The art that sank with the Titanic

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April 15, On This Day

Drowned, but not forgotten

Exactly 109 years ago, on April 15, 1912, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic seas, leaving just 710 of 2,224 passengers and crew on board alive.

Along with the tragic deaths of these hundreds of people, it is lesser known that some incredible art on the ill-fated ship was also lost to the world.

Nope, not talking about this one! In James Cameron’s film Titanic (where the above painting plays a significant part in the narrative), he alludes to the presence of Monets, Picassos, and Degas on the sunken liner — in truth, the actual count of lost artworks on the ship is not exactly known, also since insurers hardly received many claims for them.

What is known, as per some reports, is that a spectacular jewelled edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a collection of about 1,000 poems by the 11th-century Persian mathematician and astronomer, drowned that day. It was an incredibly luxurious edition being carried to an American buyer, containing 1,500 precious stones, each set in gold in the binding.

Another known lost work, for which a whopping $100,000 insurance money was claimed a century ago, is the Blondel painting, ‘La Circassienne au Bain’.

Famous American painter Francis Davis Millet also went down with the ship.

Today, the sunken ship is protected by international conventions against plundering.

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