Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dhows traversing the Nile River

PD Photo: A dhow in the Nile River, Zamalek, a district of Cairo encompassing an island on the Nile River.

PD Photo: A dhow (boat) traverses the Nile River near Aswan (or Aswanl, formerly spelled Assuan), the capital of the Aswan Governorate, in the south of Egypt.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Giovanni Lanfranco: Mary Magdalene Raised by Angels

PD Photo: Mary Magdalene Raised by Angels (1616), oil on canvas painting by Italian Baroque period painter Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647), dimensions 109 cm x 78 cm, located at Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy.

Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer

PD Photo: Sculpture of Lord Shiva as Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, in the Botanical Garden managed by the Polish Academy of Sciences at Powsin, a neighborhood of the Wilanów district of Warsaw, Poland, photo by Albert Stanisław Jankowski, Poland.

Seated Ganesha, schist sculpture

PD Photo: Seated Ganesha, 1200-1300, originally from Karnataka State of India, sculpted from schist (a medium-grade metamorphic rock) currently located in Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in San Francisco, California, United States.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paul Cézanne - The Bathers #4

PD Image: The Bathers #4 by Paul Cézanne, oil on canvas painting

French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is credited for laying the foundations of the transition from the 19th century style of art to a radically different form. He experimented with different optical images an object can present to the viewer. Also he tried to view every object in geometrical shapes such as cylinders, spears, etc. His direct observations from nature were transferred to the canvas as bold, but small brush strokes using different lighting conditions and vibrant colors, often giving the impression of coarse, immature paintings. And, possibly as experimenting with such themes, he painted some themes repeatedly, but giving a fresh and energizing impression each time. For instance, his ‘bathers’ series of paintings are numerous, but they are never monotonous or boring, and each one of them gave a new meaning to his art.

Also Cezanne is credited as being a bridge between Impressionism and the early 20th century's Cubism, as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso would vouch for. Also, Cézanne's work and themes of geometric simplification and optical phenomena inspired emerging artists of the times such as Picasso, Juan Gris, Georges Braque and others making them experimenting with more complex and multiple views of the same subject, and even fracturing of form. And this artistic enquiry and experimentation contributed greatly to the evolution of modern art.

Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai

PD Photo: Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, photo by Ivan Dubya, taken on December 20, 2007.

PD Photo: Burj Al Arab seen at a distance from a tower room of Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, photo by Christopher T Cooper taken on 21 September 2009.

Burj Al Arab, a super-luxury hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is an unusual and unique hotel as it is constructed on an artificial island at a distance of 280 meters (920 feet) from the Jumeirah beach, and it is structured in the shape of the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. The manmade island is connected to the mainland by a private bridge.

One of the most photographed buildings in the world, and soaring to a height of 321 meters, the Burj Al Arab is currently the world's second tallest hotel (the building is exclusively used as a hotel), the tallest such hotel being Dubai’s Rose Tower (333 m/ 1,092 feet). It will be the fourth tallest hotel in the world, when Emirates Park Tower 1 (376 m/ 1,234 ft) and Emirates Park Tower 2 (376 m/ 1,234 ft), both in Dubai, are opened (scheduled for 2010 opening).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sculpture of Hanuman in Terracotta

PD Photo: A terracotta sculpture of the Hindu God Hanuman in India; the reddish color is due to iron oxide in the source clay of the ceramic, and clays with low iron content can result in paler colors on firing and processing terra cotta, ranging from white to yellow.

Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre: The Temptation of Eve

PD Photo: The Temptation of Eve, 18th century oil on canvas painting by French painter Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (1714-1789), dimensions 48.8 cm x 57.8 cm (19.21 in x 22.76 in) held in private collection.

The Taj Lake Palace

PD Photos: The Taj Lake Palace, a luxury hotel located on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur.

The Taj Lake Palace, formerly known as Jag Niwas Palace, is an unusual, unique luxury hotel of 83 rooms and suites, located on the Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India. It looks like a floating, huge palace in the middle of the lake.

The palace was built in the period 1743-46 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, the 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar, for use as his royal summer palace. The successive rulers also used the Lake Palace as their summer resort, holding their regal Durbars in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens.

The palace is set against the backdrop of the majestic Aravalli Mountains on one side of the lake and lofty palaces on the other side. Built in marble, the walls are ornamented with arabesques of different colored stones as in the Taj Mahal at Agra.

During the reign of Bhopal Singh (1930-55) another pavilion, Chandra Prakash, was added. His successor Bhagwat Singh decided to convert the palace into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel.

In 1971, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces (collective name for The Indian Hotels Company Limited and its subsidiaries owned by the Tata Group) took over management of the hotel. The Royal Butlers, the descendants of the original palace butlers, look after the comforts of the hotel guests.

The Lake Palace was featured in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, as the floating palace of the fabulously wealthy woman Octopussy, played by Bond girl Maud Adams.

Poseidon Undersea Resort

YouTube Video: Poseidon undersea resort. NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN, but to grab a link of this video for your site or blog, click on the video and go to its YouTube page, or CLICK HERE.

The Poseidon Undersea Resorts, a proposed chain of underwater five-star resorts, will have first of the resorts on a private island in Fiji. It will be the first underwater hotel/ resort in the world once construction is completed. Poseidon was conceived and developed by L. Bruce Jones, president of U.S. Submarines, Inc. and financed by TOPA equities Corp.

The Poseidon underwater resort will be linked to land through two tunnels. The resort will feature an underwater restaurant, a lounge, 20 luxury suites, one themed suite, a grand suite, and an undersea bungalow accessible by submarine. It will also have an onshore facility with five-star hotel amenities.

Each of the rooms will have 270 degree view of the ocean. Each end of the resort will be composed of a 3,000-square-foot (280 sq meters), Frisbee shaped underwater pod. One of these pods will have an underwater restaurant and bar and the other will have a library, conference room, wedding chapel, spa and a 1,200-square-foot (110 sq meters) luxury suite. The resort will be accessed through elevators.

Reservations at the resort is expected to cost $30,000 per couple per week, and will include four nights in a luxury beach or over-water villa and two nights in the luxury underwater suite. The resort also offers a variety of land and sea activities such as golf and diving onboard a luxury expedition submarine.

Trisha Yearwood performs at USO Gala in Washington D.C.

PD Photo: American Country Music singer and actress Trisha Yearwood performs at the USO Gala in Washington, D.C., USA, on October 7, 2010 - DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkins from Hancock Shaker Village

PD Photo: Pumpkins from Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts, USA.

The Winchester Mystery House

PD Photos: Winchester House which was under construction, nonstop, round-the-clock, from 1884 until the death of the owner Sarah Winchester on September 5, 1922.

The Winchester Mystery House, located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California, was under continuous construction for 38 years, and it is reported to be haunted. It was the residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester.

The Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion was built without any master building plan. Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles.

After the deaths of her daughter and later her husband, Sarah Winchester consulted a medium (psychic) who told her that she must build a house and never cease building it; otherwise the spirits that killed her family members would kill her too. So, she began the construction of the mystery house full of twists, turns, and dead ends, so that the spirits would get lost and never be able to find her.

The Winchester Mystery House has about 160 rooms - 40 bedrooms, two ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000 window panes, 17 chimneys, two basements and three elevators. Initially built on an estate of 162 acres (650,000 sq meters), now the property is only 4.5 acres (24,000 sq meters). The house has gold and silver chandeliers and hand inlaid parquet floors and trim. There are doors and stairways that lead nowhere.

The number 13 and spider web motifs reappear around the house. An expensive imported chandelier with 12 candle-holders was altered to accommodate 13 candles, wall clothes hooks are in multiples of 13, and a spider web-patterned stained glass window contains 13 colored stones, and sink drain covers have 13 holes in each. The house's current groundskeepers have created a topiary tree shaped like the number 13. On every Friday the 13th, the large bell on the property is rung 13 times at 1 P.M. (13:00) in tribute to Sarah Winchester.

The Winchester Mystery House has a floating foundation that is believed to have saved it from total collapse in both the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (the gravest natural disaster in California's history that killed about 3,000 people) and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (that killed 63 people, injured 3,757, flattened buildings and left thousands of people homeless).

The Winchester Mystery House is popular tourist destination, especially for people believing in haunted houses, bad luck due to number 13 and Friday the 13th. Several arranged tours of the house are available, including flashlight tours at night on dates around Halloween and each Friday the 13th.