Karl Benz

2013-11-25-14-07-31--2043000597Generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile, the German engineer & Automotive pioneer Karl Benz was born on November 25, 1844 in Mühlburg (Karlsruhe).Benz attended the local Grammar School in Karlsruhe. In 1853, at the age of nine he started at the scientifically oriented Lyceum. Next he studied at the Poly-Technical University. Benz had originally focused his studies on locksmithing, but went on to locomotive engineering. On September 30, 1860, at age fifteen, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. During these years, while riding his bicycle, he developed a vehicle that would eventually become the horseless carriage.After his formal education, Benz had seven years of professional training in several companies, starting in Karlsruhe with two years of varied jobs in a mechanical engineering company. He then moved to Mannheim to work as a draftsman and designer in a scales factory. In 1868 he went to Pforzheim to work for a bridge building company Gebrüder Benckiser Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik. Finally, he went to Vienna to work at an iron construction company.

At the age of twenty-seven, Karl Benz joined August Ritter at the Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop in Mannheim, later renamed Factory for Machines for Sheet-metal Working. Karl Benz led in the development of new engines & in 1878 he began to work on new patents. First creating a reliable petrol two-stroke engine. Other German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were also working on similar engines, but Benz was the first to make the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. Karl Benz showed genius, through his successive inventions registered while designing what would become the production standard for his two-stroke engine. Benz soon patented the speed regulation system, the ignition, the spark plug, the carburettor, the clutch, the gear shift, and the water radiator.

in 1882 The company became Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim, but Benz left in 1883 and got a job at a bicycle repair shop in Mannheim owned by Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger. In 1883, the three founded a new company producing industrial machines: Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, (Benz & Cie) which began producing static gas engines as well. Benz continued his ideas for a horseless carriage. Using a similar technology to that of motorcycles he created an automobile, which had wire wheels with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels and a very advanced coil ignition and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator. Power was transmitted by means of two roller chains to the rear axle. Karl Benz finished his creation in 1885 and named it the Benz Patent Motorwagen. This was the first automobile entirely designed to generate its own power, and not simply a motorized-stage coach or horse carriage.

Chequered

The next year Benz created the Motorwagen Model 2, which had several modifications, and in 1887, the definitive Model 3 with wooden wheels was introduced, showing at the Paris Expo the same year. Benz began to sell the vehicle making it the first commercially available automobile in history, then In Early 1888 another gear was added to The Motorwagen allowing it to climb hills. To generate publicity and demonstrate the feasibility of using the Benz Motorwagen for travel, Benz’s wife Bertha took her first long distance automobile trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim , using one of the vehicles.Having to locate pharmacies on the way to fuel up, and repairing various technical and mechanical problems during the journey, Including adding leather to the brake blocks to make them more effective thus inventing brake lining. She arrived at her destination and sent Karl Benz a Telgram announcing the fact & Today the event is considered world’s first long-distance journey by automobile.This event is celebrated every two years in Germany with an antique automobile rally called the Bertha Benz Memorial Route and is signposted from Mannheim via Heidelberg to Pforzheim (Black Forest) and back. Benz’s Model 3 made its debut at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. there was a great demand Benz’s vehicles and By 1899 Benz was the largest automobile company in the world. In 1893 Benz created a less expensive vehicle suitable for mass production – the Victoria. This was a two-passenger automobile with a 2.2 kW (3.0 hp) engine, which could reach the top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph) and had a pivotal front axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. The Benz Velo also participated in the world’s first automobile race, the 1894 Paris to Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th, after covering the 127 km (79 mi) in 10 hours 01 minute at an average speed of 12.7 km/h (7.9 mph). In 1895, Benz designed the first truck in history, some of these were subsequently modified to become the first motor buses.

In 1896, Karl Benz created the first flat engine. It had horizontally opposed pistons, where the corresponding pistons reach top dead centre simultaneously, thus balancing each other with respect to momentum. Flat engines with four or fewer cylinders are most commonly called boxer engines or horizontally opposed engines. This design is still used by Porsche, Subaru, and some high performance engines used in racing cars (Like the Subaru Impreza WRC) and BMW motorcycles. Competitions between  Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Stuttgart and Benz & Cie became intense. The main designer of DMG, Wilhelm Maybach, built the engine to the specifications of Emil Jellinek, who stipulated the new engine be named Daimler-Mercedes (after his daughter) and began racing the vehicles with great success. So Benz countered with the Parsifil, in 1903 with a vertical twin engine that achieved a top speed of 37 mph (60 km/h). In 1903 Karl Benz announced his retirement from design management but remained as director on the Board of Management through its merger with DMG in 1926 and, remained on the board of the new Daimler-Benz corporation until his death in 1929. Benz son Richard returned to the company in 1904 as the designer of passenger vehicles along with continuing as a director of Benz & Cie.

In 1906 Karl Benz, Bertha Benz, and their son, Eugen, then founded the private company, C. Benz Sons (German: Benz Söhne), producing automobiles and gas engines. The latter type was replaced by petrol engines because of lack of demand. The Benz Sons automobiles were of good quality and became popular in London as taxis.In 1909, the Blitzen Benz was built in Mannheim by Benz & Cie. The bird-beaked vehicle had a 21.5-liter (1312ci), 150 kW (200 hp) engine, and on November 9, 1909 in the hands of Victor Hémery of France, the land speed racer at Brooklands, set a record of 226.91 km/h (141.94 mph). on November 25, 1914, the seventy-year-old Karl Benz was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the Karlsruhe University, thereby becoming—Dr. Ing. h. c. Karl Benz.

sports car racing became a major method to gain publicity for manufacturers  and the Benz Velo participated in the first automobile race: Paris to Rouen. soon Unique race vehicles were being built. Including the Benz Tropfenwagen, which was introduced at the 1923 European Grand Prix at Monza and became the first mid-engine aerodynamically designed Racing car.In 1924 both Benz Cie and DMG started using standardized design, production, purchasing, sales, and advertising— marketing their automobile models jointly—although keeping their respective brands. Then in 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, naming all of its automobiles, Mercedes Benz, after ten-year-old Mercédès Jellinek. A new logo was created, consisting of a three pointed star (representing Daimler’s motto: “engines for land, air, and water”) with the laurels from the Benz logo. Sadly On April 4, 1929, Karl Benz passed away at his home in Ladenburg at the age of eighty-four from a bronchial inflammation.The Benz home is historic and is now used as a scientific meeting facility for the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation, which honors both Bertha and Karl Benz for their roles in the history of automobiles.

De Haviland DH98 Mosquito

De Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito

The First flight of the de Havilland Mosquito took place 25 November 1940.The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft with a two-man crew that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. The Mosquito was one of the few operational front-line aircraft of the World War II era to be constructed almost entirely of wood and, as such, was nicknamed “The Wooden Wonder”The Mosquito was also known affectionately as the “Mossie” to its crewsOriginally conceived as an unarmed fast bomber, the Mosquito was adapted to many other roles during the air war, including low- to medium-altitude daytimetactical bomber, high-altitude night bomber, pathfinder, day or night fighter,fighter-bomber, intruder, maritime strike aircraft, and fast photo-reconnaissance aircraft. It was also used by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) as a transport.When the Mosquito entered production in 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world. Entering widespread service in 1942, the Mosquito first operated as a high-speed, high-altitude photo-reconnaissance aircraft, and continued to operate in this role throughout the war.

From mid-1942 to mid-1943 Mosquito bombers were used in high-speed, medium- or low-altitude missions, attacking factories, railways and other pinpoint targets within Germany and German-occupied Europe. From late 1943, Mosquito bomber units were formed into the Light Night Strike Force and used as pathfinders for RAF Bomber Command’s heavy-bomber raids. They were also used as “nuisance” bombers, often dropping 4,000 lb (1,812 kg) “cookies”, in high-altitude, high-speed raids that German night fighters were almost powerless to intercept.As a night fighter, from mid-1942, the Mosquito was used to interceptLuftwaffe raids on the United Kingdom, most notably defeating the German aerial offensive, Operation Steinbock, in 1944. Offensively, starting in July 1942, some Mosquito night-fighter units conducted intruder raids overLuftwaffe airfields and, as part of 100 Group, the Mosquito was used as a night fighter and intruder in support of RAF Bomber Command’s heavy bombers, and played an important role in reducing bomber losses during 1944 and 1945.

as a fighter-bomber in the Second Tactical Air Force, the Mosquito took part in “special raids”, such as the attack on Amiens Prison in early 1944, and in other precision attacks against Gestapo or German intelligence and security forces. Second Tactical Air Force Mosquitos also played an important role operating in tactical support of the British Army during the 1944 Normandy Campaign. From 1943 Mosquitos were used by RAF Coastal Command strike squadrons, attacking Kriegsmarine U-boats(particularly in the 1943 Bay of Biscay offensive, where significant numbers of U-boats were sunk or damaged) and intercepting transport ship concentrations.The Mosquito saw service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other air forces in the European theatre, and the Mediterraneanand Italian theatres. The Mosquito was also used by the RAF in the South East Asian theatre, and by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) based in the Halmaheras and Borneo during the Pacific War.

Martin B26 Marauder

On 25 November1940 The Martin B-26 Marauder.made its first fight. The Martin B-26 Marauder was a World War II twin-engined medium bomber built by the Glenn L. Martin Company. First used in the Pacific Theater in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and inWestern Europe.After entering service with the U.S. Army, the aircraft received the reputation of a “Widowmaker” due to the early models’ high rate of accidents during takeoff and landings. The Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach and when one engine was out. The 150 mph (241 km/h) speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to pilots who were used to much slower speeds, and whenever they slowed down below what the manual stated, the aircraft would stall and crash.

The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder).After aerodynamic and design changes, the aircraft distinguished itself as “the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front” according to a United States Army Air Forces dispatch from 1946. The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any USAAF bomber.A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent service separate from the Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from US service. The Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the B-26 designation.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 25 has been designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations General Assembly. The date marks the day when the Mirabal Sisters (Patria, Minerva,Maria &Dede) who were Dominican political dissidents and activists, were assassinated on 25th November 1960 for opposing the dictatorship of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). Rafael Trujillo, was the country’s president from 1930 to 1938 and from 1942 to 1952, but ruled as a dictator from 1930 to his assassination in 1961.

Minerva Mirabal studied law in order to earn a Law Degree and become a Lawyer, and became involved in the political movement against Rafael Trujillo after she was refused a licence to practice law because she declined Trujillo’s romantic advances.Her sisters followed suit, first Maria Teresa, who joined after staying with Minerva and learning about their activities, and then Patria, who joined after witnessing a massacre by some of Trujillo’s men . Dedé joined later, due to having been held back by her husband Jaimito, and they formed a group called the Movement of the Fourteenth of June (named after the date of the massacre Patria witnessed), to oppose the Trujillo regime. They distributed pamphlets about the many people whom Trujillo had killed, and obtained materials for guns and bombs to use when they finally openly revolted. Within the group, the Mirabals called themselves Las Mariposas (“The Butterflies”), after Minerva’s underground name. Minerva and Maria Teresa were incarcerated Amid mounting international opposition to Trujillo’s regime. Three of the sisters’ husbands (who were also involved in the underground activities) were incarcerated at La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo. Despite these setbacks, they persisted in fighting to end Trujillo’s leadership.In 1960, the Organization of American States condemned Trujillo’s actions and sent observers. Minerva and Maria Teresa were freed, but their husbands remained in prison.

Sadly On November 25, 1960, while Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and driver Rufino de la Cruz were visiting Patria and Minerva’s incarcerated husbands, they were stopped by Trujillo’s henchmen. The sisters and the driver were separated and were clubbed to death. The bodies were then gathered and put in their Jeep where it was run off the mountain road to look like an accident. After Trujillo was assassinated in May 1961, General Pupo Román admitted to having personal knowledge that the sisters were killed by Victor Alicinio and Peña Rivera, who were Trujillo’s right-hand men. The sisters’ assassinations “had greater effect on Dominicans than most of Trujillo’s other crimes”, noting that “it did something to their machismo” and paved the way for Trujillo’s own assassination six months later.

After the death of her sisters, Dedé Mirabal devoted her life to the legacy of her sisters. She raised her sisters’ six children, including Minou Tavárez Mirabal, Minerva’s daughter, who served as deputy for the National District in the lower House since 2002 and served as deputy foreign minister from 1996 to 2000. Of her own three children, Jaime David Fernández Mirabal, is the current Minister for Environment and Natural Resources and former vice president of the Dominican Republic. In 1992, she founded the Mirabal Sisters Foundation and in 1994 the Mirabal Sisters Museum in her hometown Salcedo. She published a book, Vivas en su Jardín, on August 25, 2009. She lived in the house where the sisters were born in Salcedo until her death.

The Mirabal sisters were eventually recognised as Public Martyrs and there are many homages to the Mirabal sisters, including an exhibition of their belongings at the National Museum of History and Geography and the transformation of Trujillo’s obelisk into a mural dedicated in their honor. Since 1981Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women and The UN has invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem which affects Women around the world, who are subject to rape, mental cruelty, domestic violence and other forms of violence. There is more information about the history of this day, and publications relating to violence against women, at the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the The UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women).W

Toulouse Lautrec

408px-Henri_de_Toulouse-Lautrec_002Post impressionist French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born 24 November 1864. Henri’s parents, the Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (Henri’s two grandmothers were sisters) and unfortunately Henri suffered from congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of inbreeding. At the age of 13 Henri fractured his right thigh bone and, at 14, the left.The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown genetic disorder, possibly pycnodysostosis (also sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome), or a variant disorder along the lines of osteopetrosis, achondroplasia, or osteogenesis imperfecta. Rickets aggravated with praecox virilism has also been suggested. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was extremely short. He had developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs. He is reported to have had hypertrophied genitals.

Physically unable to participate in many activities typically enjoyed by men of his age, Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art. He became an important Post-Impressionistpainter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer, and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine Le Rire during the mid-1890s.After failing college entrance exams, Henri passed at his second attempt and completed his studies. During a stay in Nice his progress in painting and drawing impressed Princeteau, who persuaded his parents to let him return to Paris and study under the acclaimed portrait painter Léon Bonnat. Henri’s mother had high ambitions and, with the aim of Henri becoming a fashionable and respected painter, used the family influence to get him into Bonnat’s studio.Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Henri in the heart of Montmartre, an area he rarely left over the next 20 years.

After Bonnat took a new job, Henri moved to the studio of Fernand Cormon in 1882 and studied for a further five years and established the group of friends he kept for the rest of his life. At this time he met Émile Bernard and Van Gogh. Cormon, whose instruction was more relaxed than Bonnat’s, allowed his pupils to roam Paris, looking for subjects to paint. In this period Toulouse-Lautrec had his first encounter with a prostitute (reputedly sponsored by his friends), which led him to paint his first painting of prostitutes in Montmartre, a woman rumoured to be called Marie-Charlotte.La Toilette. in 1887 he participated in an exposition in Toulouse using the pseudonym “Tréclau”, an anagram of the family name ‘Lautrec’. He later exhibited in Paris with Van Gogh and Louis Anquetin. The Belgian critic Octave Maus invited him to present eleven pieces at the Vingt (the Twenties) exhibition in Brussels in February. Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Theo bought ‘Poudre de Riz’ (Rice Powder) for 150 francs for the Goupil & Ciegallery.

From 1889 until 1894, Henri took part in the “Independent Artists’ Salon” on a regular basis. He made several landscapes of Montmartre, painting a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin, the red-head model who appears in The Laundress (1888) in the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret.Toulouse-Lautrec was also commissioned to produce a series of posters for the Moulin Rouge.  Other artists looked down on the work, but Henri was so aristocratic he did not care. The cabaret reserved a seat for him and displayed his paintings. Among the well-known works that he painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs are depictions of the singer Yvette Guilbert; the dancer Louise Weber, known as the outrageousLa Goulue (“The Glutton”), who created the “French Can-Can”; and the much more subtle dancer Jane Avrill. Toulouse-Lautrec also travelled to London. Making posters in London led him to making the ‘Confetti’ poster, and the bicycle advert ‘La Chaîne Simpson’.While in London he met and befriended Oscar Wilde. When Wilde faced imprisonment in Britain, Henri was a very vocal supporter of Wilde. Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrait of Wilde was painted the same year as Wilde’s trial.

Throughout his career, Toulouse-Lautrec created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and an unknown number of lost works. His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. His style was influenced by the classical Japanese woodprints which became popular in art circles in Paris. In his works can be seen parallels to Manet’s detached barmaid at A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas. He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the colour and the movement of the gaudy night-life present but the glamour stripped away. He was masterly at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized. At the time that they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded. His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, scenes of Parisian night-life, or intimate studies, has been described as both sympathetic and dispassionate.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s skilled depiction of people relied on his painterly style which is highly linear and gives great emphasis to contour. He often applied the paint in long, thin brushstrokes which would often leave much of the board on which they are painted showing through. Many of his works may best be described as drawings in coloured paint. Due to his illness Lautrec was rather short and was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.At first this was beer and wine, but his tastes expanded. He was one of the notable Parisians who enjoyed American-style cocktails, France being a nation of wine purists. He had parties at his house on Friday nights and forced his guests to try them. The invention of the cocktail “Earthquake” or Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half cognac (in a wine goblet, 3 parts Absinthe and 3 parts Cognac, sometimes served with ice cubes or shaken in a cocktail shaker filled with ice).In 1893 Lautrec’s alcoholism began to take its toll, and as those around him realized the seriousness of his condition there were rumours of a syphilis infection. In 1899 his mother and some concerned friends had him briefly institutionalised. He even had a cane that hid alcohol so that a drink was always available.

Toulouse Lautrec Sadly passed away 9 September 1901. His immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 1800s yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie’s auction house, a new record was set when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million U.S. Toulouse Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death and died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the family estate in Malromé at the age of 36. He is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometres from the Château Malromé, where he died. After His death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum owns the world’s largest collection of works by the painter.

Diego Rivera

DiegoRiveraControversial Mexican painter Diego Rivera sadly passed away on 24th November 1957. Born Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez on December 8, 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico. He was a prominent Mexican painter who became an active communist, and His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. He arrived in Europe in 1907, and studied in Madrid, Spain, and from there went to Paris to live and work in Montparnasse where cubism in paintings by such eminent painters as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque was becoming popular, & Rivera embraced this new school of art,later, inspired by Cézanne’s paintings, Rivera shifted toward Post-Impressionism with simple forms and large patches of vivid colors. His paintings began to attract attention, and he was able to display them at several exhibitions.In 1920, Rivera traveled through Italy studying its art, including Renaissance frescoes. He returned to Mexico in 1921 to become involved in the government sponsored Mexican mural program planned by Vasconcelos and painted his first significant mural Creation in the Bolívar Auditorium of the National Preparatory School in Mexico City

In the autumn of 1922, Rivera participated in the founding of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors, and also joined the Mexican Communist Party . His murals, subsequently painted in fresco only, dealt with Mexican society and reflected the country’s 1910 Revolution. Rivera developed his own native style based on large, simplified figures and bold colors with an Aztec influence clearly present in murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City.In the autumn of 1927, Rivera arrived in Moscow,to take part in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution & painted a mural for the Red Army Club in Moscow, but in 1928 he was expelled and returned to Mexico where he was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party too. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was also held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.Some of Rivera’s most famous murals are featured at the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo near Texcoco, in the Cortés Palace in Cuernavaca, and the National Palace in Mexico City. In 1930, Rivera accepted an invitation from architect Timothy L. Pflueger to paint for him in San Francisco. After arriving in November Rivera painted a mural for the City Club of the San Francisco Stock Exchange and a fresco for the California School of Fine Art, later relocated to what is now the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute.

In November 1931, Rivera had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Between 1932 and 1933, he completed a famous series of fresco panels entitled Detroit Industry on the walls of an inner court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. ”Rivera’s radical political beliefs, attacks on the church and clergy made him a controversial figure even in communist circles. His mural Man at the Crossroads, for the Rockefeller Center in New York City, was removed after a furor erupted in the press over a portrait of Vladimir Lenin it contained. As a result of the negative publicity, a further commission to paint a mural for an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair was canceled. In December 1933, Rivera returned to Mexico, & repainted Man at the Crossroads in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1940, Rivera returned for the last time to the US to paint a ten-panel mural for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco & The mural and its archives reside at City College of San Francisco. In addition to controversial political views Diego Rivera was an atheist who considered religions to be a form of collective neurosis and some of his work caused controversy particularly his mural Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda depicted Ignacio Ramírez holding a sign which read, “God does not exist”. This painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription. He stated: “To affirm ‘God does not exist’, I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez .” Sadly Rivera eventually passed away on November 24 in 1957.

Freddie Mercury (Queen)

freddie-mercuryWidely considered as one of the greatest vocalists in popular music, The late great Freddie Mercury passed away on November 24th 1991. Best known as the lead singer for the rock band Queen. He is remembered for his powerful vocal abilities and charisma as a live performer. Mercury’s songs included elements of rockabilly, heavy metal and disco, and he wrote ten out of the seventeen songs on Queen’s Greatest Hits album, including Seven Seas Of Rhye, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody To Love, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, We Are The Champions, Bicycle Race, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Play The Game.

born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town on the African island of Unguja, Mercury attended St. Peter’s boarding school near Bombay (Mumbai) where he learned to play piano and joined his first band, The Hectics. He completed his education in India at St. Mary’s High School in Mazagon before returning to Zanzibar. Freddie came to England in 1964 and earned a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design at Ealing Art College & later used these skills to design the Queen crest. Freddie Mercury possessed a very distinctive voice. His recorded vocal range spanned nearly four octaves (falsetto included), with his lowest recorded note being the F below the bass clef and his highest recorded note being the D that lies nearly four octaves above. In addition to vocal range, Despite not having any vocal training Mercury often delivered technically difficult songs in a powerful manner and Compared to many rock songwriters, many of Freddie Mercury’s songs were also musically complex. ,Despite the fact that Mercury often wrote very intricate harmonies, he claimed that he could barely read music and wrote most of his songs on the piano, often choosing keys that were technically difficult. Mercury also possessed rudimentary skills on the guitar & wrote many lines and riffs for the instrument, including many of those heard in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also wrote “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” on the guitar.

In addition to his work with Queen, Mercury produced two solo albums, Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona, The former was a pop-oriented album that emphasized disco and dance and was heavily synthesizer-driven in a way that was uncharacteristic of previous Queen albums, While “Barcelona” was recorded with the opera singer Montserrat Caballé, whom Mercury had long admired. Sadly “Mr. Bad Guy” was not considered a commercial success relative to most Queen albums. Although a remix of “Living On My Own”, a single from the album garnered Mercury a posthumous Ivor Novello Award. “Barcelona”, combined elements of popular music and opera. Caballé considered the album to have been one of the great successes of her career and said of Mercury, “He was not only a popular singer, he was a musician, that could sit at the piano and compose. In September of 2006, a compilation album featuring Mercury’s solo work was released in the UK.

Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in the spring of 1987 but continued to deny that he had the disease. Despite this there were many rumours fueled by Mercury’s increasingly gaunt appearance during the last years of his life, particularly in his last appearance on film, the These Are The Days Of Our Lives promo video, which suggested serious illness. On November 23, he issued a statement confirming that he had been tested HIV positive and had AIDS, but I felt it correct to keep this information private to protect the privacy of those around me, and hoped that people would join in the fight against this terrible disease. A little over 24 hours after issuing the statement, Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. Mercury’s funeral was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest and he was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery. the whereabouts of his ashes are unknown, although some believe them to have been dispersed into Lake Geneva, or in his family’s possession. The remaining members of Queen founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust, and organised The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

Freddie Mercury has consistently ranked in the number one position on a list of the 100 greatest rock vocalists. In a list of the greatest English language singers of the 20th century, compiled by BBC Radio, he was the highest-ranked hard rock vocalist, . He also came in second in MTV’s list of the 22 greatest singers of the past 25 years. In 2006, Time Asia magazine voted Mercury as one of the most influential Asians in the past 60 years. The 1999 Millennium Poll, in which six hundred thousand Britons participated, he was voted into the number 14 and 15 spots as a popular musician and songwriter, respectively. Mercury ranked at No. 58 in the 2002 list of “100 Greatest Britons”, sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public. Two of Mercury’s songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are The Champions” have each been claimed, in separate polls, as the world’s favourite song, another poll of six hundred thousand people in sixty-six different countries found “We Are The Champions” to be the world’s most popular tune. This contradicts another major poll by Guinness World, which had previously found “Bohemian Rhapsody” to be the world’s most popular song of the past 50 years. He was also highly thought of by other people too, including Monserrat Caballe, Rock star David Bowie, with whom he recorded the song “Under Pressure”, Comedian Mike Myers, whose movie Wayne’s World introduced “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a new generation of listeners and Annie Lennox, who said of Mercury: “Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest, he had theatricality, he was larger than life, new, fresh, cool. This is a god that walks as man