Kamares Ware and Trade in Ancient Minoa

Kamares wares in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0) Kamares ware helps us map the trading relationships of the Minoans with the Mediterranean at large. By Dr. Senta German / 08.20.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Look closely at the jug on the top shelf at[…]

The Harvester Vase of Hagia Triada: An Eye into Ancient Minoan Agriculture

Harvester Vase from Hagia Triada, c. 1550-1500 B.C.E., black steatite, diameter 4.5 inches (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion) As the name of this vessel indicates, it is generally thought that its decoration refers to harvesting. By Dr. Senta German / 08.16.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Small but Powerful Found[…]

Circulation of Feathers in the Mesoamerican Aztec Realm

The feather merchant, Florentine Codex Book 10, folio 41r / Creative Commons Feathers, especially those from colorful tropical birds, were among the most highly prized materials in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. By Dr. Frances Berdan / 01.21.2006 Professor of Anthropology California State University San Bernardino Abstract Feathers, especially those from colorful tropical birds, were among the most highly[…]

Benoist’s 1800 ‘Portrait of a Black Woman’ and Its Initial Negative Reception

Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of a Black Woman (formerly known as Portrait of a Negress), 1800, oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm (Musée du Louvre) Why did this work provoke such a negative response when first exhibited? By Dr. Susan Waller / 09.26.2018 Professor of Art History University of Minneota-St. Louis Antoine Maxime Monsaldy, “View of the paintings[…]

Cylinder Seals in Ancient Mesopotamia – Their History and Significance

Cylinder seals were impression stamps, often quite intricate in design, used throughout Mesopotamia. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 12.02.2015 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction Among the most interesting and revealing artifacts discovered from ancient Mesopotamia are the objects known as cylinder seals. These fairly small items may be seen today in museum exhibits around[…]

Ancient Greek Women and Art: The Material Evidence

Discussing Ancient Greek women and their relationship to the visual arts solely on the evidence of the extant monuments. By Dr. Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway Professor Emeriti of Archaeology Bryn Mawr College Abstract Ancient Greek women and their relationship to the visual arts are here discussed solely on the evidence of the extant monuments, rather than on[…]

Uncovering Ancient Preparatory Drawings on Greek Ceramics

Detail of a cup currently on view in the new installation at the Getty Villa. The cup depicts a woman playing the drinking game kottabos. Attic Red-Figure Kylix, about 490 B.C., attributed to Onesimos. Terracotta, 3 3/8 × 14 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 82.AE.14. On the left is the painted image in normal light. On[…]

Ancient Minoan Burial Rituals: ‘Reading’ the Hagia Triada Sarcophagus

The Hagia Triada sarcophagus at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: C messier, CC BY-SA 3.0) This sarcophagus is among the best of narrative-style representations of religious customs in ancient Minoa. By Dr. Senta German / 08,17.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford A Coffin for Royalty? Hagia Triada sarcophagus, c. 1400[…]

Grandville: Visions and Dreams in 19th-Century French Art

The Wanderings of a Comet, from Another World, 1844 / Internet Archive With its dreamlike inversions and kaleidoscopic cast of anthropomorphic objects, animals, and plants, the world of French artist J. J. Grandville is at once both delightful and disquieting. Patricia Mainardi explores the unique work of this 19th-century illustrator now recognised as a major precursor[…]

The Netherlands Drawn from Life in the 17th Century

  Coastal Landscape, ca. 1599. Pen and brown, by Annibale Carracci / Public Domain Examining the phenomenon of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape prints that were “drawn from life.” By Dr. Boudewijn Bakker Art Historian Former Director, Stadsarchief Amsterdam Abstract This essay examines the phenomenon of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape prints that were “drawn from life.”  The nascent national pride of the[…]

The Audience Hall of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis

Growth of the Achaemenid Empire under different kings / Wikimedia Commons The great audience hall of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes presents a visual microcosm of the Achaemenid empire. By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 01.24.2016 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Introduction Kylix depicting a Greek hoplite slaying a Persian inside, by[…]

The Medieval Cathedral: Of Light and Stone

Examining the close interdependence of medieval science, technology and religion: the Cathedral. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate Director, Associate Professor of History University of North Dakota Cathedrals are my favorite memorial of medieval Europe—soaring high into the air, their huge vaults seemingly almost weightless upon thin stone pillars, glowing with the radiant light of[…]

The Story of the Medieval Jewish Diaspora in an Illuminated Hebrew Masterpiece

Seven centuries of the Rothschild Pentateuch’s history chart the story. By Dr. Elizabeth Morrison / 09.19.2018 Senior Curator of Manuscripts J. Paul Getty Museum Introduction   [LEFT]: Page from a fifteenth-century Bible on view alongside the Rothschild Pentateuch. Initial P: Saint Paul with a Sword from a Bible, about 1450, made in Cologne, Germany. Ink,[…]

Delacroix at the Met: A Non-Revolutionary Depicting a Revolution

Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Self-Portrait in a Green Vest’ (1837). Wikimedia Commons Through his art and his travels, 19th-century French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix sought to understand the chaos of an era he called ‘the century of unbelievable things.’ By Dr. Claire Black McCoy / 09.14.2018 Professor of Art History Columbus State University I’m an art historian[…]

The Visual Culture of the French Revolution

Liberty leads the people / Wikimedia Commons Exploring the artistic expressions of the French Revolution. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.23.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Réunion des Trois Ordres (Reunion of the Three Estates), 1789 Etching with hand-colouring / Publisher Unrecorded This print is in fact a combination of three etchings produced separately during the[…]

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and the ‘Moral Geography’ of the Medieval World

Mandeville’s Travels was, for more than two centuries after its appearance in c.1356, of enormous influence and popularity in many fields of European culture. This paper discusses first its unprecedented generic eclecticism and its casting into the form of a first person narrative, and then proceeds to explore concepts of space and how a journey[…]

Iconoclasm across Cultures from Antiquity to Modernity

Desecrated Christian icons in Turkey / Photo by Georges Jansoone JoJan, Göreme Valley Open Air Museum, Cappadocia, Wikimedia Commons Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons or monuments, usually for religious or political motives.  In common parlance, an iconoclast is a person who challenges cherished beliefs or traditional institutions as being based on error[…]

South Africa’s Blombos Cave Pushes Earliest Drawing to 73,000 Years

The drawing found on silcrete stone in Blombos Cave. Craig Foster Scientists discovered a 73 000-year-old cross-hatched drawing on a silcrete (stone) flake made with an ochre crayon.   By Dr. Christopher Henshilwood and Dr. Karen Loise van Niekerk / 09.12.2018 Henshilwood: Professor of Evolutionary Studies and African Prehistory Niekerk: Principal Investigator, SapienCE – Centre[…]

Finely-Worked Stone in Incan Architecture

Typical imperial Inca trapezoid windows from the sacred precinct of Coricancha, Cuzco, c. 1438 CE / Photo by Pedro Szekely, Flickr, Creative Commons A spectacular blend of geometrical and natural forms. By Mark Cartwright / 03.12.2014 Historian Introduction Inca architecture includes some of the most finely worked stone structures from any ancient civilization. Inca buildings[…]

Medieval Women: The Arnolfini Portrait and the Expectation of Constant Pregnancy

Jan Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434, tempera and oil on oak panel, 82.2 x 60 cm (National Gallery, London), photo: Dr. Steven Zucker CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Women lived and died in a culture that expected near-constant pregnancy. By Lane Eagles / 08.26.2018 PhD Candidate in Art History University of Washington Is She Really Pregnant? Jan[…]

Yearning for Rome in the Medieval Romanesque

South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century / Wikimedia Commons The Romanesque style appeared to be a continuation of the Roman tradition of building, albeit a much simplified and less technically competent version. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Romanesque architecture is the term that describes the architecture of[…]

The Graeco-Roman-Etruscan Marvel that Was Pompeii

Forum, looking toward Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii Pompeii was not always a Roman town. By the mid-sixth century BCE, both Etruscans and Greeks had settled in the area. By Dr. Francesca Tronchin / 09.02.2018 Independent Scholar of Classical Art and Archaeology Preserved under Volcanic Ash Pompeii may be famous today, with millions of tourists visiting each[…]

Why paint war? British and Belgian Artists in World War One

Battle of the Somme by Muirhead Bone, official British Wart Artist, 1916 / British Library, Public Domain British and Belgian artists of World War One, from Henry de Groux and his eyewitness responses to the Belgian invasion, to the later generation of British artists who transformed their frontline experiences into abstract, modernist artworks. By Dr.[…]

The Influence and Use of Visual Arts in Nazi Germany

Nazi propaganda poster By Yanan Bie University of Birmingham Abstract This article will discuss the influence of visual art in Nazi Germany from two parts of visual arts, which are political photography and poster propaganda, analyzing the unique social and historical stage of Nazi Germany. And it emphasizes the ideology of the Nazis, which in[…]