Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Statue of Shakira in Barranquilla, Colombia

Public Domain Photo: Statue of Shakira (Escultura de Shakira) in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The Colombian singer, musician, dancer, songwriter and record producer Shakira (born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll on February 2, 1977) emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Shakira is a multitalented artist with vocal ability in Rock and Roll, Latin American and Middle Eastern music and dance influences, marked by her own original version of Belly Dance. She was born and raised in Barranquilla in northern Colombia, where there is a huge following of music groups inspired by the musical style of Shakira.

Rembrandt: The abduction of Europa

Public Domain Image: The abduction of Europa, known by alternate title: De roof van Europa (Ovidius, Metamorphosen II, 833-875), oil on oak panel painting (1632) by the Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), dimensions 62.2 cm x 77 cm (24.49 in x 30.31 in) located at The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), one of the most visited museums in the United States.

Lovis Corinth: Ostern am Walchensee

Public Domain Image: Ostern am Walchensee (translated English title: Easter at Walchensee), oil on canvas landscape painting (1922) by the German painter Lovis Corinth (1858-1925), dimensions 57 cm x 75 cm, located currently at Sammlung Berend-Corinth, New York.

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.

DOWNLOAD the original photo for free (1600×1200 pixels, 869 KB)

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: www.petaasiapacific.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Giant Sequoia near Yosemite National Park

Public Domain Photo: A Giant Sequoia tree found near the Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California, USA.

Sequoiadendron giganteum (generally known as giant sequoia, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, or Wellingtonia) is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, and one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods. The other two are Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood) and Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood). When only referred to as ‘sequoia’, it means Sequoiadendron giganteum, which grow naturally only in the groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, United States.

Samuel Daniell: Khoisan busy barbecuing grasshoppers

Public Domain Image: Khoisan busy barbecuing grasshoppers (1805), aqua tint by English painter Samuel Daniell (1775-1811), scan from Suid-Afrikaanse Geskiedenis in Beeld (1989) by Anthony Preston, Bion Books, printed in South Africa.

The aqua tint shows a Khoisan (Khoesaan, Khoesan or Khoe-San) family with the man busy barbecuing grasshoppers while his wife is looking on. The name Khoisan is for two ethnic groups of Southern Africa, who share physical and linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally the Khoisan people are divided into the pastoral Khoi and the foraging San.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

William Holmes Sullivan: Lady Godiva

Public Domain Image: Lady Godiva (1877), oil on cardboard painting by British painter William Holmes Sullivan, dimension 40 cm x 30 cm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

African Red Devil pepper - Capsicum frutescens

Public Domain Photo: African red devil pepper with ripe and unripe fruits

African Red Devil pepper (other names: Piri Piri, Pili Pili, Bird's Eye Chili, African Devil) is a cultivar of Capsicum frutescens that grows both in the wild and as a cultivated crop. The plants grow 45 to 120 cm tall, and the fruits measure up to 8 to 10 cm. Thai Chili peppers (aka phrik khi nu, siling labuyo, etc.) of the subspecies Capsicum frutescens L. are a similar and related variety commonly found in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. It can also be found in India (mainly in Kerala, known as Kanthari Mulagu) and rural Sri Lanka (known as Kochchi in Sinhalese).The name Bird's Eye Chili is also used for the North American Chiltepin pepper.

It is an extremely spicy member of the Capsicum genus, with its ‘heat’ measure up to 175,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units), while Bell Peppers rank at 0 SHU, New Mexico green chilies at about 1,500 SHU and Habaneros at 300,000 SHU. The record for the hottest chili pepper was assigned by Guinness World Records to the Naga Jolokia from India (also known as Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Chili, Nai Mirris, Cobra Chilli, etc), measuring over 1,000,000 SHU, while pure capsaicin (the substance that make chili peppers hot), measures only 16,000,000 SHU.

Photos of similar varieties are below:

Public Domain Photos: Peppers of the subspecies Capsicum frutescens L. variously known as Thai chili peppers, phrik khi nu, siling labuyo, Kanthari Mulagu, Kochchi, etc.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lotus Temple, the Bahá'í House of Worship in New Delhi

The Bahá'í House of Worship in New Delhi, India, popularly known as the Lotus Temple, was completed in 1986. It is constructed in the shape of a nine-sided lotus flower having 27 free-standing marble clad "petals". It has become one of the most visited buildings in India, attracting about 4.5 million visitors a year. The Lotus Temple is open to all persons regardless of their religion or any other distinctions.

The nine doors of the Lotus Temple open onto a central hall capable of housing up to 2,500 people. The hall is slightly more than 40 meters tall and its surface is made of white marble from Penteli mountain in Greece. The Lotus Temple, along with the nine surrounding ponds and the gardens around it comprise 26 acres (105,000 squire meters).

Public Domain photos of Lotus Temple: Click on the photos to download or view the large/ full resolution photos.

John Collier: The Sleeping Beauty

Public Domain Photo: The Sleeping Beauty(1921), oil on canvas painting by the pre-Raphaelite English writer and painter John Maler Collier (1850-1934), dimension 91 cm x 112 cm.

Paul Gauguin: In the Waves

PD Image: In the Waves (1889, aka ‘Dans les vagues, ou Ondine’, ‘En les onades, o Ondina’, and ‘Undine’), oil on canvas painting by French painter and writer Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), dimensions 92 x 72 cm (36.22 in x 28.35 in), located at The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH.

Paul Cézanne: Bathsheba 2

Public Domain Image: Bathsheba 2, oil painting on canvas painting by French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

US$500 Bill Portraying William McKinley

US$500 bill (not in use now), series: 1928 & 1934, with the portrait of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected to that office in 1896. McKinley was reelected in the 1900 presidential election, but was assassinated by an anarchist Leon F. Czolgosz in 1901.

Assassination of President William McKinley

“Delivering the address - President's Day" depicts an address by United States President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on the day before his assassination. McKinley stands hatless, wearing a tuxedo, holding speech notes in his left hand. Source: The United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.

The LAST PHOTOGRAPH of the late President William McKinley, taken as he was ascending the steps of the Temple of Music on September 6, 1901. Source: E. Benjamin Andrews’s ‘History of the United States’, volume V, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1912.

Assassination of 25th President of the United States William McKinley, Jr. (January 29, 1843 -September 14, 1901) - Leon F. Czolgosz shoots McKinley with a concealed revolver at the Pan-American Exposition (in Buffalo, New York) reception on September 6, 1901 (photography of wash drawing by T Dart Walker published in 1905). Source: The United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.

Photo of Leon F. Czolgosz found among his personal effects, photography (1900) by an unknown photographer. Born on May 5, 1873 in Alpena, Michigan, USA, Czolgosz was Steel worker and an Anarchist who was charged with First-Degree Murder, convicted for Death Penalty and executed by electric chair on October 29, 1901 at the aged of 28.

Reproduction of the first photograph of Leon F. Czolgosz in jail, illustrated in Frank Leslie's weekly, McKinley extra, 1901 September 9, cover. Source: The United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.

The above photos/ images are in the Public Domain. There are no copyright restrictions. You can use the photos for publication in your websites, blogs, on printed publications or wherever you want to use them in the right context. Click on the photos for the original dimensions/ sizes and download them.

Peter Paul Rubens: Venus and Adonis

Public Domain Image: Venus and Adonis, oil on canvas painting by Flemish Baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), dimensions 194 cm x 236 cm, located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image dimensions: 2536×2030 pixels, size: 582 KB

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peperoni pizza

Public Domain Photo: Photo of Peperoni pizza or pizza with peppers - photo dimension: 1024×768 pixels, size: 129 KB

The Great Mosque of Touba, Senegal

Public Domain Photo: The Great Mosque of Touba, Senegal

The Great Mosque of Touba is located at the heart of the Mouride holy city of Touba in central Senegal. The Great Mosque, the place where Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke, the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, lies buried, is purported to be one of the largest in Africa. The Mouride Brotherhood is a large Islamic Sufi order most prominent in Senegal and The Gambia, with headquarters in the holy city of Touba.

Completed in 1963, the mosque has five minarets and three large domes. The mosque's 87-metre (285 ft) high central minaret, called Lamp Fall, is one of Senegal's most famous monuments. The name Lamp Fall is in reference to Sheikh Ibrahima Fall, one of Bamba's most influential disciples. The Mosque is open only to Muslims.

Al-Masjid al-Ḥaram, The Sacred Mosque in Mecca

Public Domain Photo: Modern buildings rise over Al-Masjid al-Ḥaram, photo by Meshal Obeidallah, Al Qassim Province, Saudi Arabia, taken on May 23, 2006, photo dimension: 1600x1200 pixels, size 366 KB.

Al-Masjid al-Ḥaram (The Sacred Mosque), located in the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is Islam's holiest place and the largest mosque in the world. The mosque surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while offering their daily prayers. Also known as the Grand Mosque, it can accommodate up to four million Muslim worshipers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world.