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Welcome to Curious History - Named one of the 20 best Tumblrs by MSN. The world is filled with strange and natural wonders. You will find them here. Please consider a small donation (upper left corner)!

Incredible Hyper Realistic Paintings

These amazing photograph-like paintings could easily fool anyone, even with a most discerning eye. Patrick Kramer studied art at Brigham Young University in his home state of Utah. There he continued to focus on realism, improving his technical skills and craftsmanship. Becoming more and more detailed, his work began to rival that of the photograph.

“I came to realize that the appeal of representational painting since the advent of photography is due in a large part to the painting process. Although the image itself may come to resemble an ordinary photograph, a psychological intensity can be felt in the handmade work, as the artist’s laboriously slow method, intense concentration, and myriad of artistic decisions lie behind the creation of the image. In my work, I hope the viewer senses this tension between photography and the handmade – the instantaneous and the prolonged, the ubiquitous and the unique, the impartial and the personal.”

sources 1, 2

The Amazing Illustrations of Gary Taxali

One of illustration’s most original stars author, artist and painter, Gary Taxali’s work is inspired by vintage comics and period advertisements. His art seeks to twist the conventional and highlight life’s constant paradoxes. His work extends to a wide variety of mediums: the Royal Canadian Mint released 6 coins with his designs, his characters have been made into toys, he has several children’s books to his credit, and he has been nominated for a Grammy Award for his cover art on Aimee Mann’s album. Taxali lives and works in Toronto, Canada but is originally from India. A few of his vintage-inspired pieces are featured above:

  • Skunk Electrical Soap, his largest work to date measures 152x203 cm., is about the size of a queen size mattress
  • Taxali’s tribute to Maurice Sendak for the New York Times
  • My Feelings Like You at The Outsiders in London

sources 1, 2

The Merry Cemetery

In Săpânţa, Romania, there lies a very different kind of cemetery. Rather than the usual dark and ominous crypts and tombstones reminding us of our eventual demise, the Merry Cemetery chooses to remember the past lives of its residents with brightly painted tombstones and even more colorful stories about the people themselves.

The idea for the unusual crosses was started by 14 year old town resident Stan Ioan Pătraşe. By 1935, Pătraş began carving clever verse and ironic poems about the deceased, as well as painting the crosses with the deceased’s image, often depicting their manner of death.

Over 600 beautifully carved wooden crosses display the life stories, personal descriptions and final moments of almost everyone who has died in the town of Săpânţa. The illustrations show everything from soldiers being shot and beheaded to a poor soul being struck by a car.

The epitaphs reveal surprising truths and a fair amount of good humor. For example one cross reads, “Underneath this heavy cross. Lies my mother in law… Try not to wake her up. For if she comes back home. She’ll bite my head off.”

(Source: atlasobscura.com)

The Magical Illustrator for Disney and Beyond

Born in New York in 1916, Eyvind Earle began his prolific career at the age of ten when his father, Ferdinand Earle, gave him a challenging choice: read 50 pages of a book or paint a picture every day. Earle choose both. From the time of his first one-man showing in France when he was 14, Earle’s fame had grown steadily. At the age of 21, Earle bicycled across country from Hollywood to New York, paying his way by painting 42 watercolors. In 1937, he opened at the Charles Morgan Galleries, the first of many one-man shows in New York. Two years later at his third consecutive showing at the gallery, the response to his work was so positive that the exhibition sold out and the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his paintings for their permanent collection.

In 1951 Earle joined Walt Disney studios as an assistant background painter. Earle intrigued Disney in 1953 when he created the look of “Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom” an animated short that won an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. Disney kept the artist busy for the rest of decade, painting the settings for such stories as Peter Pan, Paul Bunyan, and Lady and the Tramp. Earle was responsible for the styling, background and colors for the highly acclaimed movie Sleeping Beauty and gave the movie its magical, medieval look. He also painted the dioramas for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

After 15 years creating animated art, Earle returned to painting full time in 1966 and kept working until the end of his life. Eyvind Earle passed away on July 20, 2000 at the age of 84. You can peruse the majority of his work at his website here.

Paintings Made with Real Blood and Urine

The Brazilian street artist, Vinicius Quesada, likes to add a shock value to his artwork. He makes incredibly detailed psychedelic art of violent geishas, smoking monkeys, and other apocalyptic imagery. His series, entitled Blood Piss Blues, was created using exactly what it says – blood and urine. To read more about his art process, you can read an interivew he gave to the website, My Modern Met. You can also follow him on Tumblr by clicking on his name above.

(Source: amusingplanet.com)

Amazing Life-like Paintings of Book Spines

At first sight, these look like four photos of some books on a shelf, but they aren’t. They are four paintings. Amazingly detailed, incredibly like-life, paintings (click on each to see separately). They display all of the minute details, the tiny tears and faint creases, that well-loved books acquire over time. The artist is Paul Beliveau from Quebec, Canada.

(Source: designtaxi.com)