Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin was born in Georgia to an impoverished family in 1879. He was prone to poor health, leading his mother to be very protective of him. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother did laundry for the neighbors. In 1888 his religious mother enrolled him in church school where he received high marks despite his sickly nature. Stalin eventually was honored with a free scholarship to attend Tiflis Theological Seminary. There, he joined a secret radical society, Messame Dassy. Stalin began to act out. The socialist and Marxist beliefs he had been exposed to instilled a power in him. He was soon reading forbidden books and disrespecting teachers and those in authority. Messame Dassy was giving him a new, different outlook that was mind blowing in comparison to his sheltered early life. Stalin wanted to spread these findings, and strived to convert his classmates to Marxism. He was soon expelled from school. Soon, Stalin was finding ways to fill his time. He worked many odd-jobs, including tutoring and writing for a socialist paper, and joined the Social Democratic Labor Party, a revolutionist party, in 1901. He took part in riots against the corrupt monarchy, and was eventually exiled to Siberia for this behavior. However, exiled men were soon let back into Russia, and Stalin subsequently joined the Bolshevik revolutionary party, which aimed to overthrow the czar. As he stalwartly suck with the Bolshevik party through the Russian revolution, he gained the respect of such high powers as Vladimir Lenin and was appointed Commissar of Nationalities, which gave him tremendous power. Stalin stuck with his job, and also helped launch the Bolsheviks to military victory in the Russian Civil war, Lenin soon appointed him with another job, General Secretary.However, this job as "Lenin's Mouthpiece" would prove to be very crucial. Lenin was soon paralyzed resulting from a medical procedure, leaving Stalin to do most of his work. He began by expelling thousands of supporters of his rival, Leon Trotsky. His confidence and power grew and soon some of Trotsky's proposals were even favored over Lenin's.
Stalin with Vladimir Lenin
Stalin with Vladimir Lenin
When Lenin died, Stalin took over, despite fear regarding his growing abuse of power. He introduced a series of five year plans and killed any person who rivaled his proposal. He continued this through the 1930's with the purge trials, which mercilessly targeted and killed many Russian citizens, and also exiled his enemy, Trotsky, from Russia. He strongly believed in industrialization, which had fallen behind during Russia's years of turmoil and revolution. His motives toward industrialization were so strong that he would often kill anyone who was against them. Joseph Stalin, although brutal, was a military genius whose policies regarding war and industrialization helped to re-establish Russia as a world power. He died in 1953, leaving his country as a force to be reckoned with but at the cost of the well-being of his people.










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Vasco de Gama
Vasco de Gama was a Portugese explorer who was the first to sail to India and begin trade there for Portugal. He first rounded the Cape of Good hope and, with the aid of the sultan of Mozambique, reached India for the first time on May 20, 1498. He instituted trade, but soon headed back to Portugal with his load of Spices. On that trip back, many men traveling with him died of scurvy. So many men died that they had to burn one of his ships, due to a lack of crew. Upon his return to Portugal, de Gama was regarded as a hero. Due to his success, in 1502 he set out for India for a second time, accompanied by a fleet of twenty ships. On this voyage de Gama and his crew brutally killed many muslims, people of a religion they were strongly against. De Gama's third and final journey to India as a viceroy in 1524 saw no return, as he died of unknown illness that same year.










Giovanni Bellini and Titian - The Feast of the Gods


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...................In the early 1500's, the Duke of Ferrara commissioned Giovanni Bellini to paint this masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. It is a painting of a gathering of Greek gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures. These include, from left to right, Silenus, Bacchus, Silvanus, Mercury, Jupiter, Persephone, Pan, Neptune, Ceres, Apollo, Priapus, and Lotis. The Feast of the Gods in fact depicts an instance of sexual assault, in which Priapus is shown lifting Lotis' skirt as the others are in a drunken stupor. Although this masterpiece was completed during Bellini's lifetime, another renaissance artist, Titian, repainted most of its landscape later on. Nobody is fully sure why Titian was comissioned to do so, but there are many theories, such as that Bellini paid Titian before he died.
......................This painting is an accurate example of humanism in the middle ages. Classicism is shown in the Greek mythological characters, which are the focal oint of the painting. Also in the style of classicism, the subjects are openly bear but still slightly modest. Use of perspective is obvious in the trees, and sfumato is apparent in the clothing and bodies of the painting's subjects. The chiaroscuro is visible in the faces of the painting, where realistic light casts shadows throughout. In addition, realism is presented, giving the painting a snapshot feel.