1. Elton John on his private jet, “the Starship”, complete with piano bar, during his 1974 US tour
Found on Reddit.
2. The First ‘Blow Up’ Doll: the case of the famed Alma Mahler sex doll
In 1918, after the great muse ended her relationship with the artist Oskar Kokoschka, he commissioned a life-size replica of his lost love from the doll-maker Hermine Moos.
Kokoschka took a strong hand in the doll’s design, sending sketches, measurements, and explicit instructions. Much of the correspondence still survives. E.g.:
Yesterday I sent a life-size drawing of my beloved and I ask you to copy this most carefully and to transform it into reality. Pay special attention to the dimensions of the head and neck, to the ribcage, the rump and the limbs. And take to heart the contours of body, e.g., the line of the neck to the back, the curve of the belly. Please permit my sense of touch to take pleasure in those places where layers of fat or muscle suddenly give way to a sinewy covering of skin. For the first layer (inside) please use fine, curly horsehair; you must buy an old sofa or something similar; have the horsehair disinfected. Then, over that, a layer of pouches stuffed with down, cottonwool for the seat and breasts. The point of all this for me is an experience which I must be able to embrace!
More on The Paris Review.
3. Mermaids by Hermann Corrodi
Found on the Instagram account: Paintings Daily.
4. Look what Washed up on the shores of New Zealand recently
5. The Medieval Monopod
Europeans in the Middle Ages believed creatures called Monopods lived in African deserts. They were said to have one giant foot that they’d use to hop around, and lie on their backs to have it provide shade over their head “like a parasol”.
6. W.E.B. Du Bois’s Little-Known but Oddly Beautiful Data Visualizations of Black Life for the Paris World’s Fair of 1900
More information on the project, led by Jason Forrest.
7. A 17th Century Italian Thermometer
Found on Museo Galileo.
8. Yuda Dam
A dam in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, completed in 1964, photo by Ralph Mirebs.
9. The Retail Apocalypse in Pretty Pictures
Through photographer Jesse Rieser’s lens, the architectural fallout of the e-commerce revolution is beautiful.
Found on Fast Company.
10. An abandoned home in San Francisco sandwiched between two modern apartment buildings
Photographed in 2009 by Wolfgang Schubert. Wonder if it’s still there.
11. Young Betty White Was a Total Babe
You know her from Golden Girls, but she’s had the longest television career of any female or male entertainer.
Found on Pinterest.
12. Van Gogh’s looted drawing of Starry Night, folded in half in 1945 to fit inside a suitcase
I was initially horrified to find a crease down the middle. When I discovered the reason I was relieved: the large drawing had been neatly folded in half to fit inside a suitcase—almost certainly saving it from destruction.”
Vincent had made the drawing in 1889 in the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole to send to Theo in Paris, to give his brother an idea of his painting of Starry Night, which he had just completed.
…it was lost during the chaos of the Second World War… seized at a German castle by Victor Baldin, a Red Army officer who took it back to the Soviet Union on a tractor. For decades it remained hidden away and was recorded in the Van Gogh catalogue raisonné as “lost”.
Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper reports that it is now almost certainly in a secret Russian government storage facility in Moscow.
Read the full article here.