Monday, June 30, 2014

Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (ca 1911).

Excerpt from a photo found on

next episode: Moscow

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Haarlem City Gate

Kleine Houtpoort, Haarlem. Build in 1571, demolished in 1873.

next episode: street

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wych Street (London)

Wych Street, London, at the end of the 19th century (Bishopsgate Institute).
Photo taken by the Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London.

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.

next episode: Haarlem

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waterloo Day

 Re-enactment of the Battle, 2010 (

No, not Abba, Waterloo Day (June 18) is the date of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Battle of Waterloo, map by John Fawkes.

next episode: London

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mona Lisa 3D

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.

sources: &

next episode: Afoort

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amersfoort Day !

Amersfoort gained its city rights at June 12, 1259. So it has been a city for 755 years!

next episode: Mona

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dutch Brazil

Mauritsstad (Maurits City) by Johannes Vingboons 

Starting June 12 the Football/Soccer World Cup tournament will be held in Brazil (unfortunately the Dutch have to start against the reigning champions). Today nearly everybody speaks Portuguese in Brazil, but once Brazil used to be Dutch (between 1624 and 1654).

Dutch Brazil

Mauritsstad (named after the Governor Johan Maurits) was the capital of Dutch Brazil, and is now a part of the Brazilian city of Recife. It was a cultural center of the New World, with the first botanical garden and the first zoo in America, and the first synagogue in the Americas. After the surrender to the catholique Portuguese the Jews had to leave Brazil, they fled to New Amsterdam (present day New York) to found the first synagogue in North-America over there.

Brazilian Landscape by Frans Jansz. Post, 1652 (Rijksmuseum). A sugar plantation can be seen in the distance. The artist spent seven years in Brazil in the entourage of Johan Maurits, who commissioned Post to record the country and its inhabitants.

next episode: Mona

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Amazing Transformation From Speaking To Singing

The amazing speech-to-sound illusion:

First listen to Sound Demo 1. Your brain will interpret it as a melody. Then listen to Sound Demo 2. In the middle of the speech the speaker will appear to burst into a song!

To experience the illusion, play the two recordings in sequence
(demos by Diana Deutsch, UC San Diego).

The speech-to-song illusion reveals that the exact same sequence of sounds can seem either like speech or like music, depending only on whether it has been repeated.


more info:

next episode: Dutch Brazil

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gene Tierney and Daughter in Paris

Gene Tierney and daughter Tina in Paris (by Walter Carone, 1951, Paris Match Archive)

In 1941 actress Gene Tierney married fashion designer Oleg Cassini. In 1946 the couple separated, Gene Tierney won an uncontested divorce in California on March 13, 1947, and finalized the divorce one year later, March 13, 1948. But soon the couple reconciled and Christina 'Tina' was born on November 19, 1948. Paris must have made a huge impression on the little girl, because when she had grown up she decided to live in Paris with her husband and kids.  

next episode: ?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tim Flach - More Than Human Animal Portraits

Crossbred tigers in an American private zoo. Photos by Tim Flach, animal photographer.

next episode: Brazil


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