" If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. "
John F. Kennedy

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History

Joseph Bonaparte Named King of Spain

The elder brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte served as king of Naples during Napoleon's reign, abolishing feudalism and reorganizing the judicial, financial, and educational systems. He was named king of Spain in 1808, but his reforms there were less successful, and he abdicated in 1813 and returned to France. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Joseph lived in the US and later in Italy. What creature from American folklore was Joseph said to have encountered while in the US?

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The Minaret

Most mosques have one or more towers, called minarets, from which a muezzin calls Muslims to prayer. The earliest building to bear structures specifically built as minarets was Egypt's Mosque of Amr. Built in 643 CE, it possessed four square towers at its corners. Not all minarets are square, however, there are also octagonal, cylindrical, and conical minarets. Styles vary regionally and by period. How many times does the muezzin issue the call to prayer each day?

Born on a day like today

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Diego Velázquez

The most celebrated painter of the Spanish school, Velázquez was one of the outstanding artists of the 17th century. His early works were mostly religious or genre scenes. After arriving in Madrid in 1623, he painted a portrait of King Philip IV that won him immediate success and an appointment as court painter. Notable among his portraits is his masterpiece, Las MeninasThe Maids of Honor. Why is there debate about who the true subject of the painting is?

Last updated on Monday, 6th June 2011

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