They are some of the world’s most known works of art, but there are some secrets behind them that for sure you didn’t know about.
10. What Really Inspired The Scream
The Scream, by Edvard Munch, is among the most notorious paintings from the 1900s, and it is so famous that is has been stolen several times. What Munch stated that what inspired him to paint this, was a day when he was out with some friends and he suddenly saw the sky turning crimson red. He also stated that he could hear the “enormous infinite scream of nature”.
For years it was believed that Munch’s inspiration was pure imagination. However, recent discoveries prove that the sky that day might have been red because the effects of the eruption that happened in Krakatoa, Indonesia in 1883.
The impact of the volcano, was felt even in New York. According to witnesses, the sky also turned crimson there. Exactly the same impact was felt in the town Munch was living, two days later, as the local newspaper, stated that
“People believed it was a fire: but it was actually a red refraction in the hazy atmosphere after sunset.”
Even though, the creepy scream in Munch’s painting might have been fictional, the sky most probably was not.
9. The Sphinx’s Beard
So far, we all know about the secret behind the missing nose of the Sphinx, but just a small amount pf people know what really happened to its beard. Originally, nobody intended to give the Sphinx a beard and it had been attached some while after its construction was complete.
The reason why that happened, was probably to connect the Sphinx to Horemakhet. One other reason, might have bee for the Sphinx to look like the Egyptian pharaoh, who were often wearing faux beards, which represented authority, and were associating Osiris, another Egyptian deity.
A small part of the beard is presently being displaytedat the British museum. The museum received it from Giovanni Caviglia, a renowned Egyptologist, who has excavated pieces of the Sphinx more than 200 years ago, when the statue was entirely engulfed by sands. Other pieces of the Sphinx’s beard were found when the sand from the Sphinx had been excavated again.
8. Madame X Painting Scandal
The painting called the Portrait of Madame X is a known painting which belongs to a young American immigrant and celebrity, called John Singer Sargent from Virginie Avegno Gautreau. He hoped that this painting would make him famous, which indeed has happened, but we are not sure if its famous or infamous we are talking about, as the painting was considered to represent indecency.
After it was presented at the Salon, the portrait received rough criticism and mocking. The main reason of the criticism was the right strap visible in the portrait. At the beginning, the strap visible in the portrait, was falling from the right shoulder of the woman, revealing more skin than it was accepted. The scandal that followed the painting got so intense, that Sargent was obliged to move to Britain.
His family was very ashamed because of the scandal, and asked Sargent to withdraw his portrait. Wanting to make peace and calm down the masses and critics, Sargent, repainted the strap, as we can see it in the portrait today.
7. Leonardo’s Da Vinci Hidden Music
in 2007, Giovanni Maria Pala, a well-known musician & technician, said that the had discovered musical notes in the famous Da Vinci painting, The Last Supper. According to his explanations, if drawing the five line of the musical members across the painting, the Jesus’s hands, his apostles and the pieces of bread from the table, it would depict a musical note, totally logical. However, they had to read them right to left.
Leonardo Da Vinci always used to add musical riddles in his writings, because he was a music enthusiast. Many people, like Alessandro Vezzosi, seem to believe that what Pala was saying made sense.
There is always the chance of seeing something that is not there, but it is obvious that the spaces from the painting are divided in harmony, and where is harmony there is music, Vezzosi added.
6. The Statue of Liberty’s Chained Foot
Back in 2011, Sarah Palin, was asked what the Statue of Liberty stands for and she replied that it was a symbol that reminds Americans of other countries, as it was gifted to them by France, and other countries were warning them to not make the mistakes they did. It seems that the former governor was wrong, as the statue of liberty stands for exactly the opposite of what she had said.
Many people don’t know that the statue is connected to slavery. The French politician behind the Statue of Liberty, is Edouard de Laboulaye. He was a strong supporter of president Lincoln and he was fiercely fighting for the rights of slaves and the abolition of slavery.
So no, the statue was not a warning gift, but it represented a gift of honor, which ending of all forms of slavery. It was a sign of freedom and pride. The chain is not so visible to tourists, as it is placed beneath her dress, by the side of her left foot, and it is only visible from above.
5. The Secret Apartment Inside The Eiffel Tower
Inside the Eiffel Tower there is a hidden suite, hidden inside its highest level. The owner of the apartment is Gustave Eiffel, the same person who also build the tower. The following year after its opening, in 1890, according to Henri Girard, a prominent french writer, Gustave Eiffel, was a very envied man in the Parisian society.
Apparently, this envy didn’t come from the fame he acquired from his ultimate architectural creation or fortunes amassed as a result of it, but from the apartment that he owned in the top of the tower. This specific apartment, owned by Eiffel, where only he had access into, received many important visitors, among which was Thomas Edison. It has been rumored that Eiffel, received a few of proposals to rent the apartment for one night for great sums of money.
For several years, the apartment remained closed, but most recently it has been opened to the public. Inside, there are mannequins of the engineer and his friend, Thomas Edison. The life like wax representations, depict the scene when Eiffel together with his daughter Claire welcomed him.
4. Tower of Pisa Mystery
The Tower of Pisa, is also known as the Torre Pendente di Pisa, and the design is considered both a monument and a mystery. Even though we have found out the reason for its unique leaning(because its foundation is weak), its designer remains unknown.
Initially, the tower was meant to serve as a stand alone bell tower, for the cathedral from Pisa. Towers as such, were very common in Italy in the 10th century, because it was believed that they symbolised how wealthy and powerful the city was.
Even so, the leaning tower from Pisa, was created to attract more people to the cathedral from Pisa. The main big reason, no one knows the name of its designer, is because it took 200 years to be ready. Some historians believed the tower was created by Bonanno Pisano, but this was argued. An architect named Diotisalvi, is considered the fittest candidate for this position, as he was the designer of the baptisery and the San Nicola Bell Tower from the city.
3. Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement Controversy
Before his death, Pope Clement VII commissioned a painting of the Last Judgement, from Michelangelo. It was designed to adorn the walls of the Sistine Chapel. The painting was supposed to be a representation of the Judgement Day, when the lord’s son would return to our world.
However, after Michelangelo finished it, the art work has generated controversy, as some of the characters in the painting were naked, with their private parts visible, including Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary. The cardinal, couldn’t accept the situation, who started the fig leaf trend, and his aim was to have the drawing completely removed or seriously censored.
Biagio da Cesena, supported the cardinal, and demanded for the censoring of the painting or the complete removal of it, which he said that is was more appropriate in a whore house or bar, instead of a church. These demands didn’t sit well with the artist, who then decided to put Cesena’s face on the God of the underworld.
The naked images, remained in the church until A.D. 1564, when it was decided by the Council of Trend, that it should be covered with fig leaves or draped fabrics.
In 1993, during restoration works, almost half of the leaves covering the characters’s private areas had been removed and then it was noticed that Minos had a snake, that was biting his private parts, twisted around his waist.
2. Golden Gate Bridge Colour Secret
The Golden Gate Bridge managed to break many records in its life-span, and one of them is that of the world’s most photographed bridges. What is interesting, is that the United States Navy, didn’t want the bridge to be built, because they were afraid that in case of a bombing of the bridge, their ships docked in the San Francisco bay, would be trapped.
Later on, the Navy gave their permission to be built, but they disapproved of the color the bridge was bound to have. They advocated that the bridge should be black with yellow stripes, for better visibility, but the architect of the bridge, Irving Morrow, had something else in mind.
At that time, most of the bridges were painted in grey, brown and black, But Morrow said to be painted in “international orange”, which was similar to the base coat color. This “international orange” color, is not only visible when fog, but creates also a perfect contrast with the water’s blue color.
1. Time Capsule Inside Mount Rushmore
It has been said that Mount Rushmore is not yet done,but there are few people who know about the time capsule. When he was building Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum (chief architect), wished to create a rather sizeable room, which would serve as a storage room, where would be keep archives important for the American history.
He believed that, adding such important documents like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, would make the incredible monument even more magnificent.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get to turn this into reality, as he was delayed by the lack of funds and space, and when he died the work remained incomplete.
However, approximately 50 years after his death,the Constitution and 16 enamel panels with the text from the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, together with other important documents were sealed inside the hall. All these precious documents will remain unsealed and pristine for many millennial to come.