Thursday, January 31, 2013

Frederick William IV of Prussia

Equestrian statue of Frederick William IV of Prussia by Alexander Calandrelli, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
An equestrian statue of Frederick William IV of Prussia by Alexander Calandrelli, 1886
Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)
Museumsinsel (Museum Island)
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Alte Nationalgalerie

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aldgate Pump

Detail of the wolf head on the Aldgate Pump, Aldgate High Street, City of London
Detail of the wolf head on the Aldgate Pump
Aldgate High Street / Fenchurch Street / Leadenhall Street
City of London, London, October 2009

“Served by one of London's many underground streams, people began to complain about the ‘funny’ taste of the water. Upon investigation, this was found to be caused by the leaching of calcium from the bones of the dead in many new cemeteries in north London through which the stream ran. In 1876, the New River Company changed the supplies to mains water. The wolf head on the pump is supposed to signify the last wolf shot in the City of London.”
(Aldgate Pump, Wikipedia)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Le Botteleur

Le Botteleur (The hay-trusser) by Jacques Perrin, 1888
Square Maurice-Gardette, 11e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

(thanks to cieldequimper for the translation of the title)

“In days of yore before mechanical balers were designed hay was stored not in stacks of compressed bales but loose in traditional haystacks. The hay became compressed by its own weight during storage and the workers feet as they purposely stamped it down to consolidate the stack as they built it. When the stack was opened for use the hay was cut out with long spade like hay knives into blocks or trusses, of a particular weight and originally tied up - 'trussed' with twisted hay ropes hand made at the time for transport and distribution.”
(What's a Hay Trusser, Stephen John Edwards)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Police Boat

Police boat, Canale di Cannaregio, Cannaregio
Venice, October 2011

“Be aware of petty crime like pickpocketing on the crowded vaporetti, particularly the tourist routes, where passengers are more intent on the passing scenery than on watching their bags. Venice's deserted back streets were once virtually crime-proof; occasional tales of theft are circulating only recently. Generally speaking, it's one of Italy's safest cities.”
(Crime, Frommer's Venice)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Alex Oase

Seating outdoor, Alex Oase, Alexanderplatz, Berlin
Outdoor seating, Alex Oase, Alexanderplatz
Berlin, September 2011

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Rhinoceros on a panel of the doors, Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), Pisa
Rhinoceros on a panel of the bronze west doors of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles)
Pisa, January 2013

(dedicated to tapirgal)

See also: Piazza dei Miracoli - Leaning Tower - Santa Maria Assunta - Cathedral's Pulpit - Battistero di San Giovanni - La Fontana dei Putti

“Nuremberg, where Dürer lived, was a great commercial centre and home to the earliest printing shops and publishers. By 1515, when he made this print, Dürer himself was the master printmaker of the age, and so he was ideally placed to convert his rhino into a highly profitable print. Using wood-block allowed him to print around four to five thousand copies of this image during his lifetime, and nobody knows how many millions have sold in other forms since. This image stuck. In works of natural history, above all, Dürer's rhino turned out to be unshiftable, even when more accurate depictions of the animal were available. In the seventeenth century, copies of this print could be seen on the doors of Pisa Cathedral and in a church fresco in Colombia in South America. It's appeared on ceramics everywhere from Meissen to Liverpool, and it's now a popular T-shirt and a fridge magnet.”
(Dürer's Rhinoceros, A History of the World, BBC)

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Telescope

Shiny telescope on the Arc de Triomphe, place Charles de Gaulle, former place de l'Étoile, Paris,
A shiny telescope on the Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch)
Place Charles de Gaulle (former Place de l'Étoile)
Paris, July 2011

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Il Gobbo di Rialto

Il Gobbo di Rialto, The Hunchback of the Rialto, Venice
Il Gobbo di Rialto (The Hunchback of Rialto) by Pietro da Salò
Campo San Giacomo, San Polo
Venice, September 2012

See also: San Giacomo di Rialto

“There is a statue known as the ‘Gobbo di Rialto’ (Hunchback of Rialto) at the edge of Campo San Giacomo, the square with the church. In the 16th Century it was customary for perpetrators of minor crimes to be forced to run between people with sticks from St. Mark's Square to Campo San Giacomo: the view of the Hunchback was a great relief for them, as it marked the end and goal of this perhaps cruel, but certainly effective punishment.”
(Venice ant its Lagoon, World Heritage)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Albrecht von Graefe

Memorial to Albrecht von Graefe by Rudolf Siemering, Schumannstraße and Luisenstraße, Berlin
Memorial to Albrecht von Graefe by Rudolf Siemering, 1882
Schumannstraße / Luisenstraße
Berlin, September 2011

“This theatrical monument to the memory of great German ophthalmologist Albrecht von Graefe can be admired on the Charité-Medical University terrain (in Berlin), at the corner between Schumann- and Luisenstrasse. The initiative for the monument came in 1872, two years after von Graefe's death, and was supported by physicians and ophthalmologists of several countries. Also Rudolf Virchow was involved in the committee. The inauguration of the Graefe-monument, masterpiece of the sculptor Rudolf Siemering, took place in 1882. In the monument, von Graefe keeps in his right hand an ophthalmoscope, as a memory of the fact that he ‘was among the first ophthalomologists who regularly used the ophthalmoscope of Hermann von Helmholtz for the diagnosis of the fundus oculi when going on their ward rounds’.”
(Albrecht von Graefe monument at the ‘Charité’, History of Medicine Topographical Database)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

St Helen's Bishopsgate

St Helen's Bishopsgate, off Bishopsgate
City of London, London, October 2009

“St. Helen's was one of only a few City churches to survive both the Great Fire of London of 1666 and the Blitz during World War II. In 1992 and 1993, however, the church was badly damaged by two IRA bombs that were set off nearby. The roof of the building was lifted and one of the City's largest medieval stained glass windows was shattered. The church has since been fully restored although many of the older monuments within it were entirely destroyed. Architect Quinlan Terry, an enthusiast of Georgian architecture, designed the restoration along Reformation lines.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Le temps des cerises

Le Temps des cerises, rue de la Cerisaie, Marais, Paris
“Le temps des cerises” (The Time of Cherries) restaurant
Rue de la Cerisaie, Le Marais, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Le temps des cerises is a song written in France in 1866, with words by Jean-Baptiste Clément and music by Antoine Renard. The song is strongly associated with the Paris Commune. It is believed to be dedicated by the writer to a nurse who was killed in the Semaine Sanglante (Bloody Week) when French government troops overthrew the commune.”

Le temps des cerises

Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises
Et gai rossignol et merle moqueur
Seront tous en fête
Les belles auront la folie en tête
Et les amoureux du soleil au cœur
Quand nous chanterons le temps des cerises
Sifflera bien mieux le merle moqueur

Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Où l'on s'en va deux cueillir en rêvant
Des pendants d'oreille...
Cerises d'amour aux robes pareilles
Tombant sous la feuille en gouttes de sang...
Mais il est bien court le temps des cerises
Pendants de corail qu'on cueille en rêvant!

Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises
Si vous avez peur des chagrins d'amour
Évitez les belles!
Moi qui ne crains pas les peines cruelles
Je ne vivrai pas sans souffrir un jour...
Quand vous en serez au temps des cerises
Vous aurez aussi des chagrins (peines) d'amour!

J'aimerai toujours le temps des cerises
C'est de ce temps-là que je garde au cœur
Une plaie ouverte!
Et Dame Fortune, en m'étant offerte
Ne pourra jamais calmer(fermer) ma douleur...
J'aimerai toujours le temps des cerises
Et le souvenir que je garde au cœur!
The Time of Cherries

When we will sing the time of cherries
And gay nightingale, and mocking blackbird
Will all be celebrating!
The beauties will have folly in the head
And lovers have sun in the heart.
When we will sing the time of cherries,
He will better whistle, the mocking blackbird.

But it is rather short, the time of cherries,
When we go together dreamily picking
Pendant earrings,
Cherries of love, similar to the robes,
Falling under the leaves like drops of blood.
But it is rather short, the time of cherries,
Coral earrings we pick in a dream.

When we will be in the time of cherries,
If you are afraid of love's sorrows,
Avoid the beauties!
Me, who do not fear cruel pains,
I will not live without suffering one day.
When you will be in the time of cherries,
You too will know love's sorrows.

I will always love the time of cherries !
It is from this time that I have to the heart
An open wound.
And Dame Fortune, being offered to me,
Will never know how to calm my suffering.
I will always love the time of cherries
And the memory I keep in my heart.

(Jean-Baptiste Clément, 1866 - English translation from

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marforio's Sign

Sign of the former Marforio leather shop, Marzarieta Due Aprile, Marzaria San Salvador, Venice
The sign of the former Marforio leather shop
Marzarieta Due Aprile / Marzaria San Salvador
San Marco, Venice, September 2012

“The dragon was designed only about a century ago as a signpost for a leather goods store called Marforio, which was the largest and oldest leather goods store in Italy, run by the same family through five generations since 1875, until it closed about 10 years ago. I could not find any information directly connecting the dragon to Marforio, but the fact that Marforio was in the building on which the dragon still stands and that it initially opened as an umbrella store sort of makes that connection for me; the leather suitcases, handbags, wallets, belts, and other travelers' merchandise became more central probably after the store's success as an umbrella boutique and possibly after the creation of the dragon, but I have no evidence on which to base that theory. No matter my lack of knowledge about the Marforio dragon itself, though, this detail can say more to us than we might expect.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Berlin Firefighter Challenge

Victim rescue, Berlin Firefighter Challenge, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin
Victim rescue, Berlin Firefighter Challenge, Potsdamer Platz
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Bagpipe Players

“A 175-lb. (79.4kg) Simulaids, Inc., Rescue Randy® mannequin must be dragged backwards a distance of 100-ft (30.5m). Carrying the dummy is not permitted. If any competitor crosses the course delineator (i.e., goes out of lane), a 5-second penalty will be assessed. Any contact with the opposing competitor will result in disqualification. The mannequin must not be grasped by its clothing or appendages. Time stops when the competitor and victim completely cross the finish line. The Course Marshal, at his sole discretion, may stop any competitor who in the official's opinion creates or is in a dangerous or unsafe condition.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

America, The Four Continents

America, The Four Continents by Daniel Chester French, Custom House, Bowling Green, New York
America, The Four Continents by Daniel Chester French, 1903-1907
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, Bowling Green
New York, September 2008

See also: Asia - Europe - Africa (The Four Continents)

“The sculpture of America is to the right of Asia. It is the only one of the four in which there is action in the position of the central figure. America is represented as a young, alert woman, sitting at the edge of her chair as if ready to spring forward if need be. She holds a torch in one hand, and a bushel of corn is on her lap. Her right foot, extended forward, leans on the head of an image of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl [5]. Visible in the background over her right shoulder is a Native American man wearing a warrior's headdress. Another man, mostly nude, kneels at her side, in the protection of her arm and flowing cape. He holds tools in one hand, and with the other tends a small, winged wheel.”
(The Four Continents, New York City Public Art Curriculum)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Freddy Krueger

Statue of Guillaume Dupuytren by Max Barneaud, dressed ad Freddy Krueger, Hôtel-Dieu courtyard, Paris
Statue of Guillaume Dupuytren dressed as Freddy Krueger
Courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Guillaume Dupuytren - Hôtel-Dieu - Play Me, I’m Yours

“His statue stands in the Hotel Dieu Paris and is the target for colourful facelifts and regular painting from the medical students during rag week.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

San Giacomo di Rialto

Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, San Polo, Venice
Church of San Giacomo di Rialto
Campo San Giacomo, San Polo
Venice, September 2012

See also: Il Gobbo di Rialto

“San Giacomo di Rialto, also known as San Giacometto, is believed to be the oldest church in Venice. With its typical cross plan, it was first built in 421, the year the city was founded according to tradition. The church we see today is the result of restoration work in 1601. The huge clock (1410) and the outstanding atrium with its Gothic portico are the two most distinctive features of this church. Money-changers and bankers used to sit under the portico, waiting for foreign currency or customers wishing to borrow. All banking transactions were conducted outdoors at the time, under the careful eye of the authorities. The concept of ‘exchange’ was born right here.”
(Venice and its Lagoons, World Heritage)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Löwe, Lion by August Gaul, Kolonnadenhof, Museumsinsel, Berlin
“Löwe” (Lion) by August Gaul, 1904, Kolonnadenhof
(The courtyard with colonnades in front of Neues Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie)
Museumsinsel Berlin (Museum Island)
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Tiergruppe - Two Penguins

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Observers

The Observers, Fighter Command Panel, The Battle of Britain Monument by Paul Day, Victoria Embankment, London
“The Observers”, The Battle of Britain Monument, First Panel - Fighter Command
Paul Day sculptor, Donald Insall Associates architects
Victoria Embankment
London, October 2009

See also: Scramble

“Scattered around the coast and inland, the 30,000 strong Observer Corps ceaselessly scoured the air to intercept, visually and orally, enemy raiders. After RDF (Radio Direction Finder), they were the next line of defence and crucial for the relaying of information back to Uxbridge.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Fox

Detail of the fox, Homage to Jean de La Fontaine by Charles Correia, Jardin du Ranelagh, Paris
Detail of the fox, “Hommage à Jean de La Fontaine” by Charles Correia
Jardin du Ranelagh, 16e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Jean de La Fontaine - The Raven

Le Corbeau et le Renard

Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché,
Tenait en son bec un fromage.
Maître Renard, par l'odeur alléché,
Lui tint à peu près ce langage:
«Hé! bonjour, Monsieur du Corbeau.
Que vous êtes joli ! que vous me semblez beau!
Sans mentir, si votre ramage
Se rapporte à votre plumage,
Vous êtes le Phénix des hôtes de ces bois.»
The Raven and the Fox

Perched on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese;
Sir Fox, who smelt it in the breeze,
Thus to the holder spoke:
«Ha! how do you do, Sir Raven?
Well, your coat, sir, is a brave one!
So black and glossy, on my word, sir,
With voice to match, you were a bird, sir,
Well fit to be the Phoenix of these days.»

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer

Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer by Giovanni Bellini, Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice
Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer by Giovanni Bellini, 1470s
Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo (San Zanipolo)
Venice, September 2011

“Keith Christiansen labelled it perverse to attribute this crucial work of the Venetian Renaissance to anyone other than Giovanni Bellini, with the exception of the predella, for which Bellini had perhaps supplied the design. For Christiansen, the polyptych of St Vincent Ferrer represented the sum of BeIlini's strivings towards artistic maturity during the 1460s, under the influenee of Mantegna. He demonstrated a new mastery in the two enormous figures of Christopher and Sebastian in particular, and in the heads, turned upwards and illuminated from below, he took up the challenge represented by Mantegna's depiction of Assumption of the Virgin in the Ovetari chapel in Padua. St Vincent Ferrer, who stands on a bank of clouds and is surrounded by cheruhs, now black through oxidization, is Bellini's first contribution to the rendering of a saint in glory.”
(Oskar Bätschmann, Giovanni Bellini)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Humboldt Box

Humboldt Box, Schloßplatz, Berlin
Humboldt Box, Schloßplatz (Palace Square)
September 2011, Berlin

“If you're visiting Berlin this summer, you'll notice an unusual addition to the city's Mitte district -- the Humboldt Box, a futuristic museum housing exhibits related to art, science and culture. This geometric structure opened last week near Museum Island. The Humboldt Box serves as a interim fill-in for the Humboldt Forum, envisioned as a place for the exchange of cultures from around the world. The temporary structure will be dismantled when the Humboldt Forum is completed, probably in 2019.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Golda Meir

Bust of Golda Meir by Beatrice Goldfine, Golda Meir Square, Broadway and West 39th Street, New York
Bust of Golda Meir by Beatrice Goldfine, Golda Meir Square
Broadway and West 39th Street
New York, September 2007

The statue was dedicated on Oct. 3, 1984, which happened to be a busy day for civic dedications in New York. About half an hour before an official commemoration at the corner of 49th Street honoring the former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, the then-Manhattan borough president Andrew J. Stein filled in for Mayor Ed Koch, who was in Washington that day, at the dedication of Golda’s statue. Stein’s uninspired remarks, as summarized by a report in The New York Times the next day, offered an unassailable, if not unimaginative, justification for Meir’s immortalization: “Of all the Israeli leaders,” Stein said helpfully, “she was the leader Americans knew best.”
(Golda Meir, New York City Statues)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Play Me, I’m Yours

Play Me, I’m Yours, street pianos, Hôtel-Dieu courtyard, Paris
‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ street piano with the occasional player
Hôtel-Dieu courtyard, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Hôtel-Dieu

“Touring internationally since 2008, ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over two million people worldwide – more than 700 pianos have already been installed in 34 cities across the globe, from New York to China, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.”
(Play Me, I’m Yours, Street Pianos)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ponte della Costituzione

Ponte della Costituzione, Constitution Bridge by Santiago Calatrava, Canal Grande, Grand Canal, Venice
Ponte della Costituzione (Constitution Bridge) by Santiago Calatrava, 2007
Canal Grande (Grand Canal)
Venice, September 2012

“Tourists crossing a new bridge built across Venice's Grand Canal have stumbled across a possible flaw, which has landed 10 of them in casualty with twisted ankles and other minor injuries. The 10 tourists were treated after taking a tumble on the 94-metre long Constitution Bridge, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which opened on September 11. Pedestrians who lost their footing have blamed the bridge's irregularly spaced steps, some of which act as viewing points, and the disorienting optical effect of the sectioned stone and glass flooring.”
(Bridge trips tourists, The Guardian)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Die Welt Balloon

D-ORKA, Berlin HiFlyer, Die Welt balloon model FK 5500 STU, Berlin
HiFlyer or Die Welt (The World) balloon
Wilhelmstraße and Zimmerstraße
Berlin, September 2011

“Right in the center of Berlin our giant balloon rises above Checkpoint Charlie, the Axel-Springer-Building, Sony Center and the Brandenburger Tor, thus offering not only a perfect outlook on historic Berlin, but also intriguingly presenting the new heart of Europe.”
(Captive Balloon HiFlyer, Air Service Berlin)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

St Thomas' Hospital Tower

Tower, St Thomas' Hospital, 1865, Lambeth
London, October 2009

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Raven

Detail of the raven, Homage to Jean de La Fontaine by Charles Correia, Jardin du Ranelagh, Paris
Detail of the raven, “Hommage à Jean de La Fontaine” by Charles Correia
Jardin du Ranelagh, 16e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Jean de La Fontaine - The Fox

Le Corbeau et le Renard

Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché,
Tenait en son bec un fromage...
The Raven and the Fox

Perched on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lion on the Gate

Winged lion of Saint Mark by Antonio Gai, gate of the Sansovino's Loggetta, piazza San Marco, Venice
“Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus” (May Peace be with you, Mark, my evangelist)
Winged Lion of Saint Mark by Antonio Gai, 1735-37
Gate of the Loggetta, Piazza San Marco
Venice, October 2012

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Schiller-Denkmal, Monument to Friedrich Schiller by Reinhold Begas, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin
Schiller-Denkmal (Monument to Friedrich Schiller) by Reinhold Begas, 1859
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Organ-grinder - Französischer Dom - Deutscher Dom - Café Achteck

“The memorial to Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), one of Germany’s most revered poets and playwrights (Maria Stuart, William Tell) sits dignified in the middle of Gendarmenmarkt. Crafted by Reinhold Begas in 1871, it was squirreled away by the Nazis and ended up in West Berlin after WWII. In 1988 it returned across the Wall following an exchange of artworks between the two German states.”
(Lonely Planet, Berlin)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Asia, The Four Continents

Asia, The Four Continents by Daniel Chester French, Custom House, Bowling Green, New York
Asia, The Four Continents by Daniel Chester French, 1903-1907
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, Bowling Green
New York, September 2008

See also: America - Europe - Africa (The Four Continents)

“When viewed from left to right, the first sculpture of the set is Asia. The central figure of this group is a calm woman, seated with eyes closed, her hands resting on her knees. On her lap there sits a small Buddha, and in one hand she holds a lotus flower, with a serpent wrapped around the stem. The bare feet of the central figure rest on a platform held up by a series of skulls. She is dressed in draping robes, and wears numerous necklaces. To her right is a tiger, sitting with its back to the viewer and its head turned, gazing up at the central figure. To her left are three additional figures: a boy kneeling, with his head down in prayer; an emaciated old man with his hands tied behind his back in slavery; a woman with a baby strapped to her back. The man and the woman stand bent over, leaning against the central figure for support.”
(The Four Continents, New York City Public Art Curriculum)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fromagerie Vacroux

Fromagerie Vacroux, cheese and dairy shop, rue Daguerre, Paris
Detail of the sign, Fromagerie Vacroux et Fils
(Vacroux & Sons Cheese and Dairy Shop)
Rue Daguerre, 14e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012