History: Mona Lisa stolen in 1911

History: Mona Lisa stolen in 1911

On this day in 1911, the famed Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen by a Louvre employee. It was recovered 2 years later in December 1913 in Italy.

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Today is National Lighthouse Day

Today is National Lighthouse Day

Observed annually on August 7, National Lighthouse Day honors the beacon of light that for hundreds of years symbolized safety and security for ships and boats at sea. At one time, the beacon of light could be found across almost all of America’s shorelines.

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Today in History: Alphonse Maria Mucha is born in 1860

Today in History: Alphonse Maria Mucha is born in 1860

160 years ago today, the talented Czech Art Nouveau poster artist, illustrator, and designer was born. Mucha initially worked as a theatrical scene painter in Vienna before a benefactor discovered his talents and financed his art studies in Munich and Paris. Mucha stayed in Paris where he designed his first posters. His breakthrough came in 1894 when he created the famous Gismonda poster starring Sarah Bernhardt. The actress was so impressed with Mucha’s work that she offered him a 6-year contract which paved the road for the artist’s subsequent success. Over the next 15 years, Mucha became the model Art Nouveau artist, creating posters, advertisements, calendars, postcards, and magazine and book illustrations. His work typically featured beautiful women surrounded by elaborate flowers. Mucha returned to live in Czechoslovakia around 1910 where he produced his masterpiece, a set of 20 mural paintings, the Slav Epic, depicting the history of his nation. He died in 1939, several months after being arrested and interrogated by the Nazis, following Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia.

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Today in History: Marilyn Monroe born in 1926

Today in History: Marilyn Monroe born in 1926
Today is the birthday of American actress, model and sex-symbol, Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson). A supporting role in the film “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950) marked Monroe’s breakthrough in Hollywood. Films like “Niagara” (1953), “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), and “Some Like It Hot” (1959) made her to one of the most successful movie stars of the 1950s.Monroe was found dead from a drug overdose on August 5, 1962 in her home in Brentwood, California. She was 36 years old.

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Art History: Eugene Grasset born in 1845

Art History: Eugene Grasset born in 1845

The acclaimed Swiss decorative poster artist would turn 175 years old if he were still alive today. Grasset (25 May 1845 – 23 October 1917) studied drawing and architecture and worked as a painter and sculptor before he moved to Paris in 1871. It was not until the late 1870s that Grasset became interested in graphic design. He created  his first posters in the mid- to late-1880s. Grasset was famous for his classical portrayal of women. His poster works are considered cornerstones of the Art Nouveau movement.

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Today in History: Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday

Today in History: Marilyn Monroe sings Happy Birthday

On this day in in 1962, Marilyn Monroe performed a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday during a fund-raiser at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The two were believed to have been engaged in an affair. The dress she wore that night was noted for being sheer and flesh colored with 2500 rhinestones sewn into it and designed by Jean Louis. The dress sold in 1999 at auction in New York for over US$1.26 million.

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Today in History: Munich Secession Movement formed in 1892

Today in History: Munich Secession Movement formed in 1892

In Munich, a group of some 100 artists split off from the mainstream Munich Artists’ Association and founded the Munich Secession (“Verein Bildender Künstler Münchens e.V. Secession”). The group’s progressive outlook had an eye toward exhibiting at the upcoming World’s Columbian Exposition. They called for a transformation in the ideas of what constitutes art and promoted the idea of an artists’ freedom to present works directly to the public. Among the circle were such renowned artists as Peter Behrens, Josef Block, Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann, Franz von Stuck, and Fritz von Unruh.

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Today in History: Ireland Bans Smoking in Workplace

Today in History: Ireland Bans Smoking in the Workplace

In 2004, Ireland becomes the first country to ban smoking in all workplaces. Contrary to initial concerns, the ban had no adverse economic effects, and soon several other countries passed similar legislation. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco smoke is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally.

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Today in History: Art Nouveau conquers Vienna in 1918

Today in History: Art Nouveau conquers Vienna in 1918
122 years ago today, the first exhibition of the “Secession” art movement opened in Vienna. This Austrian artists’ association wanted to set itself apart from the established art business and created the basis for the Viennese Art Nouveau.

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Today in History: German Green Party formed in 1980

Today in History: German Green Party formed in 1980

In the 1970s, environmentalists and peace activists politically organized amongst thousands of action groups. The political party The Greens (German: Die Grünen) was founded on January 12/13, 1980 in Karlsruhe to give this movement political and parliamentary representation. Opposition to pollution, use of nuclear power, NATO military action, and certain aspects of industrialized society were principal campaign issues.

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