Wikipedia:Main Page history/2011 August 22

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The Magdalen Reading

The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th century oil-on-oak altarpiece by the early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. Completed some time between 1435 and 1438, it has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyebrows typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. The woman is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which, according to the Gospels, she used to clean Christ's feet. The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalen and the kneeling figure with bare feet protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. The original altarpiece was a sacra conversazione known only through a drawing, Virgin and Child with Saints. The panel was purchased by the National Gallery from a collector in Paris. It is described by art historian Lorne Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century art and among van der Weyden's most important early works." (more...)

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A wide placid river flows through the woods.

Seventy-six of the longest rivers and creeks of the U.S. state of Oregon run for at least 50 miles (80 km). All of these streams originate in the United States except the longest, the Columbia, which begins in the Canadian province of British Columbia and flows 1,249 miles (2,010 km) to the sea near Astoria. The Snake River—second-longest at 1,040 miles (1,670 km)—is the only other stream of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to pass through Oregon; the Snake begins in Wyoming and also flows through parts of Idaho and Washington. Some of the other streams also cross the borders between Oregon and California, Nevada, Idaho, and Washington, but most flow entirely within Oregon. (more...)

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Koala and joey

A female koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) with her joey clinging to her back. At birth the joey is hairless, blind, and earless, and only about 20 mm (0.79 in) long. It remains hidden in the pouch for about six months, feeding only on milk. During this time it will grow ears, eyes, and fur. The joey will remain with its mother for another six months or so, riding on her back, and feeding on both milk and eucalypt leaves until weaning is complete at about 12 months of age.

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