Saturday Scenes

Thu 26 August 2010

The Secrets of Mona Lisa

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 11:26

On the 21st of August in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Musée du Louvre. The theft wasn’t discovered until the following day.

Treasures of the World | Mona Lisa

The Section Chief of the Louvre makes a frantic call to the Captain of the Guards… who informs the Curator… who telephones the Paris Prefect of Police… who alerts La Sûreté, the National Criminal Investigation Department. By early afternoon, sixty inspectors and more than one hundred gendarmes rush to the museum. They bolt the doors and interrogate the visitors, then clear the galleries and station guards at the entrances. And for an entire week they search every closet and corner — room-by-room, floor-by-floor — all forty-nine acres of the Louvre.

When the Louvre reopened, the public arrived in droves to see the vacant wall with the four iron pegs where the painting had been hung. Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested as a suspect but he denied everything, pointing the finger at his friend, Pablo Picasso. Both were exonerated two years later when the Uffizi Gallery in Florence contacted the Louvre to say that they had been offered the painting by Vincenzo Perugia, who was promptly arrested by the Italian authorities. It seemed that Perugia had simply hidden in a broom cupboard until the museum closed and then walked out with the painting under his coat.

The Mona Lisa was recently in the news as a deeper understanding of da Vinci’s technique has become available as the result of X-rays.

Scientists unlock secret of Mona Lisa’s face –

They found that some layers were as thin as one or two micrometers and that these layers increased in thickness to 30 to 40 micrometers in darker parts of the painting. A micrometer is one thousandth of one millimeter.

The manner in which Da Vinci painted flesh, “his softened transitions,” were pioneering work in Italy at the end of the 15th century, say the researchers, and were linked to his creativity and his research to obtain new paint formulations.

Which leads us nicely into this week’s collection of Saturday Scenes!

On the 21st of August in 2010, pioneering photographs were taken all over the world! Do you doubt our creativity?

Take a moment to drop by the Twitterstreams of our contributors to find out more:

Shouldn’t you save a photograph of your day-to-day life for posterity? It’s easy!

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location
  4. Bookmark for future descendants to find

I’m looking forward to seeing your photograph in the next edition!

Wed 18 August 2010

Flowers in Your Hair

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 19:54

On August 14, 1969, the final preparations are under way for what has been described as the most popular music event in history. The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was a three-day concert which has become an icon of the 1960s hippie counter-culture.

The organisers were beset with problems, with the original location of Wallkill falling through and concessionaires threatening to cancel at the last minute. But by the 14th of August almost everything was in place for this awesome music festival with over three dozen performing artists and hundreds of thousands of attendees.

Woodstock Journal – August 14, 1969

Even though the festival doesn’t begin until tomorrow, an estimated 50,000 people have already arrived at the festival site and set up camp.

Hundreds of thousands more are on their way – radio stations as far away as New York City are broadcasting frequent warnings of growing traffic snarls.

Residents of the nearest town, Bethel, upset that town officials are allowing the “swarm of hippies” to descend upon them, form human road blocks across the only road to Max Yasgur’s dairy farm, where the festival is being held. Festival goers simply park and walk the rest of the way.

Only after the event did the organisers realise that they had created a piece of history.

On the 14th of August 2010, these photographs were taken and collected here to create a tiny piece of history of our own. Take a look:

These are our idealistic photographers who shared a slice of their Saturday with us:

It’s easy to take part in our collaboration.

  1. Take a photograph on Saturday
  2. Twitter it as an @reply to SatScenes with the location
  3. Bask in the glory

Follow SatScenes to see all the photographs over the weekend or simply watch this space for the next edition.

Thu 12 August 2010

Operation Watchtower

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 11:23

On the 7th of August 1943, the Guadalcanal Campaign, codenamed Operation Watchtower, began. Allied Forces landed on the Pacific islands to protect their convoy routes from Japanese interference by denying them access to the islands. Bad weather kept the Japanese patrol planes from spotting the invading Allied armada and they were able to begin their assault on Guadacanal and other nearby islands.

Guadalcanal Campaign – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While the Allies scored their first decisive victory of the Pacific in the Battle of Midway, which also blunted Japan’s strategic initiative and offensive capability, that by itself did not change the direction of the war in the same sense as Salamis or Tsushima. After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese were still in a state of naval parity and continued their invasion in the South Pacific. But the Guadalcanal Campaign ended all Japanese expansion attempts and placed the Allies in a position of clear supremacy. It thus can be argued that this Allied victory was the first step in a long string of successes that eventually led to the surrender of Japan and the occupation of the Japanese home islands.

The “Europe first” policy of the United States had initially only allowed for defensive actions against Japanese expansion, in order to focus resources on defeating Germany. However, Admiral King’s argument for the Guadalcanal invasion, as well as its successful implementation, convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt that the Pacific Theater could be pursued offensively as well. By the end of 1942, it was clear that Japan had lost the Guadalcanal campaign, a serious blow to Japan’s strategic plans for defense of their empire and an unanticipated defeat at the hands of the Americans.

On the 7th of August 2010, the successful implementation of Saturday photography led to this wonderful set of photographs:

The successful Saturday scenes above were taken by these daring photographers:

Why don’t you join us?

Simply take a photograph on Saturday and tweet it as a mention to @SatScenes with your location. It’s easy and fun.

Thu 5 August 2010

Churchill and the Tommy Gun

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 17:33

On 31 July 1940, Winston Churchill was photographed holding a Thompson sub-machine gun. The “Tommy Gun” was devised in 1919 in the US and heavily used by the Chicago gangsters including Bugs Moran and Al Capone. The British Army were the first to use the Tommy gun in WWII combat, equipping commandos and paratroopers with the sub-machine gun for combat.

Winston Churchill was photographed holding the sub-machine gun when visiting troops on the coast in 1940.

Churchill and Tommy Gun « Iconic Photos

The Churchill photograph was timely. It was used to convey Churchill as a war leader. Both sides of the war tried to use this picture for propaganda purposes. The British photoshopped out two soldiers standing next to Churchill, making him look statesmanlike, determined and menacing. On the other hand, the Germans got hold of the photo, and compared it to those of the gangsters of the American West. The Nazis used this photo in their propaganda leaflets airdropped onto Britain during the Battle of Britain.

OK, not literally photoshopped, obviously. Still, the varying interpretations of the same photograph is very interesting, with or without the background intact.

On the 31st of July 2010, these wonderful, full-of-background potentially historical images were taken:

And maybe in 70 years, one of these photographs will be highlighted as iconic for its time. Credit should be given to these talented digital photographers:

You can find out what all of these great people are up to simply by checking the Saturday Scenes list which includes everyone who has participated by submitting a Saturday Scene this year.

If you’d like to join us, just take a photograph on Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with the location! It’s easy and fun and we love seeing new sights.

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