Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633), oil on canvas painting by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, size 160 cm x 128 cm (62.99” x 50.39”), location: unknown since March 1990, when the painting was stolen by two unknown men from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633), the only seascape painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, before being stolen on March 18, 1990. The painting’s theme is based on the miracle of Jesus calming the waves on the Sea of Galilee (Ch 4, Gospel of Mark). The painting shows fourteen people in the boat, Jesus and his twelve disciples and the fourteenth person is believed to be Rembrandt himself, as he used to paint himself as one of the persons in pictures showing groups of people, especially in biblical themes.

The theft of the painting was reported to have happened in the morning of March 18, 1990, when two unidentified thieves broke into the museum and stole The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and 12 other works of art whose value has been estimated as high as $300 million. This hitherto unresolved theft case is considered the biggest art theft in the history of USA.

There is a page in the site of FBI named ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM THEFT where the case is reported and FBI asks the visitors to tip the FBI if they have any information on the theft of some paintings, including this Rembrandt and The Concert (Vermeer), A Lady and Gentleman in Black (Rembrandt), Self-Portrait (Rembrandt), Landscape with Obelisk (Govaert Flinck) and Manet (Chez Tortoni).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Water Nymph, by Paul Raphael

Water Nymph (La Nymphe des eaux), sculpture by English-born sculptor Paul Raphael Montford (1868-1938), who worked in Australia.

The Beautiful Well, sculpture in Schonbrunn Garden

The Beautiful Well (Nymphe Egeria) is a sculpture in the Schönbrunn Garden of Schönbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer residence in Vienna, Austria. As it is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria, it has become one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. The sculptures in the Schonbrunn Garden were mostly created between 1773 and 1780 under the direction of Johann Wilhelm Beyer, employing many sculptors.

Young bather playing with his dog: by Antoine Laurent Dantan

‘Young bather playing with his dog’ (Jeune baigneur jouant avec son chien), marble sculpture by French sculptor Antoine Laurent Dantan, also known as Dantan the Elder (1798-1878), made in Rome in 1833 and exhibited at the Salon of 1835, dimensions: height 1.05 m (3 ft. 5 ¼ in.), width 59 cm (23 in.), depth 58 cm (22 ¾ in.), purchased in 1835, located at Department of Sculptures, Richelieu, ground floor, room 32, Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Statue of Lady Godiva by William Reid Dick

Statue of Lady Godiva on a horse, by Scottish sculptor William Reid Dick (1879-1961) in Broadgate, Coventry, England, unveiled on 22 October 1949.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lilith by John Collier

Young woman on a settee by Guillaume Seignac

‘Young woman on a settee’ by French painter Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924), private collection.

Woman on the beach by Guillaume Seignac

Woman on the beach (alternate names: ‘Nu sur la plage’ or ‘Naga na plaży’), oil painting by French painter Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924).

The Awakening of Psyche by Guillaume Seignac

The Awakening of Psyche (Le Réveil de Psyché), Salon de 1904, by French painter Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924).

L'Abandon by Guillaume Seignac

Image: L'Abandon (before 1924) by French painter Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924).

Lady Godiva by John Collier

Image: Lady Godiva (1898) by British artist John Maler Collier (1850-1934).

The Anglo-Saxon noblewoman Lady Godiva (1040-1080) rode naked on horseback through the streets of Coventry in England in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants, according to legends. Her legend, ever since, has inspired several hundreds of paintings, sculptures, books, films and other cultural aspects.

Mademoiselle Rose by Eugene Delacroix

‘Mademoiselle Rose’, (1817-1824), oil on canvas painting by French Romantic artist Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix commonly known as Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), dimensions 81 cm x 66 cm (31.89” x 25.98”) currently located at Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.

Danae on postage stamp of Ajman, UAE

Danae by Rembrandt van Rijn, was included on a set of commemorative postage stamps issued by Ajman, one of the Emirates of United Arab Emirates (UAE). The scan of the set of 14 such stamps can be found in this blog - CLICK HERE to view.

A Pensive Moment by Eugene de Blaas

Image: A Pensive Moment (1896), oil on cradled panel painting by Italian painter Eugene de Blaas (1843-1932), 53.5 cm x 85 cm (21.06” x 33.46”), private, collection, signed and dated bottom right: Eugen von Blaas 1896.

In the water by Eugene de Blaas

Image: In the water (Dans l’Eau), oil on cradled panel painting by Italian painter Eugene de Blaas aka Eugen von Blaas (1843-1932), size 78.4 cm x 44.5 cm (30.87” x 17.52”) from private collection, signed and dated bottom left as ‘Eugen von Blaas 1914’.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sarah presenting Hagar to Abraham by Adriaen van der Werff

Image: Sarah presenting Hagar to Abraham (1699) by Dutch painter Adriaen van der Werff (1659-1722), oil on canvas, size 76.3 cm x 61 cm, located at Staatsgalerie, Schleissheim, Germany.

Adam and Eve by Adriaen van der Werff

Image: Adam and Eve (Adam et Eve près de l'arbre du Bien et du Mal) by Dutch painter Adriaen van der Werff (1659-1722), oil on panel, 45 cm x 35.5 cm (17.72” × 13.98”), located at Louvre, Paris, France.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Balance of the Zodiac by Luis Ricardo Falero

Image: The Balance of the Zodiac (La Balance du Zodiaque), oil on panel painting by Spanish painter Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896), size 74.9 cm x 52.1 cm (29.49” x 20.51”) located in private collection.

Diana of Versailles in the garden of Fontainebleau Castle

Photo: This photo, taken on 17 August 2008, shows a bronze copy of Diana of Versailles (Artemis with a hind), which is a marble statue of Roman artwork of 1st-2nd centuries CE. The original marble statue is located at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room 17, Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Young Woman with Morning Glories in Her Hair by Jules Lefebvre

Image: Young Woman with Morning Glories in Her Hair (Jeune femme aux liserons?), oil on canvas painting by French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911), 67.3 cm x 54.6 cm (26.50” × 21.50”), located in private collection.

Fleurs des Champs by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Image: Fleurs des Champs, oil on canvas painting by French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911), currently in the Collection of Fred and Sherry Ross, USA.

The Grasshopper by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Image: The Grasshopper (La Cigale), 1872 oil on canvas painting by French figure painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911), measurements 186.7 cm x 123.8 cm, currently located at National Gallery of Victoria, Victoria, Australia. The original note found with this image says, this painting is inspired by the fable of Aesop from The Grasshopper and the Ant or The Cicada and the Ant by Jean de La Fontaine.

Truth by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Image: Truth (1870), also known as La Vérité, Wahrheit, Sannleikur, Veritas, Prawda and Sanningen, oil on canvas painting by French figure painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911), 265 cm x 112 cm (104.33” X 44.09”), located at Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Capitoline Wolf in Rome, USA

Not just the name, but certain other features are also shared between the American city of Rome and the Italian city of Rome. Rome in Georgia, USA, was built on seven hills with a river meandering through them, a feature that was an inspiration for the name. The seven hills that inspired the name of Rome are Blossom Hill, Jackson Hill, Lumpkin Hill, Mount Aventine Hill, Myrtle Hill, Old Shorter Hill, and Neely Hill.

In 1928 Italian Chatillon Corporation began construction of a rayon plant in Georgian Rome, as a joint venture with the American Cotillion Company, for the cornerstone of which Italian premier Benito Mussolini sent a block of marble from the ancient Roman Forum with the inscription, "From Old Rome to New Rome". On completion of the rayon plant in 1929, Mussolini honored Rome with a bronze replica of the sculpture of The Capitoline Wolf, suckling the twin brothers Remus and Romulus, who named Rome after his name.

The bronze statue The Capitoline Wolf, a symbol of the original Rome, was placed in front of the City Hall of the new Rome on a base of white marble from Tate, Georgia, with a brass plaque inscribed, "This statue of the Capitoline Wolf, as a forecast of prosperity and glory, has been sent from Ancient Rome to New Rome during the consulship of Benito Mussolini in the year 1929."

In 1940, anti-Italian sentiments due to World War II ran so strong that the Rome city commission moved the statue into the storage to prevent any possible vandalism, replacing it with an American flag. In 1952, the statue of The Capitoline Wolf was restored to its original location in front of City Hall. You can view the picture of the historical statue above, taken on 8 August 2005.

The Capitoline Wolf - She-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus

The Capitoline Wolf (Lupa Capitolina), a larger than life-size bronze sculpture standing 75 cm tall and 114 cm, long is located in the Museo Nuovo in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Campidoglio (the ancient Capitoline Hill) in Rome, Italy. The statue's theme is linked to the founding of Rome, when the twins Romulus and Remus saw their father Numitor dethroned by his brother Amulius, who ordered the twins be thrown into the Tiber. But the twin brothers were rescued by a she-wolf that suckled them and took care of them until a herdsman, Faustulus, found them raised them further. The brothers, with the support of their followers decided to found a new city, but in a dispute about the site of the city Romulus killed Remus and built Rome, which was named after his name.

The Capitoline Wolf statue was long thought to be an Etruscan work of the 5th century BCE, with the figures of the twins added in the late 15th century CE, probably by the sculptor Antonio Pollaiolo. However, radiocarbon and thermo-luminescence dating tests found that sculpture was possibly created in the 13th century CE.

The she-wolf from the legend of Romulus and Remus has been regarded as a symbol of Rome from the ancient times. Several ancient sources refer to statues depicting the wolf suckling the twins. Cicero mentions a statue of the she-wolf as one of several sacred objects on the Capitoline that was inauspiciously struck by lightning in 65 BCE, "It was a gilt statue on the Capitol of a baby being given suck from the udders of a wolf."

German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann of the 18th-century attributed the statue to an Etruscan sculptor of the 5th century BCE. But, Winckelmann also identified a Renaissance origin for the figures of Romulus and Remus, saying they were probably added in 1471 or later.

During the 19th century several researchers questioned Winckelmann's dating of the bronze sculpture. In 1854 August Emil Braun, Secretary of the Archaeological Institute of Rome, proposed that the damage to the wolf's paw had been caused by an error during casting of the statue, not due to lightning. Similarly, Conservator of the Louvre, Wilhelm Fröhner, stated in 1878 that the style of the statue was of the Carolingian period rather than Etruscan. In 1885 Wilhelm von Bode also opined that the she-wolf statue was most likely a medieval work.

In 2006 Italian art historian Anna Maria Carruba and Etruscologist Adriano La Regina contested the traditional origin of the she-wolf on the basis of the bronze casting technique. Carruba was restoring the sculpture in 1997, when she examined how it had been made. She observed that the statue had been cast as a single piece, using a ‘lost-wax casting’ technique that was not used in ancient times. Ancient Greek and Roman bronze statues were constructed from multiple pieces. Whereas, single piece casting technique was widely used in medieval times to mould bronze items. Carruba argued, like Braun, that the damage to the she-wolf's paw had resulted from an error in the moulding process. In addition, La Regina, the state superintendent of Rome's cultural heritage, argued that the sculpture's artistic style is more akin to Carolingian and Romanesque art than to the ancient times.

In February 2007, radiocarbon and thermo-luminescence dating tests was conducted at the University of Salento. Although in July 2008 La Regina announced that the results of the tests had produced a ‘very precise indication in the 13th century’, the question of the age of the statue was not solved. The results of the tests were not to be disclosed before the end of 2008, but as of April 2010, they have not been published by the Museo Nuovo.

The twelfth-century English cleric Magister Gregorius in his essay, De Mirabilibus Urbis Romae, recorded in an appendix three pieces of sculpture he had neglected, one being the wolf in the portico at the principal entrance to the Vatican Palace. But he mentioned no twins.

The present-day Capitoline Wolf could not have been the sculpture seen by Benedict and Gregorius, if its newly attributed age is accepted, though it could have been a replacement for an earlier, now lost, statue of the Roman wolf. In December 1471 Pope Sixtus IV ordered the present sculpture transferred to the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitoline Hill, and the twins were possibly added then.

The Capitoline Wolf was a favorite of Benito Mussolini, who projected himself as the founder of the ‘New Rome’. To win American goodwill, he sent several copies of the Capitoline Wolf to U.S. cities. In 1929 he sent one replica to Cincinnati, Ohio, which was replaced in 1931by another replica of the statue, which still stands in Eden Park, Cincinnati. The same year another replica was given by Mussolini to the city of Rome, in Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, United States. A third replica was sent to New York City.

The Capitoline Wolf has a special place in the past and present history, as well as the culture of Rome. The image of the Capitoline Wolf was used on both the emblem and the poster for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Also, the Roman football club A.S. Roma uses the Capitoline Wolf in its emblem.

Verteidigung einer Sabinerin by Joseph Uphues

Verteidigung einer Sabinerin (1886), inspired by the legend of Romulus and Remus, is a larger than life bronze statue in the neo-baroque style created by the Berlin sculptor Joseph Uphues. It was commissioned by Philipp Schoeller for his garden. Now the statue is located in Stadtpark, Düren, Germany.

Romulus and Remus are the twin founders of Rome, according to the traditional myth. They are fathered by Mars or the demigod Hercules on a royal Vestal Virgin, Rhea Silvia, whose uncle leaves them to die in the wild. The twins are found by a she-wolf who suckles and takes care of them and eventually they attract many followers and decide to found a new city.

Romulus wishes to build the new city on the Palatine Hill, but Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. They agree to determine the site through augury. Romulus seems to receive more favorable signs but each of the twins claims the results in his favor and in the dispute, Romulus kills Remus. Romulus builds and names the new city Rome, after his name.

Diana Statue in Schloss Schwetzingen

Photo of statue of Diana in Schloss Schwetzingen, Germany

Diana of Versailles (Artemis with a hind), view 2

Photo: Diana of Versailles (Artemis with a hind), located at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room 17, Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Diana of Versailles (Artemis with a hind)

Photo: Diana of Versailles (Artemis with a hind), marble statue, Roman artwork of the Imperial Era (1st-2nd centuries CE), height 2 m (6 ft. 6 ½ in.), located at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room 17, Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Described as ‘the most celebrated of the existing statues of Diana is the Diana of Versailles, from Hadrian's villa at Tibur’, it has been in France since the time of Henry IV.

Diana (La Baigneuse) by Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain

Diana (La Baigneuse) the 1778 marble sculpture by French artist Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain (1710-1795), 1.70 m (5 feet 6 ¾ in) tall, located at the Department of Sculptures, Richelieu, lower ground floor, Cour Puget, Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

President Barack Obama signing with his left hand

The above photo by Pete Souza, American photojournalist and the current chief White House photographer for President Barack Obama, shows Obama signing at his desk in the Oval Office with his left hand on 3 March 2009. Left-handedness is the natural preference for the left hand over the right for everyday activities such as writing, a habit found in about seven to ten per cent of the population of the world. Leonardo da Vinci was a left-handed person who used to not only write with his left hand, but he used to write in mirror-image, a practice that was criticized by his detractors who opined that he used mirror image writing to keep his notes and journals secretive. But the fact is that it was easier for Leonardo to write in mirror image than the usual writing, because he was left-handed.

A robot based on drawings by Leonardo da Vinci

Photo: Model of a robot based on the drawings by Leonardo da Vinci; photo by Erik Möller, Genie exhibit, Berlin 2005.

Leonardo da Vinci was respected as an engineer, during his lifetime. When he fled to Venice in 1499 he was employed as an engineer and devised a system of moveable barricades to protect Venice city from attacks. He kept detailed notes and sketches of his scientific ideas. His journals include a vast number of notes on inventions, some of which are practical and others found to be impractical. He did not take much pain to conduct experiments or prove scientifically about scientific ideas he noted in his journals. They include musical instruments, hydraulic pumps, crank mechanisms, mortar shells, bridges, flying machines (a helicopter and a light hang glider), mills, levers, hoists, winches, pulleys, gears, lens-grinding machine, hydraulics, war machines, cannons, diving suit, and many more.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

Photo: The Creation of Adam (1508-1512), fresco painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (1475-1564), it illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.

Bronze sculpture of David at Fawick Park

Photo shot by Jerry Fisher at Fawick Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States on 22 May, 2005. This full-sized bronze reproduction of Michelangelo’s sculpture, David, was a gift from the inventor Thomas Fawick to the city of Sioux Falls.

Portrait of Margaret Woffington by Jean-Baptiste van Loo

Image: Margaret Woffington (1738) oil on canvas portrait painting by French portrait painter Jean-Baptiste van Loo, dimensions 111 cm x 88 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, England.

Actress Margaret Woffington (1718-1760), popularly known as ‘Peg’, enjoyed a lively and unconventional life, and she was one of the most famous actors of her times. Various artists are known to have painted her. This portrait is not signed, but because of the delicate treatment of the flesh tones and the sensitive rendering of the costume, critics justify the attribution to French portrait painter Jean-Baptiste van Loo (1684-1745).

Marilyn Monroe in pink satin gown

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

The bubblegum pink satin gown Monroe was wearing while performing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend’ was put up on auction in June 2010.