Rococo developed in the early 18th century in Paris, France as a reaction against the grandeur, symmetry, and strict regulations of the Baroque. It was ornate and used light colors, asymmetrical designs, curves, and often had playful themes, but the style has endured harsh rhetoric from some critics who characterize it as superficial and of poor taste.
In 1908, Edwin Austin Abbey began an ambitious program of murals and other artworks for the newly completed Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These included allegorical medallion murals for the dome of the Rotunda, four large lunette murals beneath the dome, and multiple works for the House and Senate Chambers. He was working on the Reading of the Declaration of Independence mural in early 1911, when he was diagnosed with cancer. Abbey died in August 1911, leaving two rooms of the commission unfinished.
In 1652, while installing a doorway in the wall that holds The Last Supper, builders cut into the bottom-center of the mural, lopping off Jesus' feet. While it may seem like a minor loss, many historians believe (based on examination of early copies) that Jesus' feet were in a position symbolizing the forthcoming crucifixion.
The marble slab that eventually became Michelangelo's sculpture of David originally belonged to an artist named Agostino di Duccio, who planned to turn it into a statue of Hercules. 10 years after di Duccio abandoned his sculpture, another artist attempted to work with it, but found the marble too difficult. Finally, in 1501, Michelangelo began his famous sculpture.
When it was first exhibited in 1916, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon), Picasso's abstract depiction of five Barcelona prostitutes, was deemed immoral by the public. A reviewer in Le Cri de Paris wrote: "The Cubists are not waiting for the war to end to recommence hostilities against good sense. They are exhibiting at the Galerie Poiret naked women whose scattered parts are represented in all four corners of the canvas: here an eye, there an ear, over there a hand, a foot on top, a mouth below. M. Picasso, their leader, is possibly the least disheveled of the lot. He has painted, or rather daubed, five women who are, if the truth be told, all hacked up." Today, this proto-Cubist work is widely considered to be seminal in the early development of both Cubism and Modern art.
In 1905, just prior to such works being derisively labeled as the creations of Les Fauves ("the wild beasts"), Matisse painted The Green Stripe, also known as Portrait of Madame Matisse. One of his most famous paintings, it depicts Matisse's wife, Amélie Noellie Matisse-Parayre.
Rodin's most famous sculpture was originally conceived as the central component in a much larger work called The Gates of Hell. Inspired by Dante's Inferno, The Thinker was originally entitled The Poet and conceived as a representation of Dante himself.
Considered by some critics to be Matisse's masterpiece, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, was originally commissioned in blue, but Matisse was dissatisfied with the result and repainted the entire painting red. When it was delivered to the Russian collector Shchukin, he had no problem with the fact that his "Harmony in Blue" had become "Harmony in Red".