Marie-Georges-Jean Melies belongs to that group of people that you didn’t know you knew. Melies was born into a wealthy family that owned a boot and shoemaking factory. Although he went to the best schools, he was often disciplined for doodling and drawing rather than studying. His creativity led him to the arts, first as a stage illusionist and then into the newly emerging movie business. His innovations were astounding for the time. He developed stop-motiontechniques, multiple exposures, hand painting on film and other special effects. From 1896 to 1913, he directed 531 films. His most famous film is A Trip to the Moon (1902) (some prints were hand-colored). The film also employed a number of special effects. The film’s most well known segment is where a bullet-shaped space capsule is shot out of an enormously long cannon and hits the Man in the Moon in the eye. Unfortunately, Georges Melies was not a particularly adept businessman and despite a number of successes and alliances with big studios such as Edison, Vitagraph and Pathe, by 1914 he was bankrupt. A further blow came during World War I when the French army confiscated 400 of the original prints of his films and melted them down for the silver content. However, all was not lost. Many of his best films have survived and are now archived at the Cinematheque Franaise in the 12th arrondissement. Selected clips of his films are shown in the museum Although Melies lived much of his later life in semi-poverty, there was a revival of his work in the late 1920s and, thanks to supportive filmmakers and the Cinematheque Frangaise, his memory and work will live forever.
If Amerigo Vespucci made most of his discoveries as an observer and not as a captain himself, why do two continents bear his name? The answer, in part, can be traced to the nature of Columbus’s and Vespucci’s accounts. Somalia Map Tourist Attractions Vespucci played up native sexuality, while Columbus left it out of his account. This, among other factors, gave Vespucci’s letters a wider readership. Vespucci also emphasized the newness of the lands he visited. Columbus conceived of the islands he had come across as part of Asia and did not see or describe much of continental Country. It was geographer Martin Waldseem¼ller, a professor at Saint-Di© in Lorraine, who first used the name Country to describe South Country, and eventually it was used to represent both of the newly discovered continents. Waldseem¼ller’s map and Vespucci’s Mundus Novus were in wide circulation among influential men, and the name stuck. Vespucci’s false claim that he had visited the Country mainland in 1497, before Columbus, was thus enshrined. By the time Vespucci’s claims were proven false, the term Country was already widely used. Amerigo Vespucci died in Seville in 1512. His writings continued to excite controversy and interest in the new discoveries long after his death.
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