote, “The whole mass and texture of the home made the eucalyptus trees more beautiful, they in turn made the house walls more so.”

Source: Millard House

Frank Lloyd Wright persuaded Alice Millard to trade a flat lot she had purchased nearby for far more uneven terrain that inspired his vision of a sunken garden.

“My eye had fallen on a ravine nearby in which stood two beautiful eucalyptus trees,” Wright later wrote. “The house would rise tall out of the ravine gardens.”

 The two eucalyptus trees are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond in the gully. As he envisioned it, “Balconies and retraces would lead down to the ravine from the front of the house.”
The two eucalyptus trees are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond in the gully. As he envisioned it, “Balconies and retraces would lead down to the ravine from the front of the house.”

Vincent van Gogh

The Langlois Bridge at Arles is the subject of four oil paintings, one watercolor and four drawings by Vincent van Gogh. The works, made in 1888 when Van Gogh lived in Arles, in southern France, represent a melding of formal and creative aspects. Van Gogh leverages a perspective frame that he built and used in The Hague to create precise lines and angles when portraying perspective.

Contrasting colors, such as blue and yellow, were used to bring a vibrancy to the works. He painted with an impasto, or thickly applied paint, using color to depict the reflection of light. The subject matter, a drawbridge on a canal, reminded him of his homeland in the Netherlands.

Langlois Bridge at Arles depicts a woman holding an umbrella as she crosses the Langlois Bridge, following a horse and buggy that just crossed the bridge. The water in the canal subtly reflects the bridge and the few clouds in the sky. Van Gogh uses impasto paint and color to reflect light, much as we would see it in with our eye. Two tall cypress trees and a white house flank the drawbridge which has a moveable center section between stone abutments. The painting is currently at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York launched major retrospectives early in the rehabilitation of his reputation, and made large acquisitions.


Intimate Triangle: Architecture of Crystals, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Froebel Kindergarten

Motivated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s credit to the early childhood influence of Froebel Kindergarten on his architectural design, Rubin illuminates the evolution of the Froebel Kindergarten and the intriguing connections to some of the greatest talents in the arts and sciences of the twentieth century.

In his autobiography, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote about the significance of playing with these blocks designed by Friedrich Froebel.

“For several years I sat at the little Kindergarten table and played with the cube, the sphere and the triangle. These smooth wooden maple blocks . . . All are in my fingers to this day”

This book is for anyone interested in early childhood education or the creative forces behind the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Froebel Kindergarten by Jeanne Spielman Rubin



At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments.

lapis stone

Ultramarine was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary, and symbolized holiness and humility.

Lapis lazuli is a deep blue semi precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense colour.

Lapis lazuli was mined in northeast Afghanistan as early as the 7th millennium BC. Lapis beads have been found at neolithic burials in the Caucasus.


A conversation between Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris in front of The Art of Painting, Johannes Vermeer, 1666-69, oil on canvas, 130 x 110 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.

The painting depicts an artist painting a woman dressed in blue posing as a model in his studio. The subject is standing by a window on the wall behind hangs a large map of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands, flanked by 20 views of prominent Dutch cities. It is signed to the right of the girl “I [Oannes] Ver. Meer”.

The representation of the marble tiled floor and the splendid golden chandelier are examples of Vermeer’s craftsmanship and show his knowledge of perspective. Each object reflects or absorbs light differently.

Vermeer obviously liked the painting; he never sold it during his lifetime.


This painting by Vermeer is one of the rare examples of a maid treated in an empathetic and dignified way.

The Milkmaid (Dutch: De Melkmeid or Het Melkmeisje), sometimes called The Kitchen Maid, is a painting of a domestic kitchen maid, by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.

The whitewashed wall and presence of milk indicate the room was a “cool kitchen” used for cooking with dairy products, such as milk and butter. By depicting the act of careful cooking, the Vermeer presents an everyday scene with ethical and social value.

The woman is making bread pudding, which explains the milk and the broken pieces of bread on the table. She would have already made custard in which the bread mixed with egg would be soaking at the moment depicted in the painting. She pours milk to cover the mixture because otherwise the bread, if not simmering in liquid while it is baking, will become an unappetizing, dry crust instead of forming the typical upper surface of the pudding. She is careful in pouring the trickle of milk because bread pudding can be ruined when the ingredients are not accurately measured or properly combined.

These common ingredients and otherwise useless stale bread create a pleasurable product for the household. “Her measured demeanor, modest dress and judiciousness in preparing food conveys eloquently yet unobtrusively one of the strongest values of 17th century Netherlands, domestic virtue”. The depiction of honest, hard work as something romantic in and of itself, elevates the drudgery of housework and servitude to virtuous, even heroic, levels.

An impression of monumentality and a sense of dignity is lent to the image by the choice of a relatively low vantage point and a pyramidal building up of forms from the left foreground to the woman’s head. The painting is built up along two diagonal lines, which meet by the woman’s right wrist and focus the attention of the viewer on the pouring of the milk.

Depicting white walls was a challenge for artists in Vermeer’s time, with his contemporaries using various forms of gray pigment. Here the white walls reflect the daylight with different intensities, displaying the effects of uneven textures on the plastered surfaces. The artist here used white lead, umber and charcoal black. Although the formula was widely known among contemporary painters, no artist more than Vermeer was able to use it so effectively.

Vermeer was twenty five, when he painted this work. The rustic immediacy differs from his later paintings. There is a tactile, visceral quality. You can almost taste the thick, creamy milk escaping the jug, feel the cool dampness of the room and the starchy linen of the maid’s white cap. She is not an apparition or abstraction. She is not the ideal, worldly housewife or the ethereal beauty in Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Vermeer - Het meisje met de parel
Girl with a Pearl Earring by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.

One of the distinctions of Vermeer’s palette, compared with his contemporaries, was his preference for the expensive natural ultramarine (made from crushed lapis lazuli) where other painters typically used the much cheaper azurite. Along with the ultramarine, lead-tin-yellow is also a dominant color.

The paintings of Johannes Vermeer are now world famous but during his lifetime Vermeer was known only to a small circle of devotees and never attained the same level of fame as other Dutch artists such as Rembrandt. After his death in 1675, Vermeer was quickly forgotten and his works were often misattributed to artists with greater reputations.

The Dutch Golden Age of painting is the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence, which caused large scale transfers of population. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade, science, and art.

Dutch artists depended almost exclusively on the open competitive market for their livelihood. Vermeer was elected as the head of the powerful Delft Guild of St Luke two times. His principal patron, Pieter van Ruijven purchased about half of the artist’s output.

Van Ruijven, a wealthy patrician collector who inherited his fortune from his family’s brewery investments, was disqualified from high civic office because of his liberal Remonstrant Protestantism. He married well in 1653 to Maria de Knuijt who brought with her a considerable inheritance. More than one specialist believes that she may have determined to some degree the choice of subjects in Vermeer’s paintings. It is generally held that Van Ruijven’s collection was inherited by Jacob Dissius through his marriage to Van Ruijven’s daughter Magdalena. Upon Dissius’ early death the entire collection was sold in Amsterdam in 1696.

da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) is recognized for his curiosity, imagination and sublime artistic ability.

study of oak branch and lily, the collection of the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, Windsor.

In the years after 1505 Leonardo da Vinci produced a number of delicate drawings of plants and flowers, mostly drawn with a sharpened red chalk on paper coated with a delicate pale red preparation, itself probably composed of ground red chalk.

study of blackberry branch, the collection of the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, Windsor.
By Nadègevillain - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Francis I of France invited Leonardo da Vinci to Amboise and provided him with the Château de Cloux, as a place to stay and work.

Friedrich Froebel developed nature walks for each children to experience the natural environment and see plants and flowers growing in nature.