Saturday, December 4, 2010

Drawings by Amedeo Modigliani

Public Domain Image: Dancer, drawing by Amedeo Modigliani, private collection.
Public Domain Image: Naakt (Nude), drawing by Amedeo Modigliani, private collection.
Public Domain Image: Anna Akhmatova (1911), pencil on paper drawing by by Amedeo Modigliani, located at Apartment-Museum of Anna Akhmatova, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Anna Akhmatova, the pen name of the modernist Russian poetess Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (1889-1966), one of the most acclaimed female writers of Russia. Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyrical poems to intricate works such as Requiem (1935-40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her work was censored by Stalinist authorities. She is also noted for choosing to remain in Russia, acting as a witness to the atrocities around her.
In 1910, Anna Akhmatova married the poet and critic Nicolai Gumilev (1886-1921) and the couple spent the spring of 1910 on their honeymoon in Paris, where Anna met the Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). She fell in love with Modigliani and spent the summer of 1911 with him in Paris. Her first book of lyrical poems, Evening (1912), reflects the influence of this love affair.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: Vision des heiligen Clemens

Public Domain Image: Vision des heiligen Clemens (1730-1735), title translated as ‘Vision of St. Clement’, oil on canvas painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), dimensions 69 cm x 55 cm, located at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Public Domain Photos: Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - the second largest Art Deco statue in the world and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. These photos were taken between 2005 and 2009 released as public domain photos by the respective photographers. Click on the photos to view the original sizes/resolution and save to your hard disks for use in your website, blog, etc.

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, constructed between 1922 and 1931, is considered the second largest Art Deco statue in the world. Visible from a distance of 20 miles, the statue is 39.6 meters (130 ft) tall and 30 meters (98 ft) wide, weighing 635 tons. It is atop the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

Christ the King (Pomnik Chrystusa Króla), the statue of Jesus Christ in Świebodzin, Poland, completed on 6 November 2010 (is 33 meters (108 ft) tall (171 feet/ 52 meters with the mound) weighing 440 tons, is claimed to be the tallest statue of Jesus in the world.

The idea for the statue was first suggested in the mid-1850s, when Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss requested financing from Princess Isabel to build it, but the idea was dismissed in 1889, when Brazil became an independent republic. The second proposal was made in 1921 by the Catholic Circle of Rio that organized an event called Semana do Monumento to attract donations that came mostly from Brazilian Catholics.

The Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue and it was sculpted by French sculptor Paul-Maximilien Landowski. A group of engineers, architects and technicians who studied Landowski's submissions, decided to construct the statue out of reinforced concrete with the outer layers made of soapstone, designed by Albert Caquot. The Construction took nine years (1922-1931) and cost the equivalent of US$250,000 (approximately US$3.5 million in 2009). The monument was opened to the public on October 12, 1931.

In October 2006, on Christ the Redeemer’s 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated a chapel (under the statue), named after Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil (Our Lady of the Apparition).

Christ the Redeemer was struck by lightning during a violent electrical storm on Sunday, February 10, 2008, causing some damages on the fingers, head and eyebrows, but the damages were repaired by the Rio de Janeiro State Government and the archdiocese.

Christ the Redeemer underwent restoration work in 1980, 1990, 2003 and early 2010. Maintenance work is needed periodically due to the strong winds and heavy rains to which the statue is exposed. In 2003, a set of escalators, walkways and elevators were installed to facilitate access to the platform surrounding the statue.

On 7 July 2007, Christ the Redeemer was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a list compiled by the Swiss-based The New Open World Corporation (second in their list). The other New Seven Wonders of the World are Chichen Itza (#1), a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), The Colosseum (#3) or the Coliseum, the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome (Italy), The Great Wall of China (#4) in northern China, consisting of several walls built since the 5th century BC, Machu Picchu or Machu Pikchu (#5), a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site, on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, Petra (#6), a historical and archaeological city established around the 6th century BC on the slope of Mount Hor (Jordan), and The Taj Mahal (#7), a mausoleum in Agra, India.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life and works of Władysław Podkowiński

Public Domain Image: Self-portrait (1887), oil on canvas painting by Władysław Podkowiński, dimensions 55 cm x 45 cm (21.65 in x 17.72 in), located at Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice in Silesia in southern Poland.

Public Domain Image: Szał uniesień (Ecstasy), oil on canvas painting (1894) by Polish painter Władysław Podkowiński (1866-1895), dimensions 275 cm x 310 cm (108.27 in x 122.05 in) currently located at Sukiennice Museum (aka Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice), a division of the National Museum, Kraków, Poland.

Szał uniesień (titled in English as‘Ecstasy’ or ‘Frenzy of Exultations’, also known as ‘La Folie’ or ‘Ekstase’) is the best known painting of Władysław Podkowiński, and which is considered the first work of symbolism in Polish art, which was exhibited in Zachęta in an atmosphere of scandal, and in 1894 it was featured in a Warsaw art exhibition. However, the art exhibition lasted only 36 days because Podkowinski brought a knife on the 37th day and destroyed his work. The painting was later restored after the death of Podkowiński.

Public Domain Image: Akt (Nude) painting (1892) by Władysław Podkowiński

Władysław Podkowinski (1866-1895) was a Polish painter and illustrator. Podkowiński began his artistic training at Wojciech Gerson's drawing school, the Warsaw Academy of Arts, at which he studied from 1880 to1884. After leaving the school, Podkowinski contributed his art to many of the leading art journals in Warsaw. In 1885 along with Josef Pankiewicz, he travelled to the St. Petersburg Fine Arts Academy where he studied from 1885 to 1886. After returning from St. Petersburg in 1886, Podkowiński started his career as an illustrator for Tygodnik Ilustrowany where he became one its most renowned artists.

Władysław Podkowiński’s earliest works comprising watercolor and oil paintings were created during this time, but Podkowiński still considered his art as a hobby, and not a professional endeavor. His early paintings were mainly influenced by Ignacy Aleksander Gierymski (1850-1901), another Polish painter of the late 19th century.

Władysław Podkowiński embraced painting as a profession in 1889, after a trip to Paris where he was profoundly influenced by French Impressionist painters, particularly Claude Monet. Podkowiński’s impressionist works were highly appreciated, and later he was credited for bringing the Impressionist movement to Poland, and many art historians and writers consider him as the founder of Polish Impressionism. But towards the end of his life, his personal life experiences, including an incurable disease of those times, inclined him to shift towards Symbolism. Władysław Podkowiński died of tuberculosis in Warsaw at the young age of 29, which cut short a very promising career, and of course, it was a great loss to the lovers of art.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Laser Show at Lumbini Park, Hyderabad, India

Lumbini Park is famous for its 2000-people-capacity laser show auditorium

Public Domain Photo: Lumbini Park Laser Show auditorium, showing the history of Hyderabad

Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, India

Lumbini Park, a public urban park of 7.5 acres adjacent to Hussain Sagar Lake, located in the center of Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh in India
Public Domain Photo: Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, India, with visitors in day time
Entrance of Lumbini Park in Hyderabad, India
Public Domain Photo: Hyderabad’s Lumbini Park entrance gate

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Tree at Syntagma Square, Athens

Public Domain Photo: Syntagma Square in central Athens at night with a huge illuminated Christmas Tree, 21 December 2005.

Syntagma Square, located in central Athens, Greece, is named after the Constitution that King Otto was forced to grant the people after a popular and military uprising on September 3, 1843.

Syntagma Square, a site of political demonstrations, is quite near Syntagma station of the Athens Metro, with the Greek Parliament across Amalias Avenue. It is a hub for many forms of public transportation with a stop for the Athens Tram and buses or trolley-buses plying to several locations in Athens. Travel between Syntagma Square and the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport is available via special airport buses and metro lines. Free wireless Internet access at high speeds is offered by the Municipality of Athens at the Square.

Syntagma Square is also located near many of Athens' most famous neighborhoods and tourist attractions such as Plaka, Monastiraki, Psiri, Kolonaki, and sites of ancient Athens including the Acropolis, the Theater of Dionysus, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Philopappos Monument on the Hill of the Nymphs, the Areopagus, the Ancient Agora of Athens, the Tower of the Winds in the Roman Agora, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, the Arch of Hadrian, the Pnyx, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Lycabettus Hill, and historic churches dating from the Middle Ages.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Tunnel in the Pioneer Cabin Tree

Public Domain Photo: A tunnel in the Pioneer Cabin Tree cut in the 1880s, photo by John J. O'Brien, 28 August, 2005.

A large tunnel was cut through the Pioneer Cabin Tree located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, located 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Arnold, California, in the 1880s in order to compete with the Wawona Tunnel Tree in Mariposa Grove in the Yosemite National Park.

The Wawona Tunnel Tree, a Giant Sequoia

Public Domain Photo: The Wawona Tunnel Tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Valley, California.

Public Domain Photo: The Wawona Tunnel Tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Valley, California, photo by C. Cameron Macauley taken on June 1, 1946.

Public Domain Photo: The Wawona Tunnel Tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite Valley, California, Library of Congress photo, 1918 June 15.

The 2300-years-old Wawona Tree (or Wawona Tunnel Tree), was a famous Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum, also known as Sierra redwood, or Wellingtonia) that stood in Mariposa Grove in the Yosemite National Park, California. It had a height of 227 feet (69 meters) and was 90 feet (27 meters) in circumference.

In 1881a tunnel was cut through the Giant Sequoia through a scar caused by wildfire, at a cost of $75 paid to two workers. The Wawona Tree had a slight lean which aggravated on tunneling. However, with its new status as the Wawona Tunnel Tree, it became a very popular tourist attraction, as thousands of tourists came to have their photos taken driving through it or standing beneath it. It was photographed accommodating everything from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles, before the Wawona Tunnel Tree fell in 1969 because of an estimated two-ton load of snow on its crown.

Discovery Tree Stump, Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Public Domain Photo: Discovery Tree stump and part of the fallen tree, photo by John J. O'Brien, 28 August 2005.

The Discovery Tree stump is located in the popular North Grove of the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The Discovery Tree, a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), was first noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving only a giant stump which is the only remainder of the tree. The tree measured 24 feet (7.3 meters) in diameter at its base and was 1,244 years old when felled.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park with an area of about 26 square kilometers (6,400 acres) and a major tourist attraction since 1852, when the existence of the Giant Sequoias trees was first widely reported, is located 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Arnold, California, in the middle altitudes of the Sierra Nevada in Calaveras County. It became a state park in 1931 and it is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California.

PETA Asia Pacific

Public Domain Photo: PETA Asia Pacific demonstrates at Hong Kong Fashion Week 08.

Public Domain Photo: PETA Asia Pacific Lettuce Ladies demonstrating in Guangzhou, China, photo dated September 25, 2008.

Public Domain Photo: PETA Asia Pacific anti-zoo demonstration by body-painted people with the banner, ‘Let Animals Show Their True Colors’, photo dated 26 August 2010.

PETA Asia-Pacific, an affiliate of PETA US, and its affiliates are dedicated to protecting the rights of all animals. Their campaign is based on the the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses mainly on ‘the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: in factory farms, laboratories, the clothing trade, and the entertainment industry’.

The Hong Kong based PETA Asia-Pacific campaigns in 15 countries in Asia, where more than one-third of the world's populationlives, and they have made an impact and created awareness about animal rights in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. Learn more about PETA Asia-Pacific from their site: