She was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, inBrooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of a bricklayer. When she was 4, Ruby's mother Catherine, pregnant with her sixth child, was pushed from a streetcar by a drunken passenger, which killed her almost immediately. A few months later her father Byron Stevens ran away to Panama digging the Canal, leaving her sister Mildred to support the children as a chorus girl. She took Ruby on the road, whetting her appetite to be a dancer.
She went to work at the local telephone company for $14 a week, but she had the urge to somehow enter show business. When not working, she pounded the pavement in search of dancing jobs. The persistence paid off. Barbara was hired as a chorus girl for the princely sum of $40 a week, where she was to start her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964, after which she appeared on television until 1986. She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role.
Workmen digging the sub-basement in the demolished White House in 1950.
Between 1948 and 1952 the White House has been totally reconstructed. Only the outher walls remained, the whole interior was removed and completely replaced.
But as a 1962 Saturday Evening Post article noted: All the mellow feeling of the old house gave way to a stark atmosphere of solidity. As one Washington columnist observed, “The White House is safe, all right, but it has completely lost its charm. That restoration took the heart out of the building. When those floors creaked, you knew Lincoln had been walking there before you. Now it has no more appeal than the Pentagon."
The White House renovation, 17 May 1950. A steel structure is built within the exterior shell.
The All-Russia Exhibition Center (called VVC or VDNKh). It was open in 1939 as an agricultural exhibition, but later the complex was extended and in 1959 it was re-open under the name Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. There are about 400 buildings. Since my hotel was closeby I visited it one evening (while all the other participants of my travel group were attending some folk dancing).
The 'Friendship of Nations' fountain, built in 1954 as a symbol of the Soviet Union: it contains 16 female sculptures, each representing one of the former Soviet Republics.
The Cosmos pavilion with a real rocket and aircraft.
It surprised me to see so many young people here, it was a pleasant visit. (photos by RfA, 2009)
Wych Street was a medieval street in London. The area was not affected by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was considered by many to be the most picturesque street in London and an important relic of London's medieval past. Today the whole street has disappeared; it was demolished by the London County Council as part of the redevelopment of the area which created the Kingsway Road (thereby destroying over 600 historic buildings in total).
1901 postcard of Wych Street, shortly before its demolition.
The student's version (Prado) - Leonardo's version (Louvre)
In February 2012 I told you about a recently rediscovered and cleaned contemporary painting of the Mona Lisa (La Gioconda in Italian; La Joconde in French) at the Prado museum, possibly made by one of Leonardo Da Vinci's students.
Infrared and X-ray analysis of the Prado Mona Lisa found underdrawings and alterations from the tracing and all the way through the upper paint levels that matched those in 2004 scans of the Louvre Mona Lisa. That means that, from the initial sketches to the changes and corrections as painting progressed, the Prado Lisa followed the Louvre Lisa at each stage.
From Prado's Mona Lisa to Louvre's Mona Lisa
Two German researchers found that the background of the Prado painting, while virtually identical in shape, is 10% more zoomed in than the Louvre version. They also discovered a number of particularly dense perspective changes in Mona Lisa’s hands and head. With these data the researchers were able to calculate the positions of the canvases relative to the sitter and then they made a model of Leonardo’s studio during the painting of the Mona Lisa (with Playmobil).
The original (labeled 1st) is further back and to the right of the Prado version.
The horizontal distance between the versions is about 69.3 millimeters. The average distance between the eyes of Italian males is 64.1mm, a statistically insignificant difference which suggests the possibility that the two paintings might have been deliberately positioned to be a stereoscopic pair which when viewed together give the impression of three dimensions.
When looking at the original colors of the two paintings the only real difference is in the sleeves, in which they are reddish in one version and greenish in the other. When combined the hands work as a stereoscopic pair indeed.