Saturday, June 12, 2010

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Photo: Marilyn Monroe performing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend’ in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

This is a snap from the film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953) in which Marilyn Monroe performed in one of cinema's most memorable and evergreen song-dance sequence, ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend’. The iconic bubblegum pink satin gown Monroe was wearing while performing for the scene was up for auction on in early June 2010, and the pink gown is probably included in an exhibition of about 250 personal items and memorabilia from Monroe's life and career, on display till August 31 at the Hollywood Museum, Los Angeles.

Earlier, the revealing rhinestone studded dress she wore while singing ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ in May 1962 at the birthday party for President John F. Kennedy at the Madison Square Garden in New York, was sold at auction in 1999 for $1.27 million. Now, it is reported that the picture taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, minutes after her infamous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ is being offered in an auction at the Art & Artifact Gallery in West Hollywood, California.

It was Monroe's last major public appearance before her mysterious death in August 1962. The black and white photo shows Monroe, Bobby Kennedy and John F. Kennedy together -- ‘There is no other known’ photo of them together, according to filmmaker Keya Morgan, who is selling the print. He bought the photograph for a documentary he is making about Monroe. It is one of only ten prints from the negative and is expected to reach £16,000 at auction.

“You know, Marilyn died within months. President Kennedy died the next year and Bobby a few years from that. So what a haunting photograph, and it's the only one of any of them together,” said Mr. Keya Morgan.

Hakka wedding in East Timor

Photo of a wedding in East Timor, in the town of Liquiçá, on 10th June 2006: The little girls with the rings and baskets on the front row are all Hakka, as well as the mother of the bride on the far right and the witnesses (man and woman on both sides of the just-married couple). The bride is mestiza, Chinese-East Timorese. A lot of East Timorese people of Hakka descent have converted to Catholicism, even if they continue attending traditional Chinese ceremonies at Chinese temples.

Husband and Wife Trees, Scotland

Photo: ‘Husband and Wife Trees (Blackthorn species trees) at Lynncraigs Farm, Dalry, North Ayrshire, Scotland, photo of 5 August 2009 by Roger Griffith.

Baboon and Young by Pablo Picasso

Photo: Baboon and Young (1951) sculpture by Pablo Picasso, located at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran.

Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso

Image: Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) by Pablo Picasso, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

American writer Gertrude Stein

Photo: American writer Gertrude Stein (1935), photographed by Carl Van Vechten

American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) spent most of her life in France. She was known as a major catalyst for the development of modern art and literature.

The Gates of Dawn

Image: The Gates of Dawn (1900), oil painting by Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Summer Seas by Herbert James Draper

Image: Summer Seas, oil painting by Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Pearls of Aphrodite by Herbert James Draper

Image: Pearls of Aphrodite, oil painting by Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)

Wild ostriches at Cape of Good Hope

Photo: Wild ostriches at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

ATTRIBUTION: © by James G. Howes, 2006 (Note: copyright holder must be properly attributed, if you are reusing this photo, as this is NOT a public domain photo).

Cape of Good Hope

Photo: Cape of Good Hope, view from the coastal cliffs above Cape Point (16 April 2008)

The Cape of Good Hope (Kaap de Goede Hoop / Cabo da Boa Esperança) is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of South Africa. There is a misconception that Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. In fact, the southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) to the east-southeast. The Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at a point between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point, about one kilometer east of Cape of Good Hope.

Cape Town City Centre, view from Lion’s Head

City centre of Cape Town, view from the nearby mountain Lion’s Head, in South Africa (15 January 2009)

Cape Town, the second most populous city in South Africa, is the provincial capital and the legislative capital of South Africa. Cape Town is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is Africa's most popular destination for tourism.

Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's, the first European settler, arrived on 6 April 1652 and established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. It is one of the best multicultural cities in the world and a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.

Devil's Peak seen from Newlands Cricket Ground

Photo: Devil's Peak as seen from Newlands Cricket Ground (2005).

Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, South Africa, is the home of the Cape Cobras, who play in the SuperSport Series, MTN Domestic Championship and Standard Bank Pro20 competitions. A venue for Test matches, Newlands is regarded as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world, being overlooked by Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. It is close to Newlands Stadium, which is a rugby union and football venue.

Jan van Riebeeck, the first European to settle in South Africa

Image: The first European to settle in South Africa, Jan van Riebeeck, arrives in Table Bay in April 1652, Devil's Peak in the background, painting by Charles Bell (1813-1882).

Jan van Riebeeck (1619-1677) was a Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town in South Africa. Devil's Peak, standing 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) high, is part of the mountainous backdrop to Cape Town, the central districts of which are nestled within this natural amphitheatre. Today’s city grew out of the first Dutch settlement and some of the first farms in the Cape were established on the slopes of Devils Peak, along the Liesbeek River.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jeune baigneuse by Paul Paulin

Photo: Jeune baigneuse (1902), bronze statuette by French sculptor Paul Paulin

French sculptor Paul Paulin (1852-1937), born in Chamaliers, France on July 13th 1852, was a dentist by profession but he was a great admirer of arts. He modeled and cast in bronze sculptures of many famous French artists and notables of his time, including Renoir, Degas, Monet, and Queen Victoria of England.

Baigneuse, by Emile Joseph Carlier

Photo: Baigneuse, sculpture by French sculptor Emile Joseph Carlier (1849-1927).

Alfred Boucher - la petite

Photo: sculpture by Alfred Boucher - la petite, Père Lachaise, Paris, France.

Baigneuse, sculpture by Alfred Boucher

Photo: Baigneuse by French sculptor Alfred Boucher (1850-1934), currently in Dubois-Boucher Museum in Nogent-sur-Seine, France.

Psyche by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Photo: Psyche, sculpture by Danish/Icelandic sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) in Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany

Lise Tréhot, mistress of Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Photo: Lise Tréhot (1848-1922), mistress of French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), was the model for several of Renoir’s paintings. This snap, possibly of 1864, appeared in Burlington Magazine of May 1959/Collection Chéreau, Paris.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The crater at the summit of Mt. Damavand, Iran

Mt. Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, has some hot springs, mainly located on the volcano's flanks and at the base, giving evidence of volcanic heat near the surface of the earth. Hot springs at the base and on the flanks and fumaroles near the summit indicate the presence of hot magma, there by making Mount Damavand a potentially active volcano. Presence of the crater indicates that the volcano might have erupted in the past, while there are no eruptions recorded in its known history.

Mount Damavand in winter

Located near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and 66 kilometers (41 miles) northeast of Iran’s capital city Tehran, Mount Damavand (aka Donbavand), is the highest peak in Iran and the highest point in the Middle East. Also, it is a potentially active volcano and the highest volcano in Asia. Located in the middle Alborz Range, its elevation is 5,610 meter (18,406 feet), according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, which states ‘the highest point in Iran is Mount Damavand being 5,610 meters high’. There are fumaroles near the summit crater emitting sulfur, which were known to be active on July 6, 2007, though the date of Mount Damavand’s last eruption is unknown.

The Replica of David in Buffalo, New York

Photo: The Replica of David in Buffalo, New York

In 1903, a replica of Michelangelo’s David made of bronze standing on granite base, was presented to the city of Buffalo, United States, and the Buffalo Historical Society by Andrew Langdon, a Buffalo businessman and scholar. Langdon had seen the statue of David as an exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and negotiated with the firm of bronze founders who had cast it (Angelus & Sons) and bought it. He also exacted an agreement with the bronze founders that they would not send another replica of David to the United States. The statue now stands in Delaware Park.

David by Michelangelo

The statue of David, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created from 1501 to 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo, stands 5.17 meter (17 feet) tall. The marble statue portrays the Biblical hero David. The statue is said to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, the independent city-state threatened on all sides by powerful enemies and by the hegemony of the Medici family. This interpretation was encouraged by the original setting of the sculpture outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence. The statue was moved from Piazza della Signoria in 1873 to the Accademia Gallery in Florence where it attracts many visitors now. In 1910 a replica of David was placed in the Piazza della Signoria, where David was originally installed.

Statue of Lord Shiva in Mauritius Island

Mauritius is the only country in Africa where Hinduism is the dominant religion, with about 52 per cent of the population following Hinduism. Hinduism came to Mauritius with the Indians who came to work for the European settlers of the island, and most of the initial Hindu settlers arrived from the regions of the present day Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

One of the biggest Hindu festivals in Mauritius is Maha Shivaratri (Great Night of Lord Shiva), which is celebrated in the month of February/March. Up to nine days of celebrations, prayers and fasting lead up to an all-night worship of Lord Shiva.

Shiva-Nataraja at Musée Guimet, Paris

Shiva-Nataraja, the 11th century bronze sculpture of the Chola period from Tamil Nadu, India, displayed at Musée Guimet. Shiva-Nataraja (or Lord of Dance/Seigneur de la danse); statue of the dancing Lord Shiva, the most powerful and most skilled warrior God across the cosmos, holds in this depiction of him as Cosmic Dancer with the power to destroy and recreate the world. Shiva is shown in most Nataraja statues as dancing on the demon of ignorance. The Guimet Museum (Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet or Musée Guimet), the museum of Asian art located at 6, place d'Iéna in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, France, has one of the largest collections of Asian art outside Asia.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What’s the secret behind Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile?

Art critics, art enthusiasts, experts on paintings, especially those who spend considering amount of time in studying the hidden secrets of da Vinci creations, always wondered about one of the charms of the world's most famous painting, Mona Lisa: she appears smiling one moment and then becomes serious and sardonic the next moment. While one viewer will feel her radiant, the other will perceive her mood as something different. It is rather mysterious, most people have always felt.

But in October 2009, scientific research offered an explanation to Mona Lisa’s changing moods, “Our eyes send mixed signals to the brain”. The scientists proved that Mona Lisa's smile depends on which cells in the eye’s retina pick up the image and which channel the image is transmitted through in the brain. To make it clearer, when one channel wins over the other you see the smile, sometimes other channels take over and you do not see the smile.

It is well-known that different cells in the eye are designed to pick up different colors, contrasts, backgrounds and foregrounds. Some eye cells deal with central vision while others with peripheral vision. So, what cells pick up the image first depends on what channel they are sent to the brain for interpreting the image. These channels decode the data about an object's size, clarity, brightness, distance and location in our visual field.

"Sometimes one channel wins over the other, and you see the smile, sometimes others take over and you don't see the smile," said Dr Luis Martinez Otero, a neuroscientist at the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante, Spain, who conducted the study, the New Scientist had reported.

To get a clear idea of the reasons behind Mona Lisa's vanishing smile, Dr Martinez Otero changed various aspects of Mona Lisa that are processed by different visual channels, and then asked the volunteers whether they saw a smile or not. Next, the volunteers were asked to look at Mona Lisa in different sizes from varying distances. Based on the volunteers’ responses, they found the closer you were to the painting, the more likely you could see Mona Lisa’s smile.

Dr Martinez Otero's team also compared how light affects our judgment of Mona Lisa's smile. Two kinds of cells determine the brightness of an object relative to its surroundings, ‘on-centre’ cells which are stimulated only when their centers are illuminated and allow us to see a bright star in a dark night, and ‘off-centre’ cells which turn on only when their centers are dark, and help us to pick out words on a printed page.

Dr Martinez Otero jammed these channels by showing either a black or white screen for 30 seconds, followed by a picture of Mona Lisa. The experiment showed that black would mute ‘off-centre’ cells while the while affects ‘on-centre’ cells. It indicated the volunteers were more likely to see Mona Lisa's smile after they had been shown the dark screen, making Martinez Otero to conclude that it is these ‘on-centre’ cells that sense Mona Lisa's smile.

Eye gaze also affects how volunteers see the smile, according to Dr. Martinez Otero, whose team used software to track where in the painting the 20 volunteers gazed while they rated whether or not Mona Lisa's smile became visible or not. With one full minute to gaze at the painting, the volunteers tended to focus on the left side of her mouth when they judged her as smiling. It was further evidence that off-centre vision picks out Mona Lisa’s smile. When the volunteers had only a fraction of a second to discern her smile, their eyes tended to focus on her left cheek, showing that peripheral vision plays a role too.

Now the question is: did Leonardo da Vinci intend to create so much confusion in the brains of viewers? Yes, absolutely, Martinez Otero contends, "He wrote in one of his notebooks that he was trying to paint dynamic expressions because that's what he saw in the street." After all, Leonardo da Vinci was no ordinary painter or genius. Leonardo was the rare archetype of the Renaissance man, an extraordinary genius whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. And his range of expertise and professions spanned a wide range of subjects, as he was renowned as a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, writer, and many more.

Leonardo's studies in science and engineering were as innovative as his artistic work, recorded in notebooks comprising some 13,000 pages of notes and drawings, which fused art and natural philosophy, which was the forerunner of modern science. Interestingly, Leonardo wrote with his left hand, and his notes were mostly written in mirror-image cursive handwriting, which has led many people to speculate that he did so for reasons of secrecy.

Dr Luis Martinez Otero’s research finding on the mystery of the smile of Mona Lisa was originally presented at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Chicago.

This is not the first time scientists have deconstructed Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, Mona Lisa. In 2000, Margaret Livingstone, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School with a side interest in art history, showed that Mona Lisa's smile is more apparent in peripheral vision than in dead-centre vision.

Perhaps, no other artist’s works underwent the scrutiny of scientists and investigators looking for mysteries and hidden secrets as in da Vinci’s works. Another of his magnum opus that has intrigued scientists, investigators and others including the best selling author Dan Brown is The Last Supper, based on which Brown built up the plot of The da Vinci Code, which was made into a blockbuster movie.

Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921

Photo: Edited version of image of Albert Einstein, age 42, during a lecture in Vienna in 1921 by Ferdinand Schmutzer (1870-1928).

Fountain of Aphrodite, Mexico City

Venus in Neustrelitz, Germany

The Three Graces by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Photo: The Three Graces (1817-18), sculpture by Danish/Icelandic sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) in Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Venus with the Apple by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Photo: ‘Venus with the Apple’ (1813-16), sculpture by Danish/ Icelandic sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) in Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Three Graces, alabaster sculpture by Leonhard Kern

The Three Graces (pre-1650), alabaster sculpture by German sculptor Leonhard Kern from the collection Kunstkammer Würth, Sammlung Würth at the Bode-Museum, Berlin, Germany.

The Three Graces by Leonhard Kern, view 2

Photo: The Three Graces (1650), ivory carving by Leonhard Kern at Bode-Museum, Berlin, Germany.

The Three Graces, ivory by Leonhard Kern

Photo: The Three Graces (1650), ivory carving by German sculptor Leonhard Kern (1588-1662) from the collection: Kunstkammer Würth, Sammlung Würth, Bode-Museum, Berlin, Germany.

Cleopatra ivory carving by Leonhard Kern

Photo: Cleopatra (1652) ivory carving by German sculptor Leonhard Kern (1588-1662), from the collection: Kunstkammer Würth, Sammlung Würth Inv. 5244, at the Bode-Museum, Berlin, Germany.

Die Muse Kalliope by Leonhard Kern

Photo: Die Muse Kalliope (1640), ivory carving by German sculptor Leonhard Kern (1588-1662), Landesmuseum Württemberg Stuttgart.

The Three Graces by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Photo: The Three Graces (1870) sculpture by French sculptor and painter Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875), located in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.

The Three Graces at Louvre, view 2

Photo: The Three Graces, marble sculpture at the Louvre Museum, Paris, restored in 1609 by Nicolas Cordier (1565-1612).

The Three Graces at Louvre

Photo: The Three Graces, marble statue by an unknown sculptor at Louvre Museum, Paris, France; restored in 1609 by Nicolas Cordier (1565-1612) for Cardinal Borghese; height 1.19 m (3 ft 10 ¾ in) and width 85 cm (33 ¼ in), from the Borghese Collection, located at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Sully, Ground Floor, Room 17.

The Three Graces by Antonio Canova

Image: The Three Graces, sculpture by Antonio Canova, located at Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Marriage of the Virgin by Pietro Perugino

PD Image: The Marriage of the Virgin by Pietro Perugino (1500-1504), oil on wood painting, dimensions 234 cm x 185 cm.

The Marriage of the Virgin, the painting by the Italian Renaissance master Pietro Perugino (1446-1524), housed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Caen, France, was initially commissioned to Pinturicchio for the cathedral of Perugia. In 1797, the painting was captured and taken to Caen by Napoleon.

The wide perspective of the composition, with a polygonal temple and the aligned composition of the figures on the sides, is related to the Perugino's painting ‘Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter’ at the Sistine Chapel. Perugino's most famous pupil Raphael painted his own version of The Marriage of the Virgin in 1504, and most critics say Raphael’s work is heavily influenced by this painting and Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter.

The Marriage of the Virgin, painting by Raphael

Image: The Marriage of the Virgin (1504), painting by Raphael, oil on round-headed panel, dimensions 170 cm x 118 cm, located at Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy.

The Marriage of the Virgin, the 1504 painting by the Italian painter Raphael, is housed in the Pinacoteca di Brera of Milan. According to critics, the painting was inspired by two compositions by Perugino, ‘Christ Delivering the Keys to St. Peter’ and ‘The Marriage of the Virgin’ now in the Museum of Caën.

The main characters of ‘The Marriage of the Virgin’ stand in the foreground: Joseph is solemnly placing the marriage ring on the Virgin's finger and holding the flowering staff, the symbol that he is the chosen one, in his left hand. His wooden staff has blossomed, while those of the other suitors have remained dry. Two of the disappointed suitors are breaking their staffs. The polygonal temple in the background dominates the composition of the painting. The temple is the centre of a radial system composed of the steps, portico, buttresses and drum and extended by the pavement.

Caught at the culminating moment of the marriage ceremony, the people attending the wedding also repeat the circular rhythm of the composition. The three main characters and two members of the marriage party are set in the foreground, while others are arranged in depth, progressively farther away from the central axis. This axis, marked by the wedding ring, divides the paved surface and the temple into two symmetrical parts.

The painting (signed and dated: RAPHAEL URBINAS MDIIII) was commissioned by the Albizzini family for the chapel of St Joseph in the church of S. Francesco of the Minorities at Città di Castello in Umbria. In 1798 the town was forced to donate the painting to General Giuseppe Lechi, an army officer, who sold it to the Milanese art dealer Sannazzari, who bequeathed it to the main hospital of Milan in 1804. Two years later it was acquired by the Academy of Fine Arts and was exhibited at the Brera.

The painting was attacked by vandals some years ago. The signed and dated painting, ‘The Marriage of the Virgin’ by Raphael is a particularly beloved painting by Raphael and one of the unparalleled favorites of the Renaissance period. The painting is specially noted because Raphael made the transition from a devoted follower of Perugino to an artist who represents the epitome of the Renaissance. Also, this painting is of special importance because it was executed immediately before Raphael went to Florence where he experienced firsthand the sculpture of Donatello as well as the works of his most famous older contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sculpture: Lady Bathing in Geneva

Le Baiser (The Kiss) by Rodin at The Tuileries Garden

Le Baiser (The Kiss) by Auguste Rodin (1934 cast of the marble original) located at the West Terrace of The Tuileries Garden, a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Built by Marie de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was first opened to the public in 1667 and became a public park after the French Revolution.

The Kiss (Francesca da Rimini) at Musée Rodin, Paris

The Kiss, originally named Francesca da Rimini, is an 1889 marble sculpture by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Like many of Rodin's well known sculptures, including The Thinker, the embracing couple depicted in the sculpture appeared originally as part of a group of sculptures decorating Rodin's monumental bronze portal The Gates of Hell, commissioned for a planned museum of art in Paris. The couple were later removed from the Gates and replaced with another pair of lovers located on the smaller right-hand column.

The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin in London

Photo: The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin, in Victoria Tower Gardens, London, England.

Under the French law no more than twelve casts of this piece were permitted after Rodin’s death. The London casting, purchased by the British Government in 1911, is one of them.

Les Bourgeois de Calais (1889) is one of the most famous sculptures by the French Sculptor Auguste Rodin. It serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years' War, when Calais, the major French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the British for over a year. England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, laid siege to Calais, while Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege, and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender.

The Thinker by Rodin - view 2

The Thinker, sculpture by Auguste Rodin

Photo: The Thinker (1902), a bronze and marble sculpture by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) displayed in Musée Rodin, Paris

The Thinker (Le Penseur), the bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) displayed in the Musée Rodin in Paris, depicts a man in meditation, battling a powerful mental conflict.

The Thinker was part of a commission by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris to create a monumental portal for the door of the museum. Rodin based his theme on The Divine Comedy of Dante. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering over his great poem. But in the final sculpture, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates.

Rodin initially made a small plaster version around 1880. The first large-scale bronze cast was finished in 1902 and presented to the public in 1904. It became the property of the city of Paris, thanks to a subscription organized by Rodin’s admirers, and it was put in front of the Panthéon in 1906. In 1922, The Thinker was moved to the Hôtel Biron, which was transformed to the Rodin Museum.

The Lion man of Hohlenstein Stadel

The lion-headed figure, first called the lion man (Löwenmensch) and later the lion lady (Löwenfrau), is an ivory sculpture that is one of the oldest known sculptures, determined to be about 32,000 years old by carbon dating. It is 29.6 cm tall, 5.6 cm wide and 5.9 cm thick. It was carved out of mammoth ivory using a flint stone knife. It has also been interpreted as anthropomorphic, giving human characteristics to an animal, or it might have been a deity.

Its pieces were found in 1939 in Stadel-Höhle im Hohlenstein (Stadel cave in Hohlenstein Mountain) in the Lone valley, Swabian Alb, Germany. Due to the Second World War, it was forgotten and rediscovered after thirty years. The first reconstruction revealed a humanoid figurine without head. During 1997-1998 additional pieces of the sculpture were discovered and the head was reassembled and restored.

The sculpture shares certain similarities with French cave wall paintings, though the French paintings are several thousand years younger. Later, a similar, but smaller, lion-headed sculpture was found, along with other animal figures and several flutes, in another cave in the same region of Germany. These findings indicate the possibility that the lion-figure played an important role in the mythology of humans of the early Upper Paleolithic period. The sculpture can be seen in the Ulmer Museum in Ulm, Germany.