Michelangelo’s statue of Moses has horns, thanks to a mistranslation in the Latin Vulgate Bible.
The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul is an underground underwater forest of 336 huge marble columns. It was built in the 6th century CE, but parts are much older – because they were scavenged from other buildings, sometimes with original sculptures intact.
In 1986 the Australian Cultural Terrorists stole a Picasso from a Melbourne art gallery; they threatened to destroy the painting if the government did not create an art prize called the Picasso Ransom. The culprits were never found.
From 1966 until 2016, English artist Tom Phillips created a new story out of the Victorian novel A Human Document; he did not add any words, but selectively drew or painted over each of its pages to surface something entirely new.
The famed Baroque artist Caravaggio painted his masterwork while on the run from Rome, as an accused murderer and a Knight of Malta. When the knights expelled him from the order, they did so beneath that same painting.
When politicians’ historical crimes catch up with them, what happens to their statues?
When is a protest not a protest? In Russia, when it’s a performance art parody of a protest. But that still didn’t stop the Russian government from overreacting.
Leonardo da Vinci observed that tree branches together are always as thick as the trunk beneath them. This is true, and there are some good ideas why.
The He-Gassen scroll of Edo period Japan depicts an epic battle… of farts.
Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition based on a journey through his late friend’s art exhibit – but what happened to the pictures?
In 1994 the art duo K Foundation burned a million pounds in cash. They did it on purpose.
The French artist Yves Klein sold empty space – an invisible “zone of immaterial pictorial sensibility.” Buyers paid in gold, half of which Klein would throw into the Seine River.
19th century glass artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka provided natural history museums around the world with lifelike glass replicas of marine life.
Around 1508 the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione painted The Tempest. No-one knows what it means.
From the 15th to the 19th century CE, the Akan used sets of ornate statues as a measurement system for weighing gold dust, but also encoding and reinforcing cultural knowledge at the same time.
On June 25, 1900, tens of thousands of important historical manuscripts were found in a secret room within the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang, China, where they had been hidden for nearly a millennium.