Sunday, June 30, 2019

Bactrian camel

Bactrian camel, Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt, Frankfurt Zoological Garden, Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee, Frankfurt

Bactrian camel
Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt (Frankfurt Zoological Garden)
Frankfurt, October 2002

“The Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), also known as the Mongolian camel or domestic Bactrian camel, is a large even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. It has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel. Its population of two million exists mainly in the domesticated form. Their name comes from the ancient historical region of Bactria. Domesticated Bactrian camels have served as pack animals in inner Asia since ancient times. With its tolerance for cold, drought, and high altitudes, it enabled the travel of caravans on the Silk Road. Bactrian camels, whether domesticated or feral, are a separate species from the wild Bactrian camel, which is the only truly wild (as opposed to feral) species of camel in the world.” (Bactrian camel, Wikipedia)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Via dei Brunelleschi

Detail of the facade, Palazzo Pola e Todescan, Via dei Brunelleschi, Florence

Detail of the facade
Palazzo Pola e Todescan, 1903
Via dei Brunelleschi
Florence, December 2009

“The Palazzo Pola e Todescan is a building in central Florence, Italy. The palazzo was completed in 1903. It is in the Art Nouveau style and was designed by architect Giuseppe Paciarelli. The building was initially built as residence for Counts of Pola. It housed the Florence branch of Pola & Todescan, a store selling clothing made in Britain. As of 2015, it is occupied by a bank.” (Palazzo Pola e Todescan, Wikipedia)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Above the Below

David Blaine's Above the Below, Potters Fields Park, Southwark, London

David Blaine's “Above the Below”
Potters Fields Park
London, September 2003

“On September 5, 2003, Blaine began an endurance stunt in which he was sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case. The case was suspended 30 feet (9.1 metres) in the air next to Potters Fields Park on the south bank of the River Thames in London, and measured 3 feet (0.9 metres) by 7 feet (2.1 metres) by 7 feet (2.1 metres). A webcam was installed inside the case so that viewers could observe his progress. The stunt lasted 44 days, during which Blaine drank 1.2 US gallons (4.5 litres) of water per day and did not eat. The stunt was the subject of public interest and media attention, The Times reported that ‘1,614 articles in the British press have made reference to the exploit.’ Then-US president George W. Bush referred to Blaine's stunt in a speech at the Whitehall Palace in London, saying, ‘The last noted American to visit London stayed in a glass box dangling over the Thames. A few might have been happy to provide similar arrangements for me.’ A number of spectators threw food and other items towards the box, including eggs, paint-filled balloons and golf balls, according to The Times. A hamburger was flown up to the box by a remote-controlled helicopter as a taunt. The Evening Standard reported that one man was arrested for attempting to cut the cable supplying water to Blaine's box.” (David Blaine, Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thomas Couture

Grave of Thomas Couture, Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Quartier du Père-Lachaise, 20th arrondissement, Paris

Grave of Thomas Couture (1815-1879)
Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, (Père Lachaise Cemetery)
Quartier du Père-Lachaise, 20th arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

“Thomas Couture (21 December 1815 – 30 March 1879) was a French history painter and teacher. He taught such later luminaries of the art world as Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, and J-N Sylvestre. Couture was born at Senlis, Oise, France. When he was 11 his family moved to Paris, where he would study at the industrial arts school (École des Arts et Métiers) and later at the École des Beaux-Arts. He failed the prestigious Prix de Rome competition at the École six times, but he felt the problem was with the École, not himself. Couture finally did win the prize in 1837. In 1840 he began exhibiting historical and genre pictures at the Paris Salon, earning several medals for his works, in particular for his masterpiece, Romans During the Decadence (1847). Shortly after this success, Couture opened an independent atelier meant to challenge the École des Beaux-Arts by turning out the best new history painters. Couture's innovative technique gained much attention, and he received Government and Church commissions for murals during the late 1840s through the 1850s. He never completed the first two commissions, and the third met with mixed criticism. Upset by the unfavorable reception of his murals, in 1860 he left Paris, for a time returning to his hometown of Senlis, where he continued to teach young artists who came to him. In 1867 he thumbed his nose at the academic establishment by publishing a book on his own ideas and working methods called Méthode et entretiens d'atelier (Method and Workshop Interviews). It was also translated to Conversations on Art Methods in 1879, the year he died. Asked by a publisher to write an autobiography, Couture responded: ‘Biography is the exaltation of personality—and personality is the scourge of our time.’ In 1879 he died at Villiers-le-Bel, Val-d'Oise, and was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.” (Thomas Couture, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Villa Aldobrandini

Villa Aldobrandini Park, Via Nazionale, Via Mazzarino, Rome

Villa Aldobrandini Park
Via Nazionale / Via Mazzarino
Rome, May 2019

“You might not be able to easily see the entrance to the park but that small elevation comes with the added bonus of great views once you do stumble upon the old gardens. The park can be found between Via Panisperna and Via Nazionale, with the only accessible entrance on a side street- Via Mazzarino. The villa takes its name from Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, who received it from his uncle Pope Clement VIII in 1601. The grounds were actually once much larger and stretched all the way to the Quirinale Palace. The villa was cut short and its gardens remodeled when Termini Station was built in the 19th century. The land was given over to make way for Via Nazionale to connect the train station to Piazza Venezia. The garden still retains its original layout but this is one of those sites in Rome where I just want to shake the city government! The park could be so beautiful but it is instead largely abandoned and left to its own scraggly devices. There are plenty of statues (replicas, in fact) without heads. There are also shady areas and lots of benches to take a break. Unfortunately, the once splendid botanical gardens are now fairly unkempt. You will still find pomegranate and other trees if you keep your eyes peeled. But the best part of Villa Aldobrandini is the view.” (Villa Aldobrandini Park, An American in Rome)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

25 de Abril Bridge

25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon

25 de Abril Bridge
Lisbon, April 2019

“The 25 de Abril Bridge is a suspension bridge connecting the city of Lisbon, capital of Portugal, to the municipality of Almada on the left (south) bank of the Tagus river. It was inaugurated on August 6, 1966. It is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, US, because they are both suspension bridges of similar color. It was built by the American Bridge Company which constructed the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, but not the Golden Gate. With a total length of 2,277 metres (7,470 ft), it is the 40th largest suspension bridge in the world. The upper deck carries six car lanes, while the lower deck carries a double track railway electrified at 25 kV AC; the train platform was added in 1999. From 1966–1974, the bridge was named Salazar Bridge (Ponte Salazar) in honor of Portuguese Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, who ordered its construction. After the Carnation Revolution which overthrew the remnants of Salazar's dictatorship, the bridge was renamed for April 25, the date of the revolution. It is also sometimes called the Tagus River Bridge or in Portuguese Ponte sobre o Tejo (bridge over the Tagus).” (25 de Abril Bridge, Wikipedia)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Bockenheimer Warte

Bockenheimer Warte, Watch tower, Bockenheimer Landstraße, Frankfurt

Bockenheimer Warte (Watch tower), 1435
Bockenheimer Landstraße
Frankfurt, October 2002