Friday, August 20, 2010

Pearl Pendant: Christ Blessing, Louvre

PD Photo: ‘Pendant: Christ Blessing’ (12th or 13th century), framed with soapstone, gilded silver, pearls, red glass and rubies from the Byzantine empire, height 5.6 cm (2 in) and width 3.1 cm (1 in), located at Department of Decorative Arts, Richelieu, First Floor, Room 1, Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Credit: Gift of Mrs. N. Landau (1983).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

220 kg gold brick in Chinkuashi Gold Museum, Taiwan

PD Photo: A gold brick weighing 220 kg displayed in Chinkuashi Gold Museum, Chiufen, Rueifang Township of Taipei County, Taiwan. The Gold brick belongs to Republic of China's Ministry of Finance, currently on loan to the museum, photo taken on 4 January 2007.

Jan Matsys: Flora (1559)

PD Image: Flora (1559), oil painting by Flemish painter Jan Matsys - his name is alternatively spelt as Jan Massys, Jan Metsys, or Jan Matsijs - (1510-1575), located at the Hamburger Kunsthalle art museum in Hamburg, Germany.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Modern European coins

PD Photo: A selection of modern European coins from countries such as Bosnia, Slovenia, Hungary, Denmark and United Kingdom.

Women at Miami making fun of sign on full bathing suits

PD Photo: Young women in swimsuits making fun of the sign at the beach requiring full bathing suits at Miami, Florida, photo by Gleason Waite Romer (1887-1971), from repository: State Library and Archives of Florida, USA; photo taken on July 4, 1934.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Elvis Presley meets President Nixon in 1970

PD Photo: Elvis Presley meets President Richard M. Nixon in the White House Oval Office on December 21, 1970, photo by White House photographer Ollie Atkins (the-then chief White House photographer).

On December 21, 1970, the original 'King of Rock and Roll' Elvis Presley, at his own request, met then-U.S. President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office of The White House, when he reportedly expressed his patriotism and his contempt for the hippie drug culture. This may be to debunk the negative publicity he received as a result of the stories contained in the book entitled ‘Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley’ by Peter Guralnick (Back Bay Books; 1999).

During the meeting Presley asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge to add to the items/memorabilia he had been collecting. Nixon who felt the meeting awkward, suggested that Presley could send a positive message to young people and it was therefore important for Presley to ‘retain his credibility’. Presley is reported to have told Nixon that The Beatles, whose songs he used to perform in concerts, exemplified what he saw as a trend of anti-Americanism and drug abuse in popular culture.

Ironically, this picture was being described to be 'of the two greatest recording artists of the 20th century' by the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (now rechristened as the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from July 11, 2007, when it became a federal facility), and sold several souvenir items with this photo with the caption, "The President & the King." The photo is now available from the Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration under ARC Identifier 1634221.

Nothing to wonder about the huge sales this photo could generate, as in a recent auction, Elvis Presley's strands of hair collected by his barber Homer M. Gilleland went for £10,700. A three-page real estate sales contract signed by Elvis Presley fetched £25,000, his gold and diamond 18 carat Cameo sold for £25,000, his legendary gold trimmed sunglasses sold for £13,800, and his gun, a .22 Harrington and Richardson seven-shot revolver was snapped up for £7,700.

Icebergs in Scoresby Sund, East Greenland

PD Photo: Icebergs at Sydkap in Scoresby Sund, East Greenland, photo taken in July, 1970.

Scoresby Sund is the longest fjord in the world, stretching for 350 km (220 miles) and also one of the deepest, over 1,500 meters or 4,900 feet deep. It is located in eastern Greenland opening into Greenland Sea. Milne Land is a large island located in the center of the fjord. Ittoqqortoormiit, with a population of 469 as of 2010, is the only permanent settlement in the region near the mouth of the fjord.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peace riding in a triumphal chariot

PD Photo: ‘Peace riding in a triumphal chariot’ (1828), a quadriga by French sculptor François Joseph Bosio (1768-1845), bronze mould by Charles Crozatier, height 3.5 meter (11 feet 5 ¾ inches).

François Joseph Bosio's quadriga is installed atop the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a victory arch in Paris, located at the Place du Carrousel on the site of the former Tuileries Palace, which was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune in until 1871.

A quadriga (triumphal chariot) is a chariot drawn by four horses abreast, and has been considered the symbol of triumph. Victory (Victoria) and Fame (Pheme or Fama) were often depicted as driving the quadriga. In classical mythology the quadriga is the chariot of the gods. For instance, Apollo was depicted driving his quadriga across the heavens.

In ancient Roman religion, Victoria was the personified goddess of victory, and the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike. In Greek mythology, Fame (‘Pheme’ in Greek and the Roman equivalent ‘Fama’) was the personification of fame and renown.

Venus of Lespugue, tusk ivory carving

PD Photo: Replica of the Venus of Lespugue, carved from tusk ivory (Gravettian/ Upper Paleolithic) located at Museé des Antiquités Nationales, Paris, France.

The age of Venus of Lespugue, now residing in France at the Museé des Antiquités Nationales, Paris, is estimated between 24,000 and 26,000 years. This Venus figurine, a statuette of a nude female figure of the Gravettian (named after the site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France), was discovered In 1922 by René de Saint-Périer (1877-1950) in the Rideaux cave of Lespugue (Haute-Garonne) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, a range of mountains in southwest Europe that form a natural border between France and Spain.

Venus of Lespugue, one among hundreds of Venus figurines of the Gravettian cultural stage discovered across central Europe (and into Russia), is linked to similar figurines and carvings. 147 mm (approximately 6 inches) tall, the Lespugue Venus is carved from tusk ivory, which was damaged during excavation, and restored later.

Of all Venus figurines discovered from the upper Paleolithic, the Venus of Lespugue defies logic that it is about 25000 years old, as it looks like any sculpture or art piece of the twentieth century. This Venus is well-attributed with the most exaggerated female secondary sexual characteristics, especially the extremely large pendulous breasts. The rest of the figure too complements well the beauty of Venus.

Marilyn Monroe with the U.S. troops in Korea

Photo: Marilyn Monroe poses for American troops in Korea after a performance at the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division Area on 17 February 17, 1954.

Immediately after her marriage to American baseball player Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco on January 14, 1954, Marilyn Monroe travelled to Japan for a honeymoon trip with an additional tag of business trip arranged by DiMaggio to conduct his business. Monroe then travelled alone to Korea and performed for the entertainment of 13,000 American Marines there during the Korean War. She spent three days entertaining the troops.

Gabrielle Cot by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

PD Image: Portrait de Gabrielle Cot, alternative name, Portrait of Gabrielle Cot, 1890 oil painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit by James Carroll Beckwith

PG Image: Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit (1900), oil painting by American Impressionist painter James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917), size 31 inches x 26.5 inches.

Evelyn Nesbit, born as Florence Evelyn Nesbit, (1884-1967), an American artists' model and chorus girl, started working right in her early teenage years, when her father Winfield Scott Nesbit died leaving behind his wife and two children nearly destitute. By the time she reached adolescence her startling beauty attracted the attention of several local artists, including John Storm, and she was able to find employment as an artists' model.

In 1901 Evelyn Nesbit moved to New York City with her mother and younger brother. Using a letter of introduction from a Philadelphia artist, Evelyn met and posed for James Carroll Beckwith, who introduced her to other New York artists. Evelyn Nesbit was seductively beautiful with long wavy red hair and a slender, shapely figure. Soon she began modeling for artists Frederick S. Church, Herbert Morgan, Gertrude Käsebier, Carl Blenner and photographer Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. Soon Evelyn Nesbit became one of the most sought after artists' models in New York.

Some of the most popular photos of Evelyn Nesbit are below:

Evelyn Nesbit's photo (cropped) by American photographer Gertrude Käsebier

Evelyn Nesbit at the age of 15 (1900)

Evelyn Nesbit at the age of 16 (1901)