Flemish painter of devotional and historical subjects. Active in Antwerp, he was a member of a dynasty of artists. His elder brother, Hieronymus Francken, enjoyed an international reputation as a painter to the French court at Fontainebleau. Like his brother, Frans was a mannerist artist and specialized initially in devotional painting. He received an important commission for an altarpiece for the Antwerp Cathedral, which he completed in 1587. Altarpiece painting in Antwerp was at that time dominated by Martin de Vos, whose elegant and decorative manner of painting slender, life-size figures had influenced Francken. He later reduced the scale of his paintings and worked on cabinet pictures that became a trademark of the Franckens. His subjects were often unusual, showing exotic figures and objects. Among his pupils and followers was his even more successful son, Frans Francken the Younger, best known for his paintings of interiors with pictures and sculptures, and for works executed with Jan Brueghel the Younger.|
Ravensburger HistoryRavensburger Spieleverlag GmbH is a German game company and market leader in the European jigsaw puzzle market.
The company was founded by Otto Robert Maier with seat in Ravensburg, a town in Upper Swabia in southern Germany. He began publishing in 1883 with his first author contract. He started publishing instruction folders for craftsmen and architects, which soon acquired him a solid financial basis. His first board game appeared in 1884, named "Journey around the world".
At the turn of the 20th century, his product line broadened to include picture books, books, children’s activity books, Art Instruction manuals, non-fiction books, and reference books as well as children’s games, Happy Families and activity kits. In 1900, the Ravensburger blue triangle trademark was registered with the Imperial Patent office. As of 1912, many board and activity games had an export version that was distributed to Western Europe, the countries of the Danube Monarchy as well as Russia.
Before the First World War, Ravensburger had around 800 products. The publishing house was damaged during the Second World War and continued to produce games in the years of the reconstruction. The company focused on children's games and books and specialized books for art, architecture and hobbies, and from 1962 grew strongly. The company started to produce jigsaw puzzle games in 1964, and in the same year opened subsidiaries in Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In 1977 the company split into a book publishing arm and a game publishing arm.
Today there are approximately 1,800 available books and 850 games as well as puzzles, hobby products and CD-ROM titles at Ravensburger and its subsidiaries, which include Alea for "hobby and ardent game players" and FX Schmid for games and children's books. Ravensburger products are exported to more than fifty countries.
In September 2010, Ravensburger broke Educa's record for the world's largest jigsaw puzzle of 24,000 pieces. Ravensburger's new puzzle design by late pop artist Keith Haring titled, 'Keith Haring: Double Retrospect' breaks the Guinness Book of World Records measuring 17' × 6' built from 32,256 pieces and comes with its own dolly cart for toting.