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Picture of the day archives

2004: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2005: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2006: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2007: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2008: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2009: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2010: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2011: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2012: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2013: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2014: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2015: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2016: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2017: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2018: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2019: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2020: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2021: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2022: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2023: January February March April May June July August September October November December

These featured pictures, as scheduled below, appeared as the picture of the day (POTD) on the English Wikipedia's Main Page in the last 30 days.

You can add an automatically updating POTD template to your user page using {{Pic of the day}} (version with blurb) or {{POTD}} (version without blurb). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.Purge server cache


December 8

Orpheus in the Underworld

Orpheus in the Underworld is a comic opera composed by Jacques Offenbach with a French-language libretto by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy. It was first performed as a two-act opéra bouffon at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, Paris, in 1858, and was extensively revised and expanded in a four-act opéra féerie version, presented at the Théâtre de la Gaîté in 1874. The plot is a lampoon of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in Greek mythology. In this version, Orpheus is not the son of Apollo but a rustic violin teacher. He is glad to be rid of his wife Eurydice when she is abducted by Pluto, the god of the underworld. Orpheus has to be bullied by Public Opinion into trying to rescue Eurydice. The reprehensible conduct of the gods of Olympus in the opera was widely seen as a veiled satire of the court and government of French emperor Napoleon III. This photograph depicts Jeanne Granier as Eurydice and Eugène Vauthier as Jupiter in the form of a fly as part of the 1887 Paris revival of Orpheus in the Underworld.

Photograph credit: Atelier Nadar; restored by Adam Cuerden


December 7

A Let L-410 Turbolet plane flying low over treetops

Let Kunovice, operating as Let, n.p., is a Czech (before December 1993 Czechoslovak) civil aircraft manufacturer. Its most successful design has been the L-410 Turbolet, of which more than 1300 units have been built (an upgraded version, the L-410 NG, is pictured here). Its head office is in Kunovice, Uherské Hradiště District. Let was owned by the Russian company UGMK from 2008 to 2022, when it was acquired by Czech-based Omnipol Group.

Photograph credit: Julian Herzog


December 6

Marabou stork

The marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) is a large species of wading bird in the stork family, Ciconiidae. Breeding in sub-Saharan Africa, it eats mainly carrion, scraps and faeces, but will opportunistically eat almost any animal matter it can swallow. It occasionally eats other birds including Quelea nestlings, pigeons and doves, pelican and cormorant chicks, and even flamingos. During the breeding season, adults scale back on carrion and take mostly small, live prey since nestlings need this kind of food to survive. Common prey at this time may consist of fish, frogs, insects, eggs, small mammals and reptiles such as crocodile hatchlings and eggs. Though known to eat putrid and seemingly inedible foods, these storks may sometimes wash food in water to remove soil. Increasingly, marabous have become dependent on human garbage and hundreds of the birds can be found around African dumps or waiting for a handout in urban areas. Those eating garbage have been seen to devour virtually anything that they can swallow, including shoes and pieces of metal, and those conditioned to eating from human sources have been known to lash out when refused food. This marabou stork was photographed in Queen Elizabeth National Park in southwestern Uganda.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp


December 5

William Utermohlen

William Utermohlen (December 5, 1933 – March 21, 2007) was an American figurative artist who became known posthumously for his self-portraits created after his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. He had developed progressive memory loss beginning about four years before his diagnosis in 1995. During that time, he began a series of self-portraits influenced in part by the figurative painter Francis Bacon and cinematographers from the movement of German Expressionism. Utermohlen created this self-portrait with mixed media on paper in 1967.

Illustration credit: William Utermohlen


December 4

Hazel MacKaye

Hazel MacKaye (1880–1944) was an American theater professional and suffragist. She is best known for helping present a series of pageants in support of women's suffrage. The organizers of the Woman Suffrage Procession, planned for March 3, 1913 (just prior to President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration), in Washington, D.C., asked MacKaye to create a pageant for the event. Titled Allegory and produced by Glenna Smith Tinnin, it was presented on the steps of the Treasury Building as the culmination of the event. The pageant was praised as "one of the most impressively beautiful spectacles ever staged in this country" in The New York Times. This photograph of MacKaye holding a dog was taken in 1915 by the photographic studio Harris & Ewing.

Photograph credit: Harris & Ewing; restored by Adam Cuerden


December 3

Coat of arms of the New Mexico Territory

The New Mexico Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912. The territory was created from the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico, a result of Santa Fe de Nuevo México becoming part of the American frontier after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It existed with varying boundaries until the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of New Mexico. This illustration, created by Henry Mitchell for State Arms of the Union, published by Louis Prang in 1876, depicts the territory's coat of arms, adopted by legislation in 1887: "The coat of arms of the territory of New Mexico shall be the Mexican Eagle grasping a serpent in its beak, the cactus in its talons, shielded by the American eagle with outspread wings, and grasping arrows in its talons." The year 1850, representing the territory's organization, appears in Roman numerals under the eagles, and below the shield is the Latin motto Crescit eundo ('It grows as it goes').

Illustration credit: Henry Mitchell; restored by Andrew Shiva


December 2

Bézier curve

A Bézier curve is a parametric curve used in computer graphics and related fields. The curve, which is related to the Bernstein polynomial, is named after Pierre Bézier, who used it in the 1960s for designing curves for the bodywork of Renault cars. Other uses include the design of computer fonts and animation. Bézier curves can be combined to form a Bézier spline, or generalized to higher dimensions to form Bézier surfaces.

Animation credit: Phil Tregoning


December 1

Red-bellied piranha

The red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri), also known as the red piranha, is a species of piranha native to South America, found in the Amazon, Paraguay, Paraná and Essequibo basins, as well as the coastal rivers of northeastern Brazil. They are omnivorous foragers and feed on insects, worms, crustaceans, and fish. Red-bellied piranhas often travel in shoals as a predatory defense but rarely exhibit group hunting behavior. Acoustic communication is common and is sometimes exhibited along with aggressive behaviors. They are also often kept as an aquarium species. This fish was photographed at Karlsruhe Zoo in Germany.

Photograph credit: H. Zell


November 30

  • Obverse and reverse of a two-groschen banknote issued during the siege of Kolberg

    2 groschen

  • Obverse and reverse of a four-groschen banknote issued during the siege of Kolberg

    4 groschen

  • Obverse and reverse of a eight-groschen banknote issued during the siege of Kolberg

    8 groschen

The siege of Kolberg took place from March to July 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. An army of the First French Empire and several foreign auxiliaries (including Polish insurgents) of France besieged the fortified town of Kolberg, the only remaining Prussian-held fortress in the Province of Pomerania. The siege was ultimately unsuccessful and was lifted upon the announcement of the peace of Tilsit. These three banknotes, in denominations of two, four and eight groschen, were issued by the Prussian authorities in Kolberg as emergency money during the siege. Each was handwritten on cardboard with multiple authorising signatures and was stamped with the seal of the local government. The banknotes are now part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in the United States.

Banknote design credit: Kingdom of Prussia; scanned by Andrew Shiva


November 29

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Photograph credit: George Kendall Warren; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 28

  • Obverse and reverse of a 5-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    5 piastres
    (hand-signed)

  • Obverse and reverse of a 10-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    10 piastres
    (hand-signed)

  • Obverse and reverse of a 20-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    20 piastres
    (hand-signed)

  • Obverse and reverse of a 100-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    100 piastres

  • Obverse and reverse of a 500-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    500 piastres
    (hand-signed)

  • Obverse and reverse of a 1000-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    1000 piastres
    (hand-signed)

  • Obverse and reverse of a 2000-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    2000 piastres

  • Obverse and reverse of a 2500-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    2500 piastres

  • Obverse and reverse of a 5000-piastre Siege of Khartoum banknote

    5000 piastres

  • Obverse and reverse of a 50-pound Siege of Khartoum banknote

    50 pounds

Siege of Khartoum currency was an emergency issue of paper money created by the British major-general Charles George Gordon, the governor-general of the Sudan, during the siege of Khartoum by Mahdist forces between 1884 and 1885. Denominated in piastres (and 50 Egyptian pounds), the first banknotes were dated 25 April 1884 and they were issued as late as November 1884. This set of ten banknotes, some of which were hand-signed by Gordon, is part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

Banknote design credit: Charles George Gordon and the Khedivate of Egypt; scanned by Andrew Shiva


November 27

La reine de Chypre

La reine de Chypre (The Queen of Cyprus) is an 1841 grand opera in five acts composed by Fromental Halévy to a French-language libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. The libretto was praised by Richard Wagner, who called it "noble, feeling and even new and elevating", although he was critical of Halévy's lapses towards what he called "unsophisticated orchestration". Although he felt the opera did not reach the level of the composer's La Juive, Wagner wrote "the Opéra may congratulate itself on the birth of this work, for it is decidedly the best that has appeared on its boards since Giacomo Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots". George Sand, who was also at the premiere, was less impressed, writing in a letter to Eugène Delacroix: "You did well, old friend, not to go to the Opera. It was boring to death in spite of the magnificence and pomp of the spectacle. I trust your truffles gave you more inspiration than La Reine de Chypre gave to M. Halévy." This illustration, executed in watercolour, gouache and pencil, depicts Charles-Antoine Cambon's set design for Act 5, Scene 2, of the opera's premiere.

Illustration credit: Charles-Antoine Cambon; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 26

Trần Nhân Tông

Trần Nhân Tông (1258–1308) was the third monarch of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Đại Việt from 1278. During the second and third Mongol invasions of Đại Việt between 1284 and 1288, Nhân Tông and his father the retired emperor Trần Thánh Tông achieved a decisive victory against the Yuan dynasty. Nhân Tông ruled until his abdication in 1293, when he passed the throne on to his son Trần Anh Tông. This is a handscroll depicting Nhân Tông, which is now in the collection of the Liaoning Provincial Museum in Shenyang, China.

Painting credit: unknown; photographed by Chloë Trần Phương Anh


November 25

Julie d'Aubigny

Julie d'Aubigny (1670/1673 – 1707), better known as Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin, was a 17th-century French opera singer. Little is known for certain about her life; her tumultuous career and flamboyant lifestyle were the subject of gossip, rumor, and colourful stories in her own time, and inspired numerous fictional and semi-fictional portrayals afterwards. Théophile Gautier loosely based the title character, Madeleine de Maupin, of his novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) on her.

Illustration credit: unknown; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 24

Turkey

The turkey is a large species of bird in the genus Meleagris, native to North America. There are two extant turkey species: the wild turkey (M. gallopavo) of eastern and central North America and the ocellated turkey (M. ocellata) of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Males of both turkey species have a distinctive fleshy wattle, called a snood, that hangs from the top of the beak. They are among the largest birds in their ranges. As with many large ground-feeding birds (members of the order Galliformes), the male is bigger and much more colorful than the female. This photograph, taken at Deer Island Preserve in Novato, California, shows a male Rio Grande wild turkey (M. g. intermedia) strutting – the courtship display, in which the snood (the erectile, fleshy protuberance on the forehead) engorges with blood, becomes redder and elongates, hanging well below the beak.

Photograph credit: Frank Schulenburg


November 23

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cephalanthus occidentalis is a species of flowering plant in the family Rubiaceae native to eastern and southern North America. Common names include buttonbush, common buttonbush, button-willow, buck brush, and honey-bells. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1 to 3 m (3.3 to 9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2 to 3.5 cm (0.79 to 1.38 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets). This C. occidentalis plant, of the occidentalis variety, was photographed flowering in Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada.

Photograph credit: The Cosmonaut


November 22

Saint Anne

Saint Anne is a Makurian wall painting estimated to have been painted between the 8th and 9th centuries, painted a secco with tempera on plaster. The anonymous work, depicting Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, was found at Faras Cathedral in Lower Nubia, located in the north of present-day Sudan. The painting was discovered by a Polish archaeological team during a campaign undertaken in the 1960s under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Faras, before the site was flooded by the creation of Lake Nasser. Since 1964, the painting has been in the Faras Gallery at the National Museum in Warsaw.

Painting credit: unknown


November 21

Laetiporus sulphureus

Laetiporus sulphureus is a species of bracket fungus (fungi that grow on trees) found in Europe and North America. Due to its taste, Laetiporus sulphureus has been called the "chicken polypore" and "chicken-of-the-woods" Many people also think that the mushroom tastes like crab or lobster leading to the nickname "lobster-of-the-woods". The authors of Mushrooms in Color said that the mushroom tastes good sauteed in butter or prepared in a cream sauce served on toast or rice.

Photograph credit: Agnes Monkelbaan

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November 20

Close-up of a newborn baby girl yawning while lying down

A yawn is a reflex consisting of the simultaneous inhalation of air and the stretching of the eardrums, followed by an exhalation of breath. Many animal species, including birds and fish, experience yawning. The study of yawning is called chasmology. Yawning (oscitation) most often occurs in adults immediately before and after sleep, during tedious activities and as a result of its contagious quality. This photograph shows a newborn girl yawning; research data strongly suggest that neither contagious nor story-induced yawning is reliable in children below the age of six years.

Photograph credit: Martin Falbisoner


November 19

Eurasian coot

The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as the common coot, or Australian coot, is a species of bird in the family Rallidae. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and parts of North Africa. The Eurasian coot is much less secretive than most of the rail family and can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season, with both parents involved in territorial defence. This juvenile Eurasian coot was photographed in Marais Audomarois, a biosphere reserve in Saint-Omer-Capelle, France.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp

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November 18

Caves of Hercules

The Caves of Hercules is an archaeological cave complex located in Cape Spartel, Morocco. Situated 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Tangier, the popular tourist attraction is adjacent to the summer palace of the king of Morocco. The cave itself is partly natural and partly man-made. The man-made portion was used by Berbers to cut stone wheels from the walls to make millstones, resulting in the ridges visible on the walls in this photograph of the cave's interior.

Photograph credit: Diego Delso

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November 17

Nina Simone

Nina Simone (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. However, after being denied admission to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia despite a well-received audition (which she attributed to racism), she started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to "Nina Simone" to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play "the devil's music" or so-called "cocktail piano". She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974.

Photograph credit: Ron Kroon for Anefo; restored by Bammesk

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November 16

Ariane

Ariane is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French-language libretto by Catulle Mendès. Based on the tale of Ariadne in Greek mythology, it was first performed at the Palais Garnier in Paris on 31 October 1906, with Lucienne Bréval in the title role. One critic noted Ariane to be one of the most "Wagnerian" of Massenet's operas. This poster was designed in 1906 by the French painter Albert Maignan to advertise the opera's premiere.

Poster credit: Albert Maignan; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 15

Wilhering Abbey

Wilhering Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in Wilhering in Upper Austria, about 8 km (5 mi) from the city of Linz. The buildings, re-constructed in the 18th century, are known for their spectacular Rococo decoration. According to the German art historian Cornelius Gurlitt, "the abbey church of Wilhering is the most brilliant achievement of the Rococo style in the German-speaking world". This photograph depicts the interior of the church, looking towards the high altar, featuring the intricate ceiling frescoes and stucco work.

Photograph credit: Uoaei1


November 14

La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda is a grand opera in four acts composed by Louise Bertin, with a French-language libretto written by Victor Hugo, who adapted it from his 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The opera premiered at the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris on 14 November 1836, with Cornélie Falcon in the title role. There was some disruption at the premiere, as members of the audience who disliked the Bertin family shouted out that the work had been written by Berlioz, an accusation which Berlioz himself denied. La Esmeralda proved to be the last opera composed by Bertin although she lived for another 40 years. This drawing is Charles-Antoine Cambon's set design for act 3, scene 1, of La Esmeralda, in which Phoebus meets with Esmeralda, and Frollo spies on them and eventually stabs Phoebus with his sword.

Illustration credit: Charles-Antoine Cambon; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 13

Xylotrupes socrates

Xylotrupes socrates, the Siamese rhinoceros beetle or fighting beetle, is a species of large scarab beetle belonging to the subfamily Dynastinae. It is particularly known for its role in insect fighting in Thailand, where they are captured and trained by their owners to become stronger and more aggressive, with the beetle that lifts its opponent up by its horns winning. An insect may also win if its opponent crawls away, falls or is overturned. This photograph of a male X. socrates beetle on a banana leaf was focus-stacked from 23 images.

Photograph credit: Basile Morin


November 12

Mizrah-shiviti

An example of a mizrah papercut art which serves a dual purpose: as a mizrah (decoration for the eastern wall, marking the direction of prayer), and as a shiviti, an edifying text which reminded the worshipper of the importance of prayer.

Credit: Israel Dov Rosenbaum/Jewish Museum


November 11

Recruitment to the British Army during World War I

Recruitment to the British Army during World War I was carried out initially by seeking volunteers: 100,000 were called up in early August, and within two months, almost half a million men had enlisted. This 1914 recruitment poster by the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee shows a Scottish soldier in Belgium, in response to German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg having described the Treaty of London (which protected Belgium's independence and neutrality) as a "scrap of paper" when Germany invaded Belgium in August 1914.

Poster credit: Lawson Wood; restored by Adam Cuerden


November 10

Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt

Seth P. Waxman presents oral arguments before the US Supreme Court in the case Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, a 2019 United States Supreme Court case that determined that unless they consent, states have sovereign immunity from private suits filed against them in the courts of another state. The 5–4 decision overturned precedent set in a 1979 Supreme Court case, Nevada v. Hall. This was the third time that the litigants had presented their case to the Court, as the Court had already ruled on the issue in 2003 and 2016.

Illustration credit: Arthur Lien


November 9

Apollo 4

Apollo 4, also known as SA-501, was the first, uncrewed, flight in the United States Apollo program, and the first test of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the rocket that would be used to send astronauts to the Moon. The space vehicle was the first to be launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, lifting off from Launch Complex 39A, where facilities designed specially for the Saturn V had been constructed, on November 9, 1967 – depicted in this photograph. The original launch date was planned for late 1966, but was delayed due to myriad problems with various elements of the spacecraft, and difficulties during pre-flight testing. Also contributing to the delays was the need for additional inspections following the Apollo 1 fire that killed the first Apollo crew in January 1967. These issues delayed the flight through much of 1967. The mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean slightly less than nine hours after launch, having achieved its objectives.

Photograph credit: NASA


Picture of the day archives

2004: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2005: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2006: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2007: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2008: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2009: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2010: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2011: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2012: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2013: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2014: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2015: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2016: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2017: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2018: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2019: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2020: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2021: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2022: January February March April May June July August September October November December
2023: January February March April May June July August September October November December