Friday, May 3, 2019

7 Intriguing Mysteries in the Art History World

Art history has plenty of unsolved mysteries throughout the thousands of years humans have been creating and appreciating sculptures, statues, paintings, and other pieces. Some of these stories have been perplexing art lovers for decades. Here are seven intriguing mysteries in the world of art history.

1. The Mystery of Stonehenge

Ancient art pieces sometimes are shrouded in mystery. One of the most puzzling pieces from the ancient world is the Stonehenge monument in England. The stones have been standing in a unique circular formation for more than 5,000 years. The questions about Stonehenge center around its purpose. Researchers still aren't sure why prehistoric people built the monument and made changes to it for years.

2. Unsolved Heist


Art museums, such as Park West Galley, house great artwork to give the public access to beautiful pieces and their history. There have been many famous pieces of artwork stolen from museums, never to be seen again. Some pieces have been taken and recovered years later. One heist that stands out is an unsolved case from 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. More than $500 million in artwork was stolen, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. As of today, there are no suspects and none of the pieces have ever been seen again.

3. A Missing Masterpiece


Another example of a piece of stolen artwork that ended up being part of a mystery is the piece Dancer Making Points by Degas. This $10 million portrait of a ballerina was purchased by heiress Hugette Clark around 1955. After Clark died in 2011, her lawyers realized the valuable painting was missing. No one could determine when it disappeared or was stolen. A few years later, the painting mysteriously turned up in wealthy art patron Henry Bloch's collection. Today, the painting appears at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, after a settlement was reached to donate it.

4. The Identity of Banksy


Mysteries sometimes surround the artist, especially the world-famous street artist who goes by the name Banksy. Banksy's work has appeared throughout the world in major cities since the 1900s. Because of the nature of his work, which typically is in the form of graffiti, his real identity remains unknown. Many artists, such as Park West Galley artists, are influenced by his work.

5. David's Weapon


Classical statues, such as Michelangelo's David, may also have some hidden secrets. This masterpiece sculpture represents the biblical figure, David, who battled and bested the giant Goliath. Even though this statue has been well-covered and thoroughly studied by academics for hundreds of years, there is still some mystery with what he's holding in his right hand. Some art historians theorize that David is holding an ancient weapon, called a fustibal, in his hand. There appears to be fragments of this weapon in the current statue's hand, but it's not clear if this was intended to be the full staff-sized weapon.

6. The Purpose of the Nazca Lines


Geoglyphs in the form of prehistoric art usually have some questions behind them. Not much is completely known about the Nazca lines in Peru. The large shapes of animals, plants, and other figures have baffled scientists for decades. At the heart of the mystery is the actual purpose of the lines. Some theorize the ancient people who created them were trying to communicate with aliens.

7. Mona Lisas


The last big mystery that still has art lovers stumped centers around one of the best-known pieces in the world, the Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci's painting has been copied by many student artists since it was first revealed in the 16th century. There are two other excellent copies of the piece that were reportedly painted by da Vinci's students.

Art is full of mysteries and unique stories. The next time you check out a gallery, be sure to learn more about the potential mysteries that come along with some of these pieces.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Ranavalona I – Mad Queen of Madagascar

Ranavalona I – Mad Queen of Madagascar
Ranavalona considered as the Mad Queen of Madagascar was born in 1788 in Madagascar. She was known to belong to humbleparents. Ranavalona I was also known as Ramavo and Ranavalo-Manjakal I lived a life of shame when her father got to know about a murder plot of the forthcoming king, Andrianampoinimerina. He immediately brought it to the notice of his master and the plot was averted. As a reward for saving his life, his master adopted Ramavo as his very own daughter.

Moreover he also arranged to marry her to his son, Radama. When Radama had been crowned King Radama I, Ranavalona was his first wife out of his twelve wives.To secure the line of succession it was essential to have an heir to the throne.

While at this position, her children would be the natural heirs to the throne. But King Radama and Ranavalona did not have any children. This became an issue when the King died without having any children. Their marriage was said to be a very unhappy affair, one which had failed to have an heir to the throne.

Brutal & Cruel 


According to the law, the next in succession to the throne was Rakotobe who was the son of the elder sister of Radama. He was known to be well educated. But when her husband died, Ranavalona played a trick and took over the throne for herself.

It was said that though she seemed to be out of focus from the public during the last few years of Radama’s reign. During that time, she had been busy scheming to take hold of the throne. She wanted to take over the control of the throne and with the assistance of some influential and wealthy supporters she had eventually taken control.

She was considered to be tough and cruel. Thereafter her reign of terror began. For three decades, Queen Ranavalona had reigned over the island nation of Madagascar off the coast of South Africa. She was known to be very brutal and had been the cause of death of millions of people.

Not Feeble & Ignorant Woman 


When she had captured the throne, at her coronation she made it known that she was not a woman to be toyed with. She stated “Never say, she is only a feeble and ignorant woman, how can she rule a vast empire? I will rule here to the good fortune of my people and the glory of my name. I will worship no gods, only those of my ancestors.

The ocean shall be the boundary of realm and I will not cede the thickness of one hair of my realm”. Her earliest actions were detecting and killing possible threats to her throne. It started by capturing and executing members of the husband’s family. Probably she could have been taking revenge for all that her husband had done earlier to her very own family.

During her initial time of her reign, Ranavalona who was considered to be a cold-blooded Queen had stated that her country was independent. She had all intention of keeping it that way, not permitting any outsiders to sabotage the system of culture and laws.

This was not accepted by the large number of Christian missionaries who had been visiting the island for a long time. Ranavalona had given a warning for those influencing on her subjects.

Probably she was doubtful about her power being sufficient enough to guarantee that her subjects would be obedient. Hence in 1835, she officially prohibited Christianity on that island. Finally her obsession extended to the other foreign interference, specially the French and the British.

The focus of Ranavalona’s years of reign was mostly on foreign intrusions. She was ruthless to the core and her subjects had to bear the brunt of her cruelty for the most unimportant crimes. Her act of brutally comprised of:

Hanging – The guilty were left hanging for several days over steep cliffs, where their relatives were forced to watch them till their ropes would fray out and the guilty would meet their end with a plunging death.

Boiling, burning, burying alive. Thousands of criminals were the victims of this brutality which was observed by friends and relative as a sign of warning from Ranavalona.

Beheading – As a means of another warning to those intending to invade the island, Ranavalona had executed heads of captured French soldiers which had been skewered along the beach of the island.
Poisoning – Ranavalona aimlessly carried out loyalty test by ordering poison on some subjects due to which only few of them survived.

Brutal forced labour- Ranavolona seemed whimsical and would unexpectedly make unrealistic construction projects utilising thousands of natives or captured prisoners.

Ranavalona due to her cruelty to her subjects, had been given the title of the `World’s Most Murderous Woman. When she died in 1861, Madagascar had a nine-month long mourning period for her death.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tutankhamum’s Tomb – Greatest Discovery

Tutankhamum’s Tomb

Tutankhamum’s Tomb – Greatest Discovery - 1922

Tutankhamum’s tomb is considered probably the greatest discovery during the period of 1922. The discovery was carried out by Howard Carter together with his team. Howard Carter, a British Egyptologist had been evacuating a royal ground towards the early 20th century. It was situated on the west bank of the ancient city of Thebes.

He had been short on funds in managing his archaeological excavations. He then made one more request to his financial supporter who was the fifth Earl of Carnarvon. Lord Carnarvon permitted him one more year to support him. Tutankhamum’s tomb eventually came to light with his final attempt in excavation. At the onset of his excavation, Carter observed first of the twelve steps of the entrance leading to the Tutankhamun’s tomb.

 He then sent a telegram to Carnarvon in England in order to open the tomb together. Carnarvon immediately left for Egypt on 26th November, 1922 and together they began excavating the entrance of the antechamber to proceed with their findings. Carter stated that initially they found nothing. The hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame of the candle to flicker though later on their eyes got accustomed to the chamber light. Gradually they began to see through the mist - statues, strange animals and gold. Lay in Case of Three Golden Caskets

Tutankhamum’s tomb was found intact which belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. It was the only tomb of a pharaoh which had not been touched and identified in the Valley of the Kings. It had been found with artefacts comprising of statues and artwork of such amazing quantity that it took almost ten years to record them.

 In Tutankhamen’s tomb, they found not one casket but three caskets, which lay within a case of three golden caskets containing the body of the king. The outer part of the caskets had been crafted in wood with gold coverings together with several semiprecious stones. These were lapis lazuli and turquoise. However the inner caskets had solid gold.

 Carter in his discovery notes had mentioned that it had been covered with thick black pitch like layer which extended from the hands down to the ankles. This could probably be the anointing liquid which had been poured over the casket at the time of the burial ceremony. This had been lavishly poured in great abundance.

 The image of him has been portrayed like that of a god who is believed to have gold skin, bones of silver and hair of lapis lazuli. The king here has been shown in his divine form. He is portrayed holding the crook and flail in his crossed arm, which are symbols of the rights of the king to rule.

Ignited Global Spark

 

According to an art critic, Alastair Sooke commented that the 1922 discovery had ignited a global spark for ancient Egypt -`A craze for Egyptian exoticism convulsed the West, infiltrating both high and low culture across the fields of music, fine art, fashion, film and furniture design’ Carter thereafter had been a popular person conducting tours in America and delivering lectures with regards to his discovery.

Tutankhamum’s rule lasted for almost ten years from 1336 – 1327 BCE. Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon had found Tutankhamum’s tomb which was untouched in November 1922 in the Valley of Kings. It is said that the mummified body of the king was surrounded by precious goods.

 This was discovered in his golden coffin after his burial chambers had been officially opened in the presence of Egyptologists and government officials on 17th February 1923.According to the discovery, it was observed that Tutankhamum had died when he was around 18 years of age. His end led several scholars to wonder about his death.

Tomb Revealed Numerous Perceptions


However, it is not clear, precisely when he died. His body revealed damage at several stages which could have occurred before or immediately after his death, during the hasty mummification development, in the tomb which could be due to the chemical reaction taking place in the coffin or probably during extraction from the coffin.

There are various damages envisaged on the chest and legs of Tutankhaman which indicates an accident, probably hunting or a chariot accident. Perhaps it could also be death on the battlefield. Still others state that Tutankhamu could have been murdered. Tutankhamun had been nine years of age when he was crowned the king of Egypt during the period of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. If the archaeologist Howard Carter had not discovered Tutankhamum’s tomb, we would have lost his history and would be ignorant of the knowledge of what laid in his tomb.

 His intact tomb revealed a wealth of objects providing us with numerous perceptions during his period of ancient history of Egypt. Overall, it took Carter and his team almost ten years to document and clear Tutankhamum’s tomb. After he had completed his work in 1932 at the tomb, Carter started writing a six-volume book. Unfortunately Carter died without completing it on March 2 1939 at his home in Kensington, London.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Science Mystery: Magnetic North is on the Move

Science Mystery: Magnetic North is on the Move

World Magnetic Model

The northern magnetic pole of the Earth is said to be shifting towards Siberia away from the Canadian Artic. This shifting has compelled the scientists of NCEI to update the mid-cycle of World Magnetic Model– WMM. An official new magnetic model of the world is used for its navigation system which has been moving at a rate of about 50 to 60 kilometres per year, according to The Guardian. Essential to warrant precise navigation towards the North Pole, the World Magnetic Model update has moved ahead from a planned 2020 release owing to the present speed of this movement. The north magnetic pole is said to be on the move.

Instead of moving around as it had for ages, the pole had picked up considerable speed and is moving quickly towards Siberia. Funded by the US and UK military, usually an updated version of the World Magnetic Model is released once in five years wherein the last had been released in 2015. Release of the next version is scheduled to be towards the end of 2019.

The military utilises the World Magnetic Model for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute positioning etc. The other governmental businesses like NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Forest Service and others tend to utilise this technology for the purpose of surveying and mapping, satellite/antenna tracing and air traffic management.

Unexpected Variations in Artic Area


Scientists have released an updated model to precisely present the changes of the magnetic field between 2015 and the present time, owing to the unexpected variations in the Artic area. This unexpected update before the official release of next year’s World Magnetic Model 2020, would warrant innocuous navigation for military application, search, rescue operation together with commercial airlines and others functioning around the North Pole.

 A geophysicist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, Ciaran Beggan commented, `We know from old ship’s logs that in the past 400 years, the north magnetic pole has hung around northern Canada. Till the 1900s, it had moved perhaps tens of kilometres, back and forth. However in the past 50 years it had started to move north and in the past 30 years it started to accelerate away. It went from moving at about five to ten km a year to 50 to 60 km a year currently. It’s now moving rapidly towards Siberia’.

Affecting Navigation 


The World Magnetic Model tends to trail the situations of the magnetic poles of the Earth.Beggan had mentioned that they realised that mainly up around the north magnetic pole, the inaccuracieshad seemed to be great for it to be useful. The drifting pole has the tendency of affecting navigation in the Arctic. Should the GPS fail, the pilots on planes and ships will fall back on compass navigation and would require an updated map for their on-board computers.

The US military, at high altitudes, have named airport runways after their direction with regards to magnetic north and tends to change them when the pole moves. The recent movement of the pole is believed to be due to the formation of a narrow stream which is like the jet stream in the atmosphere, in the liquid outer core of the Earth. The iron-nickel core is said to be so hot that it tends to flow like water – 3,000 km below the surface creating the magnetic field and moving it around the planet.

Weakening of Magnetic Field


Beggan had stated that the north magnetic pole has been caught in this jet and is pushing it rapidly towards Siberia. The south magnetic pole seems to be moving much slower than the north due to the liquid outer core moving differently in the southern hemisphere. The magnetic field of the Earth is growing gradually weaker which is leading the scientist to contemplate that it will ultimately lead the north and the south poles to change places like a bar magnet toppling over.

From the traces of rocks, researchers are aware that this had taken place earlier though not in the past 780,000 years. Daniel Lathrop, a geophysicist at the University of Maryland stated that `it’s not a question of if it’s going to reverse, the question is when it’s going to reverse and such a flip would not be instantaneous, but would take 1,000 or more years to play out’.

Lathrop is of the belief that the flip would take place sooner than later owing to the weakening of the magnetic field, considering that an area in the south Atlantic had already overturned below the surface of the Earth. According to Beggan the rise and the fall in the strength of the magnetic field’s movement seems to be a part of its natural behaviour.

 He said that in the long term, the movement of the north magnetic field would become noticeable since it tends to affect where aurora, namely the northern lights, can be seen. He further commented that the aurora is focussed around the north magnetic pole in a ring enabling the pole to move and the aurora tends to follow it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Archaeologists discover ancient 4,400-year-old tomb decorated with Hieroglyphs in Egypt

Ancient Tomb - 

 

According to authority a well preserved ancient tomb of a priest Wahtye, has been excavated which dates back to over 4,400 years in the pyramid area of Saqqara, south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo capital. Saqqara had been the burial ground for Memphis the capital of ancient Egypt for over two millennia. To preserve their bodies for afterlife, the ancient Egyptians had preserved humans while the animal mummies had been utilised as religious offerings.

The tomb is said to be adorned with symbols and statues which has led the archaeologists to investigate the site further, for more findings. According to Reuters, Mostafa Waziri, secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had informed reporters at the site that the tomb was discovered buried in a crest which had been intact and unharmed. The excavation as per New York Times had started since November.

Tomb – One of a Kind – Last Decades

 

According to his description, he had stated it as `one of a kind in the last decades’. The tomb belonged to a period during the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, who was the 3rd king of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.The name of the departed, hieroglyphs engraved in the stone over the door of the tomb reveals the title, royal purification priest, royal supervisor together with inspector of the sacred boat. The tomb had only been partially unearthed and the archaeologists are anticipating more finding on excavating the site further. A last layer of debris had been removed from the tomb by the archaeologist who discovered five shafts within. On examination, it was found that one of the shafts was unsealed with nothing in it. However the other four had been sealed and more discoveries were anticipated on uncovering the shafts.

Tomb is Unique 


The rectangular gallery of the tomb is said to be ten metres long, thirty three metres wide and less than three metres high. It is covered in painted reliefs, sculptures together with inscriptions. Waziri had stated that the tomb is unique due to its statues and its almost flawless condition.Itportrays Wahtye together with his wife, Weret Ptah, his mother Merit Meen and the daily scenes comprising of hunting, making offerings, sailing and developing goods like pottery and obituary furniture. One will find big painted statues of the priest and his family in 18 niches and 26 smaller niches towards the floor have statues of an unidentified person in a standing or seated position with his legs crossed.

Rock-Cut Tomb Chapel


Besides this, the colour too is intact inspite of being 4,400 years old. Khaled al-Enany, Antiquities Minister had informed the audience of guests who had been invited inclusive of AFP reporters, that they would be announcing the latest discovery of 2018, a new discovery of a private tomb.An Egyptologist, Aidan Dodson at the University of Bristol had mentioned in an email that `what we have is a rock-cut tomb-chapel. What has been exposed so far is the public part of the complex, where family, friends and priests could come and leave offerings for the dead’. Dodsonwas not involved in this project. He had commented that the number as well as the variety of the statues seems unusual. He had also added that the rest of the decoration comprises of scenes intended to mystically construct an atmosphere for the next world especially the creation of food to sustain the dead for eternity and their acceptance of offerings.

Home to Well-Know Djoser Pyramid 


The Saqqara catacomb is also a home to the well-knownDjoser pyramid which is 4,600 years old structure that tends to overlook the site. It is considered to be the first tombstone of Egypt. The tomb had been erected by Imhotep, the master architect for Pharaoh Djoser which was 62 metres tall initially. It is said to be the oldest building in the world which is built completely of stone.

The ancient tomb had been a very famous tourist attraction for years enticing visitors in indulging in rare glimpses of this amazing site which was inhabited by people living there thousands of years ago. Moreover it is also considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to several other tombs.

However inspite of its interesting site tourists have stopped visiting this country due to fear of violence created against the former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak. With the continuous political issues together with series of terrorists attacking tourist areas, international travellers have been discouraged from visiting this country.

A dozen of ancient unearthinghas been done by Egypt during this year. With these discoveries, Egypt expects to enhance its image abroad, reviving interest among tourists. Tourists not long ago used to visit its iconic temples and pyramid but had refrained from visiting this country owing to the 2011 political revolution. Egypt has now made its contribution with its archaeological discoveries, to international media and diplomats with the hope of gaining more visitors in the country.