"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
Benvenuto Cellini—sculptor, untrustworthy autobiographer, convicted sodomite—was in the news recently when one of his works, "the Mona Lisa of Sculpture," made the FBI's Top Ten Art Heists list. His Saliera, or salt cellar, which he designed for Francis I while in residence at Fontainebleau, is valued at US$55 million. It was stolen in May 2003; people purporting to be the thieves demanded £3.5 million in ransom in August 2003. It's still missing. (The piece is so fragile that it's likely that it won't survive its latest adventure.) More about Cellini at Wikipedia.