10 Art Facts that will make you a University Challenge Champion!

Now that you’ve gotten in the creative groove, spent your weekends painting your very own masterpieces and creating a stunning gallery wall, it’s time to kick it up a notch and become an art culture connoisseur! We’ve created a list of 10 art facts that will be sure to impress your friends in the next University Challenge quiz night!

Pablo Picasso accused of being an art thief!

After Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre in Paris on 21st August 1911, an investigation into its whereabouts led detectives to Pablo Picasso, who became a top suspect after information surfaced that he may have other stolen artworks in his possession. He was cleared of any possible connection to the theft, two years later, when police discovered the painting had been stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian artist who had been working at the Louvre.

Photo by Eric TERRADE via Unsplash

Art used to be an Olympic Event!

Unlike the modern Olympic Games that we know today, filled with only athletic competitions, the founder, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, thought a true Olympian was a talented artist and athlete. So between 1912 and 1948, the sought after International event also awarded medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music.

Image of Jean Jacoby's Corner, left, and Rugby via SmithsonianMag.com

Street Artist Banksy once stuck his own work to the wall in the Tate Modern Museum!

Known for his humorous art world stunts, artist Banksy glued his artwork, Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us, to the wall of the world-renowned museum in 2003 for a short period of time - which actually inspired other artists to do the same!

Image of Banksy's 'Crime Watch UK has Ruined the Countryside for All of Us' via Invaluable

Yves Klein Invented His Own Colour

Unsatisfied with all the colours for blue available, artist Yves Klein created and patented his own - International Klein Blue.

Image via Wikipedia

Mary Cassatt supported women’s suffrage

In support for the movement in 1915, artist Mary Cassatt exhibited 18 works. The showcase brought her into a family scuffle with her sister-in-law, who was actively against the movement and who boycotted the exhibition along with much of Philadelphia's high society. However, Cassatt responded by selling her work that would have otherwise passed on to that side of the family.

Image of Mary Cassatt, 1914 via nmwa.org

Warhol Liked to Keep Mummified Feet From Ancient Egypt in His Studio

Many stories surround the famous artist, Andy Warhol but this one is definitely one you will not forget. A known hoarder, Andy Warhol used to keep warehouses full of stuff and this particular item was later discovered to be in his possession, though it is unknown how he acquired it!

Photo by who?du!nelson via Unsplash. Artwork by Kobra Street Art.

Louise Bourgeois was a known Activist

Aligning herself with activists, Louise Bourgeois became a member of the Fight Censorship Group which was a feminist anti-censorship collective and she used her art to speak up for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality before she died in 2010.

Photo of Louise Bourgeois ©Courtesy of Rizzoli Electa via French-Amérique


Basquiat made his own Royalty

Known for challenging the history of Western art, Jean-Michel Basquiat made social and political statements within his work. By adorning black male figures, including athletes, musicians and writers, with the crown, Basquiat raised these historically disenfranchised artists to royal even saintly stature.

Image of Jean-Michel Basquiat via ilikeiwear.com

Van Gogh created almost 900 paintings in less than 10 years!

At the age of 27, Vincent Van Gogh decided to change his career and focus solely on his paintings. So, from November 1881 to July 1890, van Gogh produced close to 900 paintings!

Photo by Ståle Grut via Unsplash


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