Mysterious Paintings

Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt, 1633

Mysterious Paintings

1

The Blue Room by Picasso, 1901

The Blue Room by Picasso, 1901

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Blue Room original painting revealed

Blue Room original painting revealed
The Blue Room was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1901.  Painted during Picasso's Blue Period, it depicts a woman who appears to be washing herself on a tub inside a studio.  Through the use of X-rays and infrared technology, an image of a man resting his head on his hand was found beneath the painting in 2008.  Researchers have been baffled about the identity of the man beneath the painting but the lack of clues and documentation are not stopping them from working to solve this mystery.
2

A Satyr Mourning Over A Nymph by Piero di Cosimo, c.1495

A Satyr Mourning Over A Nymph by Piero di Cosimo, c.1495
A Satyr mourning over a Nymph was painted by Piero di Cosimo in 1495.  The image supposedly depicts the death of Procris from Ovid's Metamorphoses.  In the story, Procris was accidentally killed by her husband Cephalus who mistook her for a wild beast.  However, Professor Michael Baum, a surgical expert has argued that the wounds of Procris points to a murder instead of an accidental death.  Cosimo may have depicted the death of Procris using a body of a murder victim from a mortuary.  We may have a 15th century murder mystery to solve.

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3

Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1609

Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1609
The Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence was painted by Caravaggio in 1609.  The painting shows Mary gazing at the newborn baby Jesus while an angel hovers above them.  Joseph, St. Francis and St. Lawrence are also depicted in the painting along with an unknown boy.  Some have claimed that the painting was in the hands of the Sicilian Mafia while some rumors have circulated that it has been destroyed.  Experts have estimated the value of this missing artwork at $20 million.  You need to stop reading and start looking for it.

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4

Sacred and Profane Love by Titian, c.1514

Sacred and Profane Love by Titian, c.1514
Painted by Titian in circa 1514, Sacred and Profane Love shows a bride sitting beside Cupid and Venus.  It was commissioned to celebrate the marriage of Noccolo Aurelio and Laura Bagarotto.  While the painting is commonly known as Sacred and Profane Love, the real name of the painting is unknown.  Researchers have examined the symbolism in the painting to find out the real meaning behind the artwork.  One researcher suggested that it shows Polia and Venere from a popular 1499 romance called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili while a simpler interpretation suggests that it is a depiction of Laura Bagarotto herself.

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5

View of Scheveningen Sands by Hendrick van Anthonissen, 1641

View of Scheveningen Sands by Hendrick van Anthonissen, 1641

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Comparison of the before and after

Comparison of the before and after
View of Scheveningen Sands was painted by Hendrick van Anthonissen in 1641.  The painting was donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 1873.  It depicts a beach scene set in winter.  Groups of people can be seen along the shores.  In 2014, Shan Kuang, a postgraduate student at the Hamilton Kerr Institute discovered a figure of a man standing on the sea horizon while she was cleaning the painting.  A beached whale appeared after she worked carefully to remove the overpaint.  The presence of the whale explains the group of people gathered on that particular area but it raises the question of why the whale was painted out of the picture.
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The Righteous Judges by Jan van Eyck, 1432

The Righteous Judges by Jan van Eyck, 1432
The Just Judges is the lower left panel of the Ghent Altarpiece.  It was painted by Jan van Eyck and possibly his brother Hubert van Eyck between 1430 and 1432.  Also called the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it depicts a group of pilgrims paying homage to the Lamb of God.  The altarpiece was almost burned by iconoclasts in 1566 and it was taken as booty during the Napoleonic Wars.  In 1934, the panel was stolen from the St. Bavo Cathedral.  Thieves demanded a ransom of one million francs for the panel.  A stockbroker named Arsene Goedertier confessed on his deathbed that he alone knows the location of the altarpiece.  An unsent note mentions that the piece “rests in a place where neither I, nor anybody else, can take it away without arousing the attention of the public”.

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7

Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael, c.1513-1514

Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael, c.1513-1514
Portrait of a Young Man was painted by Raphael between 1513 and 1514.  Many scholars have concluded that the painting is a self-portrait by comparing it to other self-portraits of Raphael.  It was confiscated by the Nazis from the residence of the Czartoryski family in Sienawa in 1939.  The painting was last seen in 1945 in the Royal Wawel Castle in Poland.  In 2012, the painting was reportedly found in a bank vault but Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs won't reveal the exact location of the vault.  

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8

Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt, 1633

Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt, 1633
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee was based on the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. It depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Painted by Rembrandt in 1633, it was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston before it was stolen in 1990. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and twelve other works of art were taken by two thieves disguised as police officers. The FBI is offering a reward of $5 million for information leading to the discovery of the stolen works.

Go to the painting page to see Storm on the Sea of Galilee

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9

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer, 1660s

The Music Lesson, 1662-65
The Music Lesson was painted by Johannes Vermeer between 1662 and 1665. The painting depicts a young lady playing a keyboard instrument called a virginal while her teacher observes. Some have claimed that the painting is full of symbols of passion. The virginal was supposed to be a symbol of purity, the double-bass is regarded as a phallic symbol and the pitcher of wine represents an aphrodisiac. Technical analysis has revealed that the man was originally standing closer to the woman while the woman's head was turned more towards the man.
Go to the painting page to see The Music Lesson

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10

The Tempest by Giorgione, 1508

The Tempest was painted by Giorgone between 1506 and 1508.  It was commissioned by a Venetian noble named Gabriele Vendramin.  The painting depicts a woman breastfeeding a baby and a man standing near her while a storm gathers above the town.  The man is sometimes identified as a soldier but some have suggested that he is a gypsy or a shepherd while the woman is identified either as a gypsy or a prostitute.  Scholars have presented various interpretations about the painting but the mystery remains to this day.

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