Rockwell masterpiece sold for record amount. “Saying Grace,” an iconic painting by popular American artist Norman Rockwell, sold for $46 million at auction—a price three times higher than his previous record. “Saying Grace” pictures a crowded restaurant with a little boy and a woman bowed in prayer at their table while other diners look on. It’s one of the most memorable paintings by Rockwell, who produced more than 300 for the covers of the old Saturday Evening Post across a 40-year span. Published in 1951, the painting was voted a favorite cover by readers in 1955. The painting had a pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $20 million, USA Today reported. In 2006, Sotheby’s sold Rockwell’s “Breaking Home Ties” for more than $15 million, then a record for the artist. Descendants of Kenneth J. Stuart, Rockwell’s friend and the art director at the Saturday Evening Post, sold the “Saying Grace” painting, which had been on loan at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., nearly two decades.
Libraries launch online archive of ancient Scriptures. Two of the world’s great libraries—the Vatican Library in Rome and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University—have scanned and loaded the first of 1.5 million pages of ancient Hebrew, Greek and early Christian manuscripts online. The project brings rare and priceless religious and cultural collections to a global audience for the first time in history. The website marks the first step in a four-year, $3.3 million project funded by the Polonsky Foundation, and it includes the Bodleian’s 1455 Gutenberg Bible—one of only 50 surviving copies. The Vatican Library, founded in 1451, has 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million books, and 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings. The Bodleian is the largest university library in England and contains more than 11 million printed works.
Pope Francis dominates old and new media. Time magazine named Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” for 2013, and Facebook announced he was the most-talked-about person on the social media platform, which has 1.2 billion users worldwide. Meanwhile, the pope’s Twitter followers surpassed 10 million, making him one of the 50 most-followed Twitter personalities. In addition, a July survey from a group called Twiplomacy said the pope’s tweets on his @Pontifex account are re-tweeted an average of 8,000 times.