April 08, 2021

#ThrowbackThursday – 8 April

Some say that life imitates art, while others argue that art imitates life. As these five historical events which occurred on 8 April show us, both life and art can be wonderful, thought-provoking and downright bizarre at times:

1820 – The Discovery of Venus de Milo

Two centuries ago, a Turkish peasant named Yorgos Kentrotas discovered a marble statue inside a buried niche within the ancient city ruins of Milos. Believed to be created between 100 BC and 130 BC by Greek sculptor, Alexandros of Antioch, the statue was noticeably missing two things – its arms.

Dubbed “Venus de Milo”, the statue depicts Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Even without its arms – one of which was found in fragments, but was hastily disposed – it has become an iconic symbol of pop culture. It now resides at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

1973 – The Death of Picasso

On a late Sunday morning, Pablo Picasso – then aged 91 – died of a heart attack in the presence of his second wife, Jacqueline, and his son, Paolo, at his chateau on the French Riviera.

A pioneer of the Cubism art movement, Picasso is said to have produced approximately 20 000 paintings, sculptures and drawings during his lifetime, including “La Vie”, “Guernica” and “The Weeping Woman”.

After the Spaniard’s death, his estate – which was estimated to range between $100 and $250 million – was fought over by his family for six years. As for his artistic legacy, however, it is regarded by critics and admirers as priceless.

1986 – How “Dirty Harry” Became Mayor Eastwood

Five years after Ronald Reagan made the swap from the silver screen to the White House, Clint Eastwood also decided to make the move to politics.

Polling 2 166 votes against the 799 votes, Eastwood – then 55 – was elected mayor of his home town, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Per reports, he spent $40 000 on his election campaign, which included merchandise branded with his famous “Dirty Harry” catchphrase, “Make my day.”

Over his two-year term, Eastwood sought to relax the strict controls on local businesses, installed more public stairways and toilets, and expanded the offerings of the local library. He also donated his $200-a-month salary to Carmel’s youth centre.

1999 – “Titanic” Goes to Vegas

In front of several investors and travel writers, entrepreneur Bob Stupak pitched a very controversial idea: to recreate the doomed “RMS Titanic” as a hotel and casino attraction in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stupak explained that the replica ship would be more than one million square feet in size with 1 200 cabins and hotel suites, as well as a public area designed to offer themed tourist attractions, such as the “Ice Cave Tunnels” and “Club Icebreaker.” It would also float in real water.

Thankfully, the $1.2-billion project sank before it even started, as it was rejected by the Las Vegas City Council.

2014 – A Not-So-Paltry Purchase for Poultry Porcelain

For $36 million, a Chinese businessman named Liu Yiqian won the bid for a small, white and extremely valuable “chicken cup” – so-called because its porcelain surface is decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks.

Made during the 15th-century reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, the cup is one of only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private collections and the rest housed in museums.

Liu’s poultry purchase is now located at his Long Museum in Shanghai, China.

Image Credit: Source