Albrecht Dürer – German Renaissance Genius – Astrology Musings

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Photo by Daian Gan from Pexels

Albrecht Dürer is an astonishing, yet somewhat enigmatic artistic character from late 15th and early 16th century Renaissance Germany.

He was a prolific painter, engraver, designer, writer and theorist. He has had an enormous influence on other artists, not merely in his own time, but right up to the present day, through the sheer quality of his work and the magnetic power of his often haunting imagery.

Personal magnetism – Pluto in first house

Astrologically, he was born with Virgo rising, with Pluto just beyond his ascending degree in challenging aspect to his native Sun in Gemini in house 10.

Virgo rising denotes a versatile, analytical and critical outlook on life, very useful for an artisan where detail and patience are absolutely key. His ruler, Mercury, was found in earthy, artistic Taurus in house 9, underlining his practicality and enduring qualities in producing vast amounts of woodcuts and engravings that have stood the test of time.

Pluto in house 1 would intensify his painstaking attitude, almost bordering on obsession at times, it would seem, especially so as Pluto is challenging his Sun in Gemini in house 10; he would likely drive himself hard so as to potentially endanger his health. This intensity of Pluto, so personalised within him, may indicate the fascination of self portraiture – he produced several good examples of this. In these magnetic self portraits, note the intensity (Pluto house 1 square Sun) of the stare.

Another outstanding feature of his chart is the relatively full house 10 in Gemini, including the Sun, Saturn, and Venus conjunct Moon. The latter conjunction is in beneficial aspect to Uranus in house 2, a very clear indication of his distinctive, unusual manner and his originality, not only in character but artistically.

Ambitious, distinctive, but very likeable

He was also clearly a very versatile, communicative, physically attractive, rather pleasant and probably quick witted person – once you got beyond the initial intensity (Pluto) of his personality.

Many people at the time testified to his charm and wit. Mercury is also high up in the chart, so with all these luminaries here is a strong indication of ambition, the desire to ‘become’ someone in the world. This Mercury is in Taurus in house 9, so he had a practical mentality and a strong interest in philosophy and travel. He made two important trips to Italy and one to the Netherlands.

He was indeed also something of a humanist, contributing much in literature, especially in the realms of natural sciences and mathematics. He wrote treatises on measurement, practical theories (Mercury Taurus house 9) on such things as fortifications, proportion, and also on artistic theory. “Human Proportions” is probably his most important literary work, which took virtually a lifetime to produce.

copyright Francis Barker 2019


Michelangelo, Creative Genius of All Ages – Astrology Musings

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni – known simply to us as Michelangelo – is often considered the greatest creative genius of all time.

It is hard to argue against this considering his achievements. He was a notable artist, poet, sculptor and architect who created, among other things, the painting of the Last Judgement on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Pieta and the statue of David in Florence.

If his birth data is correct, then he certainly seems to have a birth chart that implies a significant creative force.


Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, there is only Pluto in earth signs, which is very surprising considering many of achievements are practical creations, like sculpture – more of this later. His elements are primarily air and water, showing that he was inspired and put much rational thought into the creative process too.

He has Sagittarius rising, meaning he had a very free and multifaceted approach to life, an indication of his ability to span many types of creativity. His ruler, Jupiter, is in Aquarius in house 3, meaning there is more than a touch of originality, objectivity and freshness in his ideas and mentality.

Highly sensitive and creative

He has the Sun and Moon in Pisces in house 4, with the Sun in good aspect to Neptune in house 12, showing how he was essentially sensitive, impressionable and also deeply inspired from the subconscious. Mars is also quite close to the Sun, giving him great bursts of creative flair, especially so as Mars in ruler of house 5.

Venus in Aries is also an indicator of primal artistic flair, especially his Venus in house 5 of creativity. Venus is also ruler of house 6 of work and the MC, which also has associations with life direction and career.

However, I want to concentrate mainly on what I consider to be the primary pattern of his chart, namely the fairly loose, yet important ‘kite’ formation involving Mars, Saturn, Pluto and Neptune, and also the Sun and Uranus to some degree. This is a fairly unusual configuration and I am sure one that is significant when one comes down to discussing creative genius. I think the fact that all three ‘outer planets’ are involved is highly significant, an indication that he could tap creatively the transpersonal energies of transformation (Pluto), inspiration (Neptune) and originality (Uranus).

Through studying many birth charts of creative types, like artists and composers, I have found that Neptune in particular almost invariably forms strong aspects to personal planets, or is strongly placed, or both.


The ‘Kite’ – the sign of a great, dynamic genius?

Apart from Pluto, at the top apex of the shape, it all takes place in water signs and houses using the ‘whole signs’ house system, showing its emotive and inspirational wellspring.

In this regard, Pluto’s presence in an earth sign (Virgo) and house (10), becomes all the more significant, I feel, symbolising the long term, transformative physical effect Michelangelo produced and experienced in his career, and the incredible, powerful legacy he left with us.

Let’s take a closer look at it. Mars in Pisces in house 4, reveals his emotive, disparate energy in opposition to Pluto in Virgo in house 10, a tense, compulsive battle between personal and transpersonal power, which creates great waves of energy to transform the life direction but which needs to be harnessed to make useful.

Applications in the world

Enter Saturn in Cancer in house 8 and Neptune in Scorpio in house 12, both in good positive aspect (sextile and trine) to the Mars Pluto opposition, both of which can feed off this energy. Saturn will tend, despite being in a water sign and house, to earth this energy, look for practical, structural applications of it.

Neptune, and to some degree Uranus, will add sheer inspiration and some originality to the mix from a subconscious and transpersonal ‘muse’, perhaps encapsulating the very nature of genius. And with the Sun also fairly closely linked to this inspirational dynamo too, we can perhaps appreciate the great depths of creative potential that this man had, his ability to produce it for all the world to enjoy – even to this day and hopefully for centuries still to come. He was that rare individual, a genius for all time.

*If you are interested in getting your own astrological report, or would like one created for a loved one or a friend, please contact me at

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019


‘Summer Picnic’, A Completed Painting – Inspired by Monet


see link: portfolio

Here is one of my completed paintings, inspired by French artist Monet, probably my favourite impressionist.

As they say about art and creation in general, it is about 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration… certainly the case with this example.

This original oil painting is on stretched canvas, see above link for details.

Other paintings will appear in my portfolio in due course.


copyright Francis Barker 2019

Berthe Morisot, the Art of Astrology – Musings


Photo by Burst,

Often considered one of the three great ladies of impressionism, Berthe Morisot’s works were described as exuding much feminine charm.

Born to a wealthy family, her early style was said to be ‘effleurer’, or of a light touch, though her palette was usually quite restrained in the use of colour.

She had three major periods in her work, watercolour, pastel, and then oil painting, though at times she was not averse to mixing all three mediums together. Even during her lifetime she was considered one of the best impressionists and still has a high reputation today.

Responsive love of balance

What can we see from her chart?

She has Cancer rising, making the Moon her ruler, which is in Libra conjunct Mars in house 4.

She seems to have had very strong feelings, and could probably argue well. The Moon in Libra loves balance and harmony and this is invigorated by the Martian energy. She was clearly very responsive. Mars is also the ruler of house 10 of career and house 5 of creativity, all indicative of an energetic and creative career.

A spur to achievement

Her Capricorn Sun in house 7 along with Mercury, gives her the ability to graft and study seriously, but clearly her marriage to Manet’s brother Eugene was extremely important, as was her relationships to other artists of that period, from whom she gained much inspiration.

However, the Sun’s challenging square to her Moon and Mars, shows that there were some major difficulties in her relationships at home, possibly in her childhood, which could have felt like a cleavage, but a spur to achievement in the long run.

A sea of artistic inspiration

It’s like her own strong feelings being at loggerheads with her sense of duty as a person as she grew.

Most interesting of all to my mind is Venus conjunct the MC in Pisces in house 9. If Venus can represent an aspect of art, then Pisces is like a sea of inspiration, very close to one of the prime indicators of career, or life direction.

This, perhaps, more than any other point in her chart, describes her very soft, subtle signature style of ‘effleurer’ and the ‘feminine charm’ she was known to illustrate in her work.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Paul Signac and the Art Revolution – Astrology Musings


Paul Signac had a deep love of the sea. Photo by Pixaby.

Paul Signac is not necessarily the first name that springs to mind when one thinks of the post impressionist period at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Nevertheless, a short study of his life reveals how key he was, not only in supporting Georges Seurat, founder of pointillism, and helping Henri Matisse develop and grow beyond Fauvism, but also in establishing ideas in art theory and encouraging communist anarchism, which was very much a supporting philosophy, opening up so-called artistic freedom.

He was also a great collaborator and supporter of fellow artists, and became a long time president of the Société des Artistes Indépendants.

The sea

Although he originally trained as an architect, he began to paint seriously after seeing Monet’s work.

Signac adored the sea, not just painting it, but being on it, a part of it, sailing around the coasts of Europe, drawing and sketching, to bring ideas back to the studio. Eventually he settled by the sea at St. Tropez.


Intrigued by Seurat’s revolutionary pointillism, he became a supporter and developed the technique himself, which in his hands further developed later into larger squares of colour, as opposed to small dots.

In time he became president of the Salon des Independents, an important organisation of the time which set the standards for 20th century exhibitions, allowing more freedom for the artist.

Dominant water element

He also knew Van Gogh and worked with him for a time and wrote extensively on the theory of art, with much of his output remaining unpublished.

So what about his birth chart? Well, he has Aries rising, quite fitting for his pioneering attitude. He also has Neptune quite close to his ascending degree, also appropriate since he was so fond of the sea, almost spiritually attached to it. Neptune is quite often prominent in the charts of artists. The water element is also quite dominant in his chart as a whole.

Strong Scorpio and 8th house

Neptune is in opposition to Venus in Aquarius, another symbol of the feminine, which leads one to feel that this was often a source of unease in his life, particularly in regard to relationships, which might have been quite unusual and prone to mysterious endings.

What is most interesting in his chart though, is a very full house 8 in Scorpio. Here we have his ruler, Mars conjunct Mercury and Jupiter and the Sun and Moon together later in that house.

Penetrating, intense mind

His ruler here will add greater intensive energy; his systematic approach to art, like sailing around the European coasts for the purpose of painting, is an example of this.

Mars close to Mercury and Jupiter, gives him a deeply penetrating, inwardly expansive mentality, which as we have seen, correlates well to his writings about art theory and his strong interest in political movements like anarchistic communism.

Do or die attitude

Indeed, this house 8 activity, including of course his Sun and Moon, suggests a strong interest in and attachment to others and their establishment of security, and in the deeper, more secretive aspects of life, like death, regeneration, existence itself.

It is this ‘do or die’ outlook which could have led to the interest in more fundamental theorising politically and philosophically. It also points to the fact that he was a very loyal friend and collaborator to other artists and helped to steer the movement along a more productive path.


What’s more, there is the opposition of Pluto in Taurus in house 2 to house 8 Mercury, Mars and Jupiter.

Here we can see fully underlined the undermining attitude he had towards the status quo through his interest in anarchistic communism. He wanted to change things for the better, but believed that only fundamental, even drastic political change could bring that about, even at the potential cost of his own security.

A prime mover

Considering all this Scorpio and house 8 activity, it is perhaps not surprising that Paul Signac is not necessarily one of the better known artists of his time. Yet, he was nevertheless a prime mover behind the scenes.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Henri Matisse, Breaking New Ground in Art – Astrology Musings


Photo by Shelagh Murphy from Pexels

Henri Matisse, rival of Picasso, was one of the ground breaking artists of the last hundred years or so. He was noted for his sculpture and printmaking too.

Having first trained as a lawyer in France, he disappointed his wealthy father by taking up painting.

Meeting Australian artist John Russell in Brittany changed his life. Russell introduced him to impressionism and the work of Van Gogh.

Intensity of colour

Immediately he began to experiment with the use of intense colour, which led him to being one of the forerunners of the Fauvist movement of the early 1900s. From then on, he became ever more experimental, using large blocks of intense colour and increasingly more revolutionary styles. His extraordinary career spanned 50 years.

Astrologically, Matisse was born with expressive Leo on the ascendant, always pretty useful for a creative person who wants to make a mark.

His Moon in Sagittarius in house 5 would add a creative restlessness to his character, always open to new influences, especially from abroad. Nevertheless, with Saturn quite close to the Moon, he would always likely seek practical ways of applying that expression.

Personal drive

However, his ruler, the Sun, is found in Capricorn in house 6. Here is the ambition added to the forceful personality, the determination to apply and establish himself through hard work.

What is more, his Sun is trine a Jupiter Pluto conjunction on his midheaven in Taurus. This adds great practical opportunities and an intense drive to his career aspirations.

Practical application

The fact that he could turn his hand to more tactile work like sculpture and printmaking is shown by the Capricorn Taurus link up here.

Venus rules Taurus and his Venus is in Aquarius, hinting of his unusual, unique perspective on art. Jupiter, prominently placed and aspected, also rules his house 5 of creativity, which adds further to the mix.

Channelled energies

Though his Mercury in Capricorn shows mental astuteness, it is in exact opposition to his Uranus in Cancer in house 12 and square Neptune in Aries in house 9.

I think this indicates much mental agitation and energy, especially with Mars also not far away from Mercury. With Uranus in house 12 and Neptune involved, he might not have been consciously aware of where this agitated energy came from, but it may well have been a bonus for his creativity, inspiration and originality in art.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Light and Colour – Astrology Musings


Photo by Daian Gan from Pexels

One of the most well known figures from the French Impressionist movement, Renoir’s birth chart has some highly interesting features.

Firstly, there is Neptune rising in Aquarius, loosely sextiling both Jupiter and Pluto.

Aquarius is often rather different, a forward thinker, though also with a conservative streak. Neptune’s nebulous, inspirational qualities placed here, will find a unique style of expression. Here is an unusual, mysterious, (and yes, impressionable), though highly inspired personality.

And Neptune is usually regarded as a feminine energy; Renoir’s depictions of females are particularly noteworthy, as if there was a deep connection to the archetype.

Light and Colour

It’s interesting to note that he preferred singing to drawing or painting when he was younger, the former being considered his greater talent. Mercury conjunct Uranus in Pisces, plus Venus conjunct Moon in Aries, may also reflect natural singing talent, as well as artistic ability. The vibrant light and saturated colour are a key character of his paintings, which also reflects the astrological symbolism.

Allied to this, his Sun trine Mars (10th house) and the Mercury Uranus conjunction (already mentioned above) in Pisces in the 2nd house, underlines his manner of needing to make a ‘secure’ living and career using his key artistic and unusual talents. He might have made a rather good poet, too, if he had shown the inclination.

Mars in Scorpio (10th) would add a determined ambition, sustained over time, an important strengthening feature amidst a lot of inspiration.

The female nude

Another notable feature, alluded to above, is the conjunction of Moon, Venus and Pluto in Aries in the 3rd house.

Here, we might speculate, is symbolised the deep, ardent love of femininity. He was indeed one of the primary impressionist painters of the female nude.

Renoir travelled quite extensively for his career, too, going to Algeria, Spain, Italy and Guernsey. Sagittarius on the midheaven with Jupiter in its own sign is an indication that travel, or exploring all avenues, will be a feature of the career.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019