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Unusual, unique, and uncommon facts about a diversity of subjects:

Trivia about art and architecture


(44 facts)

Although construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg started in 1015, it was not until 1439 that the spire was completed.

Ancient Chinese artists would never paint pictures of women’s feet.

At the age of 26, Michelangelo began sculpting his monumental statue of David. He finished it seventeen months later, in January, 1504.

Currently the world's tallest building is the Petronas Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Petronas Towers measures 1,483ft.

During a severe windstorm or rainstorm the Empire State Building may sway several feet to either side.

England's Stonehenge is 1500 years older than Rome's Colosseum.

Evard Ericksen sculpted “The Little Mermaid” statue which is located in Copenhagen harbor.

First occupied by John Adams in 1800, the White House has witnessed one presidential wedding, five first-family weddings, 11 births, and seven presidential funerals. Recent additions include John F. Kennedy’s swimming pool, Richard Nixon’s bowling alley, and Bill Clinton’s running track

Frederic-August Bartholdi sculpted The Statue of Liberty.

Hoover Dam is 726 feet tall and 660 feet thick at its base. Enough rock was excavated in its construction to build the Great Wall of China. Contrary to old wives' tales, no workers were buried in the dam's concrete.

If any of the heads on Mt. Rushmore had a body, it would be nearly 500 feet tall.

In 1925, the 1st motel -- the "Motel Inn" -- opened in San Luis Obispo, California.

Jayne Mansfield decorated her "Pink Palace" by writing to 1,500 furniture and building suppliers and asking for free samples. She told the donors they could then brag that their goods were in her outlandish mansion. The pitch worked, and Jayne received over $150,000 worth of free merchandise.

Leonardo DaVinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503. He was still working on the painting when he emigrated to France in 1516 and is believed to have finished it three years later, just before he died. The painting has remained in France ever since and is owned by the state. It once hung in Napoleon's bedroom.

Nobody is buried in Grant’s tomb. President & Mrs. Grant are entombed there. A body is buried only when it is placed in the ground and covered with dirt.

On July 28th, 1945, a US Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York's Empire State Building, killing 14 people.

Pablo Picasso's career lasted seventy-eight years, from 1895 until his death in 1973.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet high.

The Eiffel Tower receives a fresh coat of 300 tons of reddish-green paint every seven years.

The estimated weight of the Great Pyramid of Egypt is 6,648,000 tons.

The extended right arm of the Statue of Liberty is 42 feet long.

The first footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater (now Mann's Chinese Theater), were made by Norma Talmadge in 1927. Legend has it that she accidentally stepped in wet concrete outside the building. Since then, over 180 stars have been immortalized, along with their hands and feet and even noses (Jimmy Durante).

The great Gothic cathedral of Milan was started in 1386, and wasn’t completed until 1805.

The Hoover Dam was built to last 2,000 years. The concrete in it will not even be fully cured for another 500 years.

The largest movie theater in the world, Radio City Music Hall in New York City, opened in December, 1932. It originally had 5,945 seats

The largest stained-glass window in the world is at Kennedy International Airport in New York City. It can be seen on the American Airlines terminal building and measures 300 feet long by 23 feet high

The Mona Lisa, by daVinci, is 2’6” by 1’9”.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City hung Matisse's ‘Le Bateau’ upside-down for 47 days before an art student noticed the error.

The official name of the St. Louis Gateway Arch is "The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial." The Gateway Arch looks taller than it is wider, but it is exactly 630 feet by 630 feet.

The only one of his sculptures that Michelangelo signed was the “The Pieta,” completed in 1500.

The painting, “American Gothic” depicts the sister and the dentist of artist Grant Wood as rural farm folk.

The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City in 1885 aboard the French ship "Isere."

The Statue of Liberty weighs 225 tons.

The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1630 by Shah Jehan to honor his wife Mumtaz, who died in childbirth.

The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. The three secondary colors are green, orange and purple.

The world's largest art gallery is the Winter Palace and Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Visitors would have to walk 15 miles to see the 322 galleries which house nearly 3 million works of art.

The world's largest Gothic cathedral is in new York City. It is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street. The cathedral measures 601 feet long, 146 feet wide, and has a transept measuring 320 feet from end to end.

There are 1,792 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

There are 132 rooms in the US White House.

There are 403 steps from the foundation to the top of the torch in the Statue of Liberty.

Until the time of Michelangelo, many sculptors colored their statues, and most from ancient Greece and Rome at one time had been painted or “polychromed.” Over the course of years, rain washed the colors off the marble.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt are the four US presidents whose faces are carved on Mt. Rushmore.

Work on St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, began in 1506. Construction took over a century, reaching completion in 1612.

X-ray technology has shown there are 3 different versions of the Mona Lisa under the visible one.

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