art

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Artful Observation
One day a guest in Sir Godfrey Kneller's home remarked upon a full-length portrait of the artist's wife, the bottom of which had been damaged by scratch marks. These, Kneller explained, had been made by her little lapdog, which often pawed at the painted skirt, asking to be taken up into his owner's arms. The visitor was reminded of the story of Zeuxis, who was reputed to have painted a bunch of grapes (upon a boy's head) so realistically that birds had come to peck at them. Kneller himself questioned the legend: "If the boy had been painted as well as the grapes," he wisely remarked, "the birds would have been afraid to meddle with them."
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Marcus Harvey restores an artwork
At the notorious "Sensation" exhibition in 1997, Marcus Harvey's controversial painting "Myra" (an enormous monochrome version of child-killer Myra Hindley's face made up of hundreds of tiny handprints) was attacked by protesters with eggs and ink. In a bid to salvage the work, the experts were called in. "At the time all the restorers who were consulted said it was beyond repair," a gallery spokesman later recalled. The artists's solution? "Harvey decided to do it himself, using Ajax."
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When Wilson Mizner Sold The Last Supper
Playwright Wilson Mizner was once married to Myra Moore Yerkes, an enormously wealthy woman who happened to own a multi-million-dollar art collection. One day Mizner, in desperate need of cash, pulled a depiction of The Last Supper from the living-room wall and sold it.  His wife, understandably irate, demanded to know what had happened to the masterpiece. "Some masterpiece," Mizner snorted. "I only got fifty bucks a plate!"  [A similar story is told of Joey Frisco.]
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arles, france
Christian Lacroix & Vincent Van Gogh's Arlesian Colors
Vincent Van Gogh, who was born in the Netherlands but lived much of his life in Arles, painted the city in vibrant tones: violet, cobalt, gold, and chartreuse. The designer Christian Lacroix, who was born in Arles in 1951 and recalled "the funereal blue" of its cypress trees and its "sky baked white," was struck one day by Van Gogh's imagination. "It's not so much Arles that gave its colors to van Gogh," he mused, "but van Gogh who gave Arles its colors."
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Cosmo Gordon Lang - Unhappy With A Portrait
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, once commissioned a portrait from the celebrated artist William Orpen. Some time later, Lang, unhappy with his depiction, sought the advice of Hensley Henson, the bishop of Durham. "I fear it portrays me as proud, arrogant, and worldly," he explained.  "And to which of the three," the bishop replied, "does Your Grace take exception?"
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Cromwell Road, London
Victoria and Albert Museum - Stone Figleaf
The Greeks and Japanese rendered [penises] on statues that stood at street corners... Yet the penis has also been shamed into hiding through the ages. One night in 415BC, Athens's street-corner statues were dismembered en masse. Stone penises were still causing anxiety in the late 20th century, when the Victoria and Albert Museum in London pulled out of storage a stone figleaf in case a member of the royal family wanted to see its 18-foot (5.5-metre) replica of Michelangelo's "David".
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When Auguste Rodin Completed A Perfect Statue
"When sculptor Auguste Rodin was reaching the end of his long and brilliant life," Cyril Smith recalls in Duet For Three Hands, "a friend came to his studio and found him weeping over a statue he had just completed. The visitor was at a loss to understand the old man's grief and looking at the statue remarked, 'But it's perfect.'  "'I think so too, and that is why I am weeping,' Rodin replied. He had come to the moment of truth, the realization that he had gone as far as his imagination and craftsmanship could take him." 
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While visiting the sculptor Jacob Epstein in his studio one day, George Betnard Shaw noticed a giant block of stone resting in a corner and asked the sculptor what it was for. "I don't know yet," he remarked. "I'm still making plans." "You mean you actually plan your work?" Shaw said, astounded. "Why, I change my mind several times a day!" "That's all very well with a four-ounce manuscript," Epstein replied, "but not with a four-ton block." [The signature dish of Betty May (the cocaine-addicted model ofsculptor Jacob Epstein)? Grilled mouse on toast.]
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The sculptor Lorado Taft left the Art Institute of Chicago one windy day and found himself walking on the opposite side of the street from a pair of nuns whose wind-blown robes offered the perfect model for an effect he had been hoping to create in a classical sculpture upon which he was working. Having observed the nuns for some time, Taft noticed that another strange man was also closely following the pair. His suspicions raised, he crossed the street to accost the man—and found himself face to face with a fellow sculptor!
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How Henry Moore's Mother Inspired His Art
When sculptor Henry Moore's mother developed a painful case of sciatica, her dutiful son took to rubbing her hip to ease the discomfort. Years later, Moore remarked that nearly all of his sculpture was fundamentally about his mother's hip.