The penal colony of Cayenne, commonly known as Devil’s Island (Île du Diable), was a French penal colony that operated in the 19th and 20th century in the Salvation’s Islands of French Guiana. Opened in 1852, the Devil’s Island system received convicts deported from all parts of the Second French Empire, and was infamous for its harsh treatment of detainees, with a death rate of 75% at their worst, until it was closed down in 1953. Devil’s Island was notorious for being used for the internal exile of French political prisoners, with the most famous being Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
Moray is an archaeological site in Peru approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Cuzco on a high plateau at about 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has an irrigation system.
The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15°C (27°F) between the top and the bottom.
It is thought that the terraces allowed experimentation with different types of crops.
The painting at the heart of this week’s contest has NO free licenses available. “Christina’s World” is owned by MOMA, who is known to track down those who post it without permission/paying with cease and desist files, a drama your humble contest organizer here simply does not need in his life.
The young lady in the painting seen crawling in the field is often referred to as having been a polio victim, but according to a source no less than Wikipedia, was actually probably afflicted with the disease mentioned in the hint, aka “Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease”.
The house has been restored to match the painting and you can visit it.
Those who found this place included:
Martin de Bock
Rob de Wolff
and after the hint:
And thus ends the 561-570 series (forever known from now on as “The Famous Painting Series”). Hearty congratulations to our winners: Phil Ower, Abcdefg Hijkl, and hhgygy, all with 19 points (Dibble House proved too hard for everyone but Walter_V_R, who gets an honorable mention).
And be sure to stop by and pick up the newest Google Earth KMZ file, now with the locations of the last 10 locations included here.
In 1472, the Trebbia river flooded, partially destroying a bridge at the northern Italian town of Bobbio.
Art Historian Carla Glori is convinced that minute details included by Leonardo da Vinci in the background of the Mona Lisa are a reference to that event, and therefore the mysterious background, including a bridge that resembles Pointe Gobbo, is Bobbio.
Now, of course, there are many, many other theories of the location of the painting, including that it was all in The Master’s head, but I liked this one because it made for a good contest!!
This week’s contest takes us to Norway to visit the location that inspired Edvard Munch to create his most iconic work.
Known popularly and collectively as “The Scream”, Munch actually titled his work “Der Schrei der Natur”, German for “The Scream of Nature”. He produced 4 versions of the image, 2 in paint and 2 in pastel, between 1893 and 1910. He also did about 45 monochrome lithographs in 1895. You can see all of them in the gallery in the Wikipedia entry
That page full is of theories and conjectures on Munch’s inspiration and process but it also includes 2 very similar quotes from the painter — this one from is from his contemporary diary:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature
Those stood there trembling with anxiety:
And those who walked on and found this place after the hint:
As most people know, Vincent Van Gogh was a tortured individual. By the winter of 1888, had developed what he thought was a mutually beneficial professional relationship with fellow painter Paul Gauguin. Gauguin thought himself a superior artist and was also under the impression that the Van Gogh brothers were trying to exploit the wealthier man. A series of arguments and perceived slights by Gauguin to Vincent had caused Van Gogh to be more and more unstable mentally, which exploded in madness in December of 1888.
On that cold winter night in a hotel in Arles, Vincent Van Gogh used a razor to cut off his left ear. He packaged the severed ear and delivered it to his favorite prostitute (this is often mistakenly thought of that he cut off the ear for unrequited love for the prostitute). He was treated by local physician Félix Rey and to show his gratitude, Van Gogh painted Dr. Rey and gave the painting to the subject. Dr. Rey didn’t particularly care for it, and he used it to fix a hole in his chicken coop before giving the canvas away. In 2016 that painting is lovingly maintained at a Moscow museum and is valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000,000.
But I digress.
Vincent was encouraged by his brother Theo and others to seek help for his mental issues. He acquiesced and entered the St. Paul-de-Mausole asylum in May, 1889. From his cell in the in the hospital, he looked out his window and created this masterpiece:
If you are as Van Gogh obsessed as I am, I heartily recommend two interesting takes on the end of his life. The first is the wonderful novel “Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art” by Christopher Moore. Moore is a completely irreverent author who sets off with a pair of investigators that includes Henri Toulouse-Lautrec as they try to find the truth behind his supposed “suicide”.
The second is a magnificent film from last year titled “Loving Vincent”. This film was entirely hand painted in the mode of Van Gogh. The imagery is stunning.
This house was built in 1881 by Charles A. Dibble.
In 1930, artist Grant Wood was being driven around Eldon and they passed the house, now owned by Gideon and Mary Hart Jones. Wood was fascinated by the image of a Gothic-style window in what he felt was a fairly cheaply framed house, and he decided to use it in the background of a painting, along with “the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.” He did not choose the owners, the Jones, but, instead modeled the couple on his dentist and his sister. It is not, by the way, supposed to be a couple, but a father and daughter.
The painting was not initially well received. It was awarded a bronze medal at an art contest in Chicago and Wood won a whopping $300. With the onset of the worst part of the global depression of the 1930’s, the painting became seen as a celebration of rural America and the strength of its people. Some have postulated that the painting is funereal, given the closed curtains combined with the fact that the woman is wearing a black dress under her apron and appearance that she is holding back tears, but Wood, who died in 1942, never gave any hints to this nature of his work.
We had one player who figured out that this is the start of a small series:
Once upon a time, your humble contest admin here had the experience of standing in the presence of Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”.
I was 21 at the time, home on Christmas break from college, and woefully uneducated in appreciation of art, but the Philips Collection was on tour and this amazing painting somehow ended up on exhibit for a couple of weeks at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. My best friend’s big brother, who we all looked up to, convinced a small group of us to go to the show.
Most of the paintings there were interesting, but not anything to hold a young man’s attention. Then I turned the corner and saw this massive canvas. I was completely transfixed, transported into the scene. You could almost smell the smoke from the cigarette in Gustave Caillebotte’s (sitting backwards in his chair) hand. If you’ve never seen the painting in person, you wouldn’t know that his cigarette has a bright tiny red dot of paint for the “cherry”, a fact I’ve never been able to see in any photographs or prints of the painting. In person, this minuscule bit of red draws your eye directly to it. It becomes the launch point from which you experience the rest of the painting, adding a 4th dimension of time into the viewing. I’ve been a huge fan of Renoir and the other impressionists, as well as art in general, ever since this experience.
If you ever find yourself in Washington DC, I HIGHLY recommend a trip to the Phillips Collection to see this for yourself. I hope your experience is as life-affirming as it was for me all those years ago.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a brash young handsome Lieutenant, Junior Grade, in the Navy in 1943. He had used his father’s connections to rise quickly in the Navy and was offered command of a small “Patrol Torpedo” (or “PT”) boat with a crew of 11 sailors and another officer, Ensign Leonard J. Thom. The designation on that boat was “PT-109”
On August 2, 1943, while engaged in a large battle against Japanese forces in the area, PT-109 was run over and cut in half by a destroyer named Amagiri.
2 of Kennedy’s crew died immediately. The other 11, many severely wounded, clung to life aboard the remains of the boat. As the wreckage began to sink, the crew had to make the decision to swim about 3.5 miles (a little over 5 km) to this island, then known by non-islanders as “Plum Pudding Island”. One of the sailors, Machinist’s Mate Patrick McMahon, was so badly burned that he couldn’t swim himself. Kennedy, who was also injured, dragged McMahon attached to a life jacket strap clenched between the future president’s teeth — for 3 and a half miles. Two days later, the crew swam to nearby Olesana island and 4 days after that, with the help of a couple of native scouts and a message scratched out on a coconut, all were rescued.
JFK’s bravery and leadership on this mission were used extensively in his campaigns for the US House, the Senate, and later the presidency.
Those who found this rather tough site before the hint included: