Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli once teamed up to steal the Arno river.
In 2004 a plaque commemorating Father Pat Noise was installed on a bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Pat Noise never existed.
Artists sometimes change or improve paintings by painting over old versions. Through careful examination or special imaging, we can sometimes see these ghosts of lost art again.
There is a courtyard gallery in the Palazzo Spada in Rome that is designed to fool the eye. It looks like it should be 37 metres long, but in fact it’s only 8 metres in total.
Monet’s 1890-1891 painting series Les Meules à Giverny captured haystacks at multiple times of the day, seasons, and weather conditions. He did this by painting several canvases at once, swapping them as the day changed.
The silicon chip pictured here is the central processor from a 1991 Hewlett-Packard 9000 700-series workstation. It contains 577,000 transistors… and a horse?
For the several of the first modern Olympic Games you could win a gold medal in sculpture, painting, music, literature, or architecture.
In 1975 the artists Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt published a set of cards designed to provoke creative thinking. The Oblique Strategies deck has become a legend of the art and design worlds.
Paintings last longer on canvas than wood or plaster – so from the 18th century CE on, restorers have transferred famous art onto canvas using razors, laughing gas, and glue.
In ancient art from Europe to India a particular artistic motif frequently appears: a male or female figure grabbing two wild creatures, one in each hand. These are the Master and Mistress of Animals.
The Darb-e Imam shrine in Iran contains an early and exciting example of non-periodic tiling that was only mathematically appreciated five hundred years later.
In World War I millions of troops sat in trenches for more than three and a half years. It was by turns terrifying and boring. To ignore one feeling and allay the other, they made art.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, why would you paint anything else? The eye miniature was one of the oddest trends in late 1700s art.
In the myth, Icarus flew too close to the sun on wings of wax and fell to his death. 16th century Dutch / Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder asked the question: what if no-one noticed?
M. C. Escher drew impossible objects – things that could not actually exist in three-dimensional space. But an Italian engraver named Giovanni Battista Piranesi was drawing them more than a hundred years earlier.