Perfume is a mixture of alcohol and fragrant essential oils. Animal substances—such as musk, ambergris, and civet—were first added as fixatives in the Middle Ages. Since the early 19th century, chemists have produced thousands of synthetic essential oils, some imitating natural products and others yielding new scents. Most perfumes today are blends of natural and synthetic scents and of fixatives that add pungency. Fine perfumes may blend more than 100 ingredients. What is a fragrance wheel?
Back in the day
Known as "the Incorruptible" for his emphasis on civic morality, Robespierre became one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. He was an influential member of the Committee of Public Safety, the political body that controlled France during the bloody revolutionary period known as the "Reign of Terror." However, popular discontent with the committee's brutal measures soon grew, and Robespierre was guillotined in the coup of 9 Thermidor. What might have been his last words?
Born on a day like today
Duchamp was an innovative French-American artist who influenced the Dada, Surrealist, and Pop art movements. His irreverence for conventional aesthetic standards led him to exhibit commonplace objects as works of art that he called "ready-mades," intended as a derisive gesture against the excessive importance attached to works of art. His most famous works include the controversial Cubist-Futurist painting Nude Descending a Staircase and Fountain, which features what object?