John James Audubon
John James Audubon is best known for Birds of America, portraits of every bird then known in the United States drawn and sculpted in the size of life. Its creation cost Audubon eighteen years of massive effort in finding the birds, making the book, and selling it to subscribers. One of the greatest nature artists and writers Audubon was born on April 26, 1785, in Haiti. His mother died of an infection almost instantly after giving birth to Audubon. Audubon and his half sister were then adopted by his new wife Ann Moynet Audubon. As a child, Audubon studied at a naval academy in France, before his father realized his liking for the outdoors and the details around it. His father began encouraging his son to study natural history and painting pieces from many different famous artists.
After moving away from France in 1803 to avoid the problems stemming from Napoleons army, Audubon moved to Mill Grove, an estate located on the banks of the Perkiomen River, northwest of Philadelphia. At Mill Grove, John James lived with William Thomas and his family, who his father had appointed to care for his estate. Audubon later got married to a beautiful woman, Lucy Bakewell. After traveling over the United States he took advantage of time and space to study and draw the birds that would become his life’s passion. That is what started some of his most famous pieces of art.
For the next 15 years, John James used every possible moment of his time he had to hunt and draw birds. In 1820, Audubon finally decided to go ahead with his ambitious dream of drawing every bird in North America. Audubon and Joseph Mason would travel down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to search for new specimens. Upon arriving in New Orleans with many new specimens and drawings, Audubon and Mason prepared to support themselves while continuing to collect birds. Audubon painted portraits and sent most of the proceeds to Lucy and the children, while renting a small...