Top 10 Unfinished Works Of Art


For every great work of art, literature, or
architecture that gets completed, there are probably just as many that are abandoned and
left unfinished because of wars, political strife, lack of funding, or the death of the
artist. Most of these works are lost and forgotten,
but some, by masters like Da Vinci and Mozart, are regarded as incomplete masterpieces. The following are ten of the most famous unfinished
works of art in history. 10. Bruce Lee’s Game Of Death In the early seventies, Bruce Lee had already
made three acclaimed films and was quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting
martial artists in the world. In 1972, Lee began filming Game Of Death,
which was to be the ultimate expression of Jeet Kune Du, the fighting style he had been
perfecting for years. However, halfway through filming, Lee was
given the shot of a lifetime at starring in Enter The Dragon, and production on Game of
Death was halted while he worked on it. Enter The Dragon would ultimately cement Lee’s
stardom, but before he could return to work on Game of Death, he mysteriously died of
cerebral edema at the age of 32. Five years after Lee’s death, the director
of Enter The Dragon pieced together a workable version of Game of Death from Lee’s footage
and newly shot material using stand-ins. The final result was considered by many to
be a poor representation of Lee’s original vision of the film, but the 11 minutes of
footage from his original cut is widely believed to be among his best work. 9. The Palace of Soviets The Palace of Soviets was a massive architectural
project undertaken by the Soviet Union at the outset of WWII. It was a building in Moscow designed to be
an administrative center and congress hall, and if finished it would have become the world’s
tallest structure. The plan for the building was decided via
a countrywide public contest where 272 building concepts were submitted, and after a lengthy
judging process, architect Boris Iofan was declared the winner. Construction on the building began in 1937,
and by 1941 the building’s huge steel frame had been erected. Russian involvement in WWII brought an abrupt
end to construction, and the building’s steel frame was eventually cut, dismantled,
and used to build fortifications and railway bridges in and around Moscow. After the war ended, there was much talk of
completing the project, but though the site was kept open until 1958, the Palace of Soviets
was eventually abandoned. 8. Hendrix’s First Rays of the New Rising Sun In the late sixties, Jimi Hendrix recorded
a trio of albums that established him as one of the most talented guitarists of all time. Hendrix was a prolific songwriter, and following
the breakup of his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, he began work on an ambitious
double album called First Rays of the New Rising Sun. Unfortunately, before the recording was fully
under way, Hendrix died of an overdose of sleeping pills. After Hendrix’s death a years-long legal
battle began between his family and his former producer over who had the rights to the singer’s
material. The family finally won in 1995, and they hired
a select group of recording engineers and producers to attempt to reconstruct First
Rays of the New Rising Sun. The surviving recordings ranged from nearly
complete to very rough demos, but in 1997 a shortened version of the album was released
that claims to be as close to Hendrix’s original vision as is possible. 7. Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood At the time of his death in 1870, A Tale Of
Two Cities author Charles Dickens was perhaps the most celebrated writer in the English
language. His last book was The Mystery Of Edwin Drood,
a murder mystery that was in the process of being serialized in a popular magazine when
Dickens died at the age of 58. Dickens was close to finishing the book, but
he left behind no notes or plot sketches, so it has never been known for sure which
character committed the murder that the story is based around. A number of writers have attempted to finish
the book, often under very strange circumstances. The weirdest of all took place in 1873, when
a man named Thomas James claimed he had written a conclusion to the book while possessed by
the ghost of Charles Dickens. Many well-known writers praised James’ version
as being remarkably similar to Dickens’ own writing style, and for years his take
on the story was circulated in America as the definitive version of the book. 6. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan One of the most famous opening lines in poetry
begins “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree…” The renowned poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge
wrote the lines in 1797 while he was staying in a farmhouse in rural England. Coleridge was a prodigious user of the drug
laudanum, and as the story goes, he fell asleep while reading a book about the Far East and
actually dreamed the lines of a poem. Upon waking, Coleridge scribbled down the
first 50 or so lines while still in an opium haze, but was interrupted when an unexpected
visitor called on him about some business. Coleridge was only gone for an hour or so,
but when he returned his vision for an epic 300-line poem had faded from memory. Coleridge attempted to get back to work, but
eventually gave up out of frustration, and “Kubla Khan” remains perhaps the most
famous unfinished poem ever written. 5. Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind Orson Welles is regarded by many as one of
the world’s greatest filmmakers, and his debut Citizen Kane is widely considered to
be the best film ever made. Welles’ career was fraught with a number
of forgotten and abandoned projects, and at the time of his death in 1985 he was in the
middle of work on two films. The most of famous of these was The Other
Side of the Wind, a film starring Dennis Hopper and John Huston that Welles had been working
on since the late sixties. The movie was nearly complete in 1979, but
Welles ran into huge financial and legal complications that halted production. The biggest of these was that the film’s
major financial backer, the brother-in-law of the Shah of Iran, pulled funding after
the Shah was overthrown and exiled from the country. This led to a years-long controversy over
ownership of The Other Side of the Wind, and the film was never finished. In the years since Welles’ death, there
have been a number of attempts to edit and release the film, and recent rumors suggest
that a version of it may debut in 2010. 4. Stuart’s Portrait of George Washington The painting of George Washington that is
found on the modern one-dollar bill was done by Gilbert Stuart, a renowned painter who
drew portraits of a number of kings and presidents. What is not well known is that the dollar
bill painting of Washington was never completed. The painting, known as The Athenaeum, was
intentionally left incomplete by Stuart so that he could hold onto it and easily draw
copies, which he then sold for $100 a piece. Stuart is said to have painted as many as
seventy reproductions of The Athenaeum, but he never finished the original before his
death in 1828. For his part, Washington is said to have been
particularly annoyed by Stuart’s behavior, and once even traveled to the artist’s studio
and demanded to be given his portrait. 3. Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Perhaps the longest running architectural
project in recent memory, the Sagrada Familia is a massive and uniquely designed Roman Catholic
cathedral in Barcelona that has been under construction since 1882. The eccentric building was designed by famed
architect Antoni Gaudi, and was considered to be his crowning achievement. Gaudi worked on the church for forty years,
and even devoted his last fifteen years exclusively to it, but he died in 1926 before it was completed. The project was then taken over by Gaudi’s
assistants, who continued work on it even after it was badly damaged by anarchists during
the Spanish Civil War. Since then, the project has been in a constant
state of flux, with a number of different architects and builders coming on to it, but
it has yet to be opened or actively used as a church. Even in its unfinished state, the Sagrada
Familia is Barcelona’s most famous tourist attraction, and authorities have claimed that
the building may finally be open to the public by 2010. 2. Da Vinci’s Gran Cavallo Since he was known to quickly lose interest
and move onto other projects, Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have left behind quite a
few unfinished works of art. His most famous unfinished masterpiece, however,
was left incomplete due to circumstances outside his control. In the fifteenth century, Da Vinci was commissioned
by the Duke Of Milan to build a statue of a horse to honor his father. Da Vinci spent twelve years working on the
statue, and in 1492 he unveiled the 23-foot tall clay model of his “Gran Cavallo,”
which was praised by many as one of the most beautiful works of art ever created. But before the mold of the horse could be
cast in bronze, war broke out between France and Italy. The Duke then decided to donate the 200,000
pounds of metal intended for the horse to the military, which used it to build cannons. Da Vinci’s massive horse statue was never
completed, and it is said that the invading French archers later used his clay horse model
for target practice. 1. Mozart’s Requiem Shortly before his death in 1791, the famed
composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was contacted by a mysterious stranger and commissioned
to write a Requiem to be played at a ceremony for the man’s deceased wife. Mozart, who was ailing from an unidentified
illness, supposedly took the task as a sign of his own impending mortality, and even came
to believe that the piece he was composing was actually a requiem for his own funeral. Mozart died before the piece could be completed,
and the missing movements were finished by one of his students, Franz Sussmayr. The piece was then given to the mysterious
patron, who turned out to be Franz Von Walsegg, an eccentric count who was known for secretly
commissioning works of music and then passing them off as his own compositions. Mozart’s wife Constanze eventually identified
the piece as belonging to her husband, but beyond this the story is filled with rumors
and half truths, and to this day it is not known for certain which parts of the Requiem
were altered or added on later, or just why the famed composer became so paranoid and
fearful in his final days.

78 Replies to “Top 10 Unfinished Works Of Art

  1. Almost every time I’ve tried to be artistic I never finish what I’m doing. I procrastinate like Da Vinci

  2. The incomplete building bother me the most. Books and art are one thing but they aren’t using up a giant swathes of land and yet their beauty and purpose was never realized and likely never will, especially with the Soviet building.

  3. How about the Crazy Horse Memorial or Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona Sagrada Familia was already mentioned and I'm a dumbass

  4. Somewhere in my garage is an unfinished painting of a potted palm.It was started as a live demonstration at at a fair.Stuff happened, we moved,it never made it into the house, and Romeo the cockateil, stripped the palm of it's fronds and it died.Alas

  5. Simon, what happened to your neon sign? It wasn't on today. Please don't let it become an unfinished work of art. 😜

  6. While most of these cases are unfortunate I'm actually pleased that the Palace of the Soviets was never completed. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was demolished to make way for the monstrous palace but as it was never built it was possible to rebuild the cathedral after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  7. Sagrada Familia recently got its building permit and has to pay 136 years worth for fine for not having it.

  8. I'm only here for the factual errors.

    "War broke out between France and.." a country that wouldn't exist for another 250 years.

  9. You are wrong about the Sagrada Familia not being used as a church. According to their website, there is Mass once a week on 9am on Sunday.

  10. Back in the 70s when I was a kid, I thought Bruce Lee movies were cools as hell, I tried watching Enter The Dragon a couple of weeks ago, I don't think I made it a half hour.

  11. Potential #11: Mt Rushmore. Apparently the original plan was to carve the presidents from the waist up, but due to a lack of funds only the heads were carved.

  12. Jimi Hendrix died from choking on his own vomit. Regurgitation was brought on from his habit of injecting heroin under his tongue. 
    The most inventive guitarist and one of the best jazz musicians of the 20th century overdosedand that's all she wrote, damn it!

  13. Mozart's Requiem? If you're going to add a piece of classical music to this list, it should be Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. It's right there in the name, after all.

  14. The uncompleted wotrk which I find most affecting is Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone Alphabet mystery series which began in 1982 with A is for Alibi. She made it all the way to Y is for Yesterday in 2017 when she passed away. Ms. Grafton decided not to have the series completed by another author should she be unable to finish.

  15. In the 1996, Da Vinci’s “Gran Cavalo” was completed by artist Nina Akamu and cast in bronze in Beacon, NY, under the title “The American Horse”. All the work and two castings were paid for by Frederick Meier of Grand Rapids, Michigan. One copy was formally presented to the city of Milan, Italy, in 1999. The second was installed at the Frederick Meijer Botanical Gardens in Grand Rapids.

  16. Most interesting is Gilbert Stuart's behavior in deliberately leaving his painting of Washington unfinished, and using it to produce scores of copies … and Washington's frustrated demand for its completion – a bit of trivia that makes history more human.

  17. Simon, you should do a second top ten list. Bach’s The Art of Fugue is probably an even more significant piece of unfinished music than Mozart’s Requiem or its close. And Gustavo Mahler left his last symphony unfinished and the reason why isbfunny

  18. Love all your channels! New, fresh subjects and bios! I can always count on you to learn something new or just be surprised! Thank you so much for not becoming complacent or lazy and digging up amazing content that no one else seems to be inspired to do!!

  19. #1 should be the Human imagination. Untapped by the millions unable to pull their wildest fantasies into reality for others to see and hear.

  20. some of my Grandmothers most unique are her unfinished paintings & drawings. the really cool ones were the ones she did when blind with ink pens almost a carving as much as a painting of St Frances, it is truly Amazing.

  21. You said that when Orson Welles died, he was in the middle of two projects, but then only talked about one. Why don't you tell us about the other one, which was successfully finished with a substitute actor? Surely it's an insult to not spare even a sentence for his other film, The Transformers: The Movie!

  22. A close friend of mine was a student of Shifu Lee and taught some classes for him. I was fortunate enough to meet the Master a few times and Linda once. Very kind, gracious couple.

  23. Interesting video! Possibly my favorite top ten list video that I watched today. I would love to have seen these finished.

  24. Hendrix died with wine in his lungs. He was murdered by somebody close who force fed it to his almost unconscious being.

  25. The Beatles (1995 Threetles) never finished to record a track called "Now and Then" written by John Lennon.

    Dante's Divine Comedy was also unfinished (as dante died)… eventually finished by his son.

  26. Can you do Bruce Lee's biography on the biography channel? That would be amazing! Thanks for all the great content Simon

  27. Hendrix didn't die from sleeping pills. He was forcibly drowned in red wine; look it up and you'll see that the sleeping pills were not even digested. The first responders to the scene have spoken out on this subject and had to DRAIN the red wine out of his mouth and throat. His manager had him insured for big bucks and there is a great deal of speculation about the real causes of Jimi's death.

  28. There are a couple of over-passes in Jakarta that look like they have been working on them for a few decades. That count?

  29. Surprised that the Crazy Horse Monument didn't make this list. I don't know if the original artist is still alive, but based on progress in the last 20 years, it doesn't seem like it will ever be finished; sadly as it's a beautiful plan.

  30. Simon, you live in the Czech Republic and won't mention Jaroslav Hasek's Svejk? Come on! At least visit the U Fleku

  31. I've read that Thomas James version of Edwin Drood. It is in the style of Charles Dickens, and I reckon is genuine.

  32. You forgot Michael Jackson's "This I It" tour. It never took place because the singer was killed by an incompetent physician not even three weeks before the start of the tour.

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