So, you though you knews everything that is to know about the Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, Munch’s The Scream, and Sphinx of Egypt? Think again! These well-known works of art have some really intriguing facts that have slipped under the radar of pop culture. So, if you’re curious, pay attention.
Whether they’re things that disappeared years ago or things that have been hiding in plain sight the whole time, there are plenty of things that we never hear about great works of art, these ones in particular, as well as others. These are 10 interesting facts you should know!
10. The Eiffel Tower’s Secret Room
The Eiffel Tower has a secret apartment hidden within its highest level. The apartment is owned by Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed the tower. This apartment, which only Eiffel had access to, played host to many important visitors; prominent among them was Thomas Edison. Eiffel reportedly received several substantial offers for a single night in the apartment.
9. The Inspiration Behind The Scream
Edvard Munch’s The Scream is one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century; as a result, it was elaborately stolen more than once. According to Munch, The Scream was inspired the day he was walking with his friends and saw that “the sky turned as red as blood,” before feeling incredibly tired and hearing an “enormous infinite scream of nature.” For years Munch’s inspiration was thought to be imagined until it was recently discovered that the sky that day probably actually was red that day as a result of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia.
8. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa’s Unknown Architect
Also known as Torre Pendente di Pisa, the Leaning Tower of Pisa doubles as both a monument and a mystery. While the reason for its rather distinctive leaning is well-known, no one knows who designed it. The major reason why no one knows who designed the tower is because the tower took almost 200 years to complete.
7. The Chain At The Foot Of The Statue Of Liberty
Edouard de Laboulaye, a famous French politician and abolitionist, is the man behind the Statue of Liberty. He was a firm backer of President Lincoln, who was fighting for the abolition of slavery. The statue was a gift to honor and celebrate freedom, democracy, and the end of all forms of servitude. That is why Lady Liberty has a broken chain at her foot. The chain is usually invisible to tourists because it is beneath her robe by the side of her left foot and can only be seen from the top.
6. The Sphinx’s Missing Beard
Only a few people know the story behind the Sphinx’s beard. The Sphinx was not originally constructed with a beard. Instead, it was attached long after it was constructed. It was added probably to relate the Sphinx with Horemakhet, one of the Egyptian gods. It may also have been intended for the Sphinx take after the Egyptian pharaohs, who often wore artificial beards as a symbol of authority, and to associate them with the god Osiris.
5. Da Vinci’s Hidden Music
In 2007, Giovanni Maria Pala, an Italian computer technician and musician, stated that he had uncovered musical notes in Da Vinci’s famous painting The Last Supper. According to Pala, if one draws the five lines of the musical staff across the painting; the hands of Jesus Christ, the hands of his apostles, and the loaves of bread on the table would depict a musical note which would make sense when read from right to left.
4. The Golden Gate Bridge Color Crisis
The Golden Gate Bridge holds the record as the most photographed bridge in the world. When the steel to be used for the bridge arrived in San Francisco, it was already painted with a base coat to prepare the steel for more paint. Back then, most bridges were coated in grey, brown, and black, but Morrow had it painted in “international orange,” similar to the color of the base coat. Not only is international orange visible in fogs, it also complements and contrasts with the blues of the sky and the bay.
3. The Madame X Scandal
The Portrait of Madame X is a prominent painting by a young American immigrant and celebrity named John Singer Sargent of Virginie Avegno Gautreau. Sargent had hoped that Madame X would make his reputation. The portrait did make him famous, or infamous, because of its supposed indecency. After it was exhibited at the Salon, the portrait was highly criticized and mocked. The major reason behind the criticism was the right strap in the portrait. The Gautreau family was ashamed of the scandal and pleaded with Sargent to withdraw the painting. Sargent, in an effort to pacify the critics and public, repainted the strap into what we see in the portrait today.
2. Mount Rushmore Time Capsule
While it is well-known that Mount Rushmore is incomplete, few people know about its time capsule. While building Rushmore, its chief architect Gutzon Borglum wanted to create a large hall which would serve as a grand room where all of the important documents in American history would be kept. He thought adding important documents and charters like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would make the already outstanding monument more significant. Unfortunately, he was hindered by a lack of money and space until he died in 1941, leaving the work incomplete.
1. Michelangelo’s Last Judgment
Not long before he died, Pope Clement VII contracted Michelangelo to create a painting of the Last Judgment on the walls of the Sistine Chapel. The drawing is supposed to represent the last day, also called the “Judgment Day,” when Jesus Christ would return to the world. The artwork, however, generated some controversy after Michelangelo drew several of the characters naked, showing their private parts, including that of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary.