A cabinet of noses

On display in Copenhagen, Denmark's Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum is this glass display case filled with noses of myriad shapes and sizes. Why?

According to curator Anne Marie Nielsen, noses on 19th century statues are notoriously fragile and would frequently break off. So the owners of the statues (or perhaps even prior museum curators) would replace them with marble or plaster replicas. Nowadays though, the museum removes any replacement noses because they only want to display the original sculptures, faults and all.

“About 20 years ago, the museum had a box filled with noses [in our archives], and we weren’t sure what to do with them,” Nielsen tells Smithsonian.com. “We decided to group them together and put them [on display].” Read the rest

Driver sees woman covered in snow on park bench and calls ambulance, finds out woman isn't human

A concerned UK citizen called an ambulance from their car after spotting a person covered in snow, sitting stone still on a bench in the middle of a park. The ambulance rushed to the scene, only to find that the "person" was sitting stone still for a reason – she was actually a statue.

Paramedic Katie Tudor explained the mixup in a tweet:

According to Mashable:

"Somebody in their car spotted who they thought was a person covered in snow and called us," a West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman told ITV news. "An ambulance arrived straight away and our crew was there for exactly minute and one second."

"The woman who called us had good intentions," he continued, "but it’s unfortunate that she didn’t go over to check first that it wasn’t a statue."

The statue is actually called "The Lady in the Park" and according to Brampton Park's website she was erected to commemorate "all the women in Newcastle-under-Lyme who lost husbands, sons and friends in the First World War and subsequent conflicts."

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"Time capsule" letters from 18th century found in Jesus's butt

Preservationists restoring an 18th century statue of Jesus that was hanging in Burgos, Spain's church of St. Águeda found a two handwritten letters tucked into the figure's buttocks. Dated 1777, the notes were written by chaplin Joaquín Mínguez from the Burgo de Osma cathedral. The letters will be archived by the office of the Archibishop of Burgos while copies were put back into the statue's bottom. From National Geographic:

In his letters, Mínguez paints a picture of the region's day-to-day economic and cultural activity. The chaplain first notes that the statue was created by a man named Manuel Bal, who created other wooden statues for churches in the region. He then describes the successful harvests of various grains like wheat, rye, oats, and barley and stores of wine.

Mínguez also names diseases like malaria and typhoid fever plaguing the village during this time period, but adds that cards and balls were used for entertainment.

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Forget filters, this artist adds real flower crowns to statues

Flower-bombing is the new yarn-bombing if Geoffroy Mottart has his way. He creates flower crowns and beards for statues around Brussels, then posts his handiwork online. Read the rest

Why old statues have tiny penises

There's an obvious answer to the smallness of statues' penises: the manners and religious prudishness of classical elites. But the issue is more about differing standards of beauty and modern mens' penis anxiety, writes Ellen Oredsson. Which is to say that smaller penises were once regarded as ideal, and many real penises aren't any bigger than the ones on the statues.

...small penises were more culturally valued is that large penises were associated with very specific characteristics: foolishness, lust and ugliness. There are actually quite a few ancient Greek sculptures that have enormous penises. Here’s one:

Small dicks are, then, associated with reason and logic. The argument gets strained when applied to the western renaissance, where imitation and idealism intersect more sharply with religious sentiment. Read the rest

Swapping faces with statues is rather disturbing

JakeMarshall91 went to a museum and face-swapped with statues. The results are strangely horrifying and wonderful.

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Nude statues at Rome museum covered to not embarrass Iranian president

Classical nude statues at Italy's Capitoline Museum were covered up this week in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit. Some politicians and art critics called out the stupidity. From The Telegraph:

The president’s aides were also reportedly anxious that he not be photographed too close to a giant bronze statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback.

The Iranians objected to what one Italian newspaper delicately described as “the attributes” or genitalia of the huge horse, which dates from the second century AD.

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Greek statue from 110 BCE of a girl showing her mom a laptop computer

Or in Italian, "Arte greca, pietra tombale di donna con la sua schiavetta, databile al 100 a.C. circa." Read the rest

Religious statue has human teeth

An 18th century statue of the Lord of Patience in San Bartolo Cuautlalpan, Mexico has human teeth, specialists restoring the artwork have discovered through X-rays. From BBC News:

"The teeth were probably donated as a token of gratitude," suggests head restorer Fanny Unikel. Elsewhere in Mexico, parishioners are known to have volunteered their hair to make wigs for saints, as well as clothing or money. But the teeth and nails of statues are usually made of bones and animal horns. "It's the first time human teeth have been found in a sculpture," says Unikel.

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Statues in Motion

Shot at 240 frames per second, Li Hongbi's statues seem at first look to be a bizarre computer-graphic effect. But they are in fact incredible paper sculptures, a concertina of countless layers stretched this way and that. [Video link, via] Read the rest