10 Quirky and Inspiring Facts That Shape the World of Art History

The world of art can be quite unpredictable. Things can be overpriced and also undervalued, adding to the excitement. But there’s also a fair amount of illegal money that’s being moved through art auctions and large sales. Since there’s hardly a fixed price to any artwork, the value is arbitrary, allowing for a lot of shady deals to go on behind the scenes. The history of art, too, is riddled with a lot of interesting facts. The way some arts were created and the meanings the artists layered into their work border on the mysterious.

Here are some interesting facts that have shaped the world of art history.

1. Vincent Van Gogh

The National Gallery of Art. Vincent Van Gogh
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Vincent Van Gogh produced more than 2000 works during his lifetime. 900 paintings and 1100 drawings and sketches. But he only sold one painting in his lifetime: The Red Vineyard. It sold for 400 francs, roughly the equivalent of $20.

2. Picasso’s Full Name

Portrait of Picasso
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Although mostly known by his last name, Picasso’s, full name is a mouth full. 25 words long, to be exact. He was christened Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. It’s like reading out a long sentence! The name is a mixture of his relatives’ names as well as those of saints. Ruiz comes from his father’s name, but Picasso was derived from his mother’s.

3. Police Thought Picasso Stole the Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa, France
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The Mona Lisa heist in 1911 triggered one of the biggest scandals the art world had ever seen, and Picasso was caught in its web. A former art thief pointed accusing fingers at the French literary figure Guillaume Apollinaire of stealing Da Vinci’s masterpiece because he had apparently sold stolen work to him before. Apollinaire, trying to defend himself, deflected the accusation to his friend Picasso who he claimed stole the Mona Lisa. Picasso was detained as a suspect. However, the Mona Lisa was found some years later, stolen by a former Louvre security guard.

4. Modigliani

On the entrance portal to the Amedeo Modigliani exhibition
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Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, an Italian painter and sculptor, once spared his family from financial demise in an unconventional way. His arrival at birth helped his father activate some ancient laws that protected the beds of women and mothers with newborn children. Modigliani’s father prevented his creditors from pursuing payment by piling his family’s most valuable assets on top of his pregnant wife’s bed.

5. Willard Wigan

Man sculpting
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Willard Wigan, the British sculptor from Ashmore Park Estate, works between heartbeats so he doesn’t destroy the piece he’s creating. He uses rice or grains of sand and a surgical blade to create his “micro sculptures.” He used to sculpt from whatever he could find, including splinters of wood, tiny pieces of glass, a single fiber from a shirt, and anything else. He once carved a church from a grain of sand and a replica of the Mona Lisa that is smaller than a match head.

6. St. Sabastian

Saint Sebastian shot with arrows martyr statue, Marian plague column of Saint Rosalia, Velehrad Monastery, Moravia, Czech Republic, sunny day clear blue sky
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St. Sabastian, a Christian saint, is often depicted in art with arrows impaling his body. Imitating the style, Michael Richards, an artist, has a piece where he cast a mold of himself and, instead of arrows, had planes flying into his body. Unfortunately, as though his art was a premonition, Richards died on the 92nd floor of Tower One on 9/11.

7. Six Toes

DOVER, DELAWARE - JULY 19: Christ Episcopal Church (1734) on State Street on July 19, 2015 in Dover, Delaware
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Many historic paintings and stained glass windows by artists from the Renaissance to the 19th century show Jesus with six toes on one foot. The Nave Christ Episcopal Church portrays six of Christ’s apostles in its beautiful collection of Arts and Crafts stained windows. The St. Matthew stained glass window also has six toes. Herbert Davis, an English artist who moved to the area around 1918, had six toes, a condition known as hexadactyl. It is suspected that he worked on the artwork and gave his depiction of St. Peter’s six toes because of his own condition. It is also unclear why the Renaissance paintings of Jesus show him having six toes.

8. The Oldest Man-Made Paintings

Sulawesi Cave Art with hand imprints, Indonesia
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The oldest man-made paintings can be found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The discovery was made several years ago by a team of archeologists from Indonesia and Australia. The ancient images of three wild pigs painted deep in a limestone cave were dated to at least 45,500 years ago. The common agreement was that the oldest art comes from the caves in Europe, but these Sulawesi paintings shatter that notion.

9. The Coronation of Napoleon

The Coronation of Napoleon
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In The Coronation of Napoleon painting by Jacques-Louis David, the people represented in the picture are different from reality. For example, Napoleon is taller than his real height, and the queen looks younger in the picture. This is because Napoleon wanted to leave a good image of his family to the public after his passing.

10. Georgia O’Keeffe

Crowd in the Museum of Modern Art, NewYork
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The first woman to be given an independent exhibition for her works by the Museum of Modern Art was Georgia O’Keeffe. Her father, Francis Calyxtus O’Keeffe, was Irish, whereas her mother, Ida (Totto) O’Keeffe, was Hungarian. Georgia was named after her maternal grandfather, George Victor Totto.

Source: Quora.

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