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.

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