Moonblight and Six Feet of Romance: Dan Carter Beard’s Foray into Fiction

Illustration from Moonblight (1889) – Internet Archive An esoteric disease which reveals things in their true light; three pairs of disembodied feet galavanting about the countryside – Abigail Walthausen explores the brief but strange literary career of Daniel Carter Beard, illustrator for Mark Twain and a founding father of the Boy Scouts of America. By Abigail Walthausen Although[…]

Computers Can Find Similarities between Paintings – But Art History is So Much More

Thinking does not need machines. Robert Couse-Baker, Creative Commons Art history studies cultures, societies, histories, and experiences and how they are given form. By Dr. Griselda Pollock / 08.22.2014 Professor of the Social & Critical Histories of Art University of Leeds Some computer scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey have written a computer programme that finds connections[…]

Redressing the Balance: Levinus Vincent’s Wonder Theatre of Nature

Detail from a print featured in the first part of Vincent’s Wondertooneel der Nature – Rijks Museum Bert van de Roemer explores the curiosity cabinet of the Dutch collector Levinus Vincent and how the aesthetic drive behind his meticulous ordering of the contents was in essence religious, an attempt to emphasise the wonder of God’s creations by restoring[…]

Photography’s History is Told as Art – It Shouldn’t Be

Linnaeus Tripe, Front of the Mundapum at Secundermalie, 1858. © Wilson Centre for Photography The history of photography needs to be freed from the artistic canon. By Dr. Elizabeth Edwards / 02.23.2015 Professor in Photographic History De Montfort University We all think we know what photographs are, and why we have them. Photographs are everywhere. For the past 150[…]

The Ada Louise Huxtable Archive

Portrait of Ada Louise Huxtable, 1970s. Photograph by L. Garth Huxtable. The Getty Research Institute, 2013.M.9 “Buildings have to stand up” said the critic, whose rich archive has been catalogued by the Getty Research Institute. By Laura Schroffel / 05.23.2014 Library Assistant in Special Collections Cataloging Getty Research Institute When reflecting on her lifetime of[…]

‘Photographing Tutankhamun’ Reveals Historical Context behind Pioneering Images

Iconic photography taken during the decade-long excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb has gone on display at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). 06.14.2018 The exhibition Photographing Tutankhamun has been curated by University of East Anglia (UEA) Egyptologist Dr Christina Riggs and gives a different view on the ‘golden age’ of archaeology and photography in the[…]

Crazy Horse: Leader, Warrior, Martyr…Artist?

The unfinished Crazy Horse memorial in Custer County, South Dakota. Bernd00/Wikimedia Commons More than a century after he died, the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, who famously fought General Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn, is thought of as transcendent force. By Dr. Henry Adams / 10.29.2017 Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History Case Western Reserve University[…]

The Khipu Code: The Knotty Mystery of the Inkas’ 3D Records

Khipu in the Museo Machu Picchu, Casa Concha, Cusco / Wikimedia Commons Instead of words or pictograms, the Inkas used khipus – knotted string devices – to communicate extraordinarily complex mathematical and narrative information. By Dr. Gary Urton (left) and Manuel Medrano (right) / 06.13.2018 Urton: Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies Medrano: Research Assistant, AB Candidate in Applied[…]

The History of Kathmandu Valley, as Told by Its Architecture

Kathmandu’s Darbar Square was one of the worst affected by the earthquake. Jool-yan/shutterstock.com Hundreds of monuments of the Kathmandu Valley’s World Heritage sites were completely destroyed on April 25. Here’s the story of a few of them. By Dr. Michael Hutt / 03.01.2015 Professor of Nepali and Himalayan Studies SOAS, University of London The Kathmandu Valley, which was already called “Nepal” centuries before the emergence of the modern[…]

Athena the Patron: The History of the Parthenon

The Parthenon seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west / Wikimedia Commons The most recognized remaining architecture of Classical Athens and the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Parthenon (Greek: Παρθενώνας) is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena built in the fifth century B.C.E. on the Acropolis[…]

Waterloo Won, War Over: The Painting that Captures the Moment

David Wilkie, Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Waterloo Dispatch, 1822 How did the bulk of those at home in Britain find out the news of Waterloo? By Dr. Philip Shaw / 06.18.2015 Professor of Romantic Studies University of Leicester Picture the scene: it’s the summer of 1815 and a cluster of veterans huddled around an old pensioner reading from a newspaper[…]

The Erotic Art of Ancient Greece and Rome

A fragment of a wall painting showing two lovers in bed from the House of L Caecilius Jucundus in Pompeii, now at Naples National Archaeological Museum. Wikimedia Commons From phallus-shaped wind chimes to explicit erotica on lamps and cups, sex is everywhere in ancient Greek and Roman art. But our interpretations of these images say much about our own culture. By Dr. Craig Barker / 02.22.2018[…]

The Truth about Sex in Ancient Greece

Studies of a reclining male nude: Adam in the fresco ‘The Creation of Man’ on the vault of the Sistine Chapel. c. 1511. Michelangelo. © The Trustees of the British Museum Here are the facts behind four commonly held beliefs about Ancient Greek sexuality. By Dr. James Robson / 04.01.2015 Senior Lecturer in Classics The Open University While we gaze at serene[…]

5 Places to View Pre-Colonial America

It’s not too late to explore our ancient history, and we can begin by grasping a better understanding of tribal perspectives on landmarks, place names, and the historical people and events that make them significant. / Photo by DEA/F. BARBAGALLO/De Agostini/Getty Images The ancient history of this country is often overlooked. Here are landmarks significant to[…]

A Brief History of Immersion, Centuries before VR

milliganpuss, Creative Commons We’ve never needed Oculus Rift to provide immersive experiences – they’ve been around for as long as we have. By Dr. Patrick T. Allen / 05.16.2018 Senior Lecturer in New Media Design University of Bradford Immersive experiences are fashionable at the moment, as virtual reality finally emerges into the mainstream with headsets now commercially available. But[…]

Reinventing Heritage Buildings Isn’t New At All – The Ancients Did It, Too

With the addition of minarets, Hagia Sophia was converted from a Christian basilica to an Islamic mosque. Candace Richards, Author provided Adaptive reuse and recycling of heritage architecture may be all the rage, but are not new. Making new buildings from old has a long history in the ancient world. By Candace Richards / 01.02.2017 Assistant Curator, Nicholson Museum University of Sydney In any debate on new construction[…]

A Cast Fit for an Egyptian King

Video by Kai-Jae Wang/Harvard Staff Guided by Semitic Museum curator, students create ‘Dream Stela’ replica. By Jill Radsken / 06.08.2018 Between the paws of the six-story Great Sphinx in Giza, a slab of hieroglyphs tells the story of how King Thutmose IV dreamed his destiny. The eight-foot Dream Stela was erected in 1401 B.C., 1,000[…]

Written in Stone: The World’s First Trigonometry Revealed in an Ancient Babylonian Tablet

The Plimpton 322 tablet. UNSW/Andrew Kelly, Creative Commons A 3,700-year old Babylonian clay tablet reveals an ancient method of constructing right-angled triangles that makes it the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table.    By Dr. Daniel Mansfield (left) and Dr. Norman Wilderberger (right) / 08.24.2017 Mansfield: Associate Lecturer in Mathematics Wilderberger: Associate Professor in Mathematics University of New South Wales The ancient Babylonians –[…]

The Unintended Consequences of UNESCO World Heritage Listing

UNESCO-listed heritage site Machu Picchu attracts around 1,000 tourists a day. Rodrigo Argenton/Wikipedia, Creative Commons Is UNESCO’s prestigious lists of tangible and intangible heritage damaging the very existence of the sites on them? By Dr. Chloé Maurel / 01.11.2017 French Historian Chercheuse associée à l’Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine (CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure/Université Paris 1) et à l’IRIS Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) The principle of world heritage promoted[…]

While Elgin Marbles Debate Still Rages, a Market for Looted Antiquities Remains

Detail, Phidias(?), Parthenon Frieze, c. 438-32 B.C.E., pentelic marble (420 linear feet of the 525 that complete the frieze are in the British Museum) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA) The international art market that deals in ancient cultural objects casts a destructive shadow. By Dr. Simon Mackenzie / 02.14.2014 Professor of Criminology, Law and Society University[…]

How World War I Sparked the Artistic Movement that Transformed Black America

Aaron Douglas. “Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery to Reconstruction.” Oil on canvas, 1934. The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division. Many associate post-World War I culture with Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s Lost Generation. But for black artists, writers and thinkers, the war changed the way they saw their past and their future. By Dr. Elizabeth J. West / 05.31.2017[…]

Early Modern Memes: The Reuse and Recycling of Woodcuts in 17th-Century English Popular Print

Detail from The BEGGARS Delight, EBBA 34937. As explored later in the essay, this woodcut would be reused in many different contexts, the speech bubble variously filled accordingly — University of California, Santa Barbara, English Broadside Ballad Archive Expensive and laborious to produce, a single woodcut could be recycled to illustrate scores of different ballads, each new[…]

The Real-Life Origins of the Legendary Kraken

Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy The myth of a monstrous giant squid prowling the oceans has persisted for centuries but scientists have been able to reveal the truth behind the stories. By Dr. Rodrigo Brincalepe Salvador / 12.30.2015 Researcher, Natural Sciences and Paleontology Museum of New Zealand The Kraken is perhaps the largest monster ever imagined by mankind. In Nordic folklore, it was said to[…]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A History of Monsters, from Werewolves to Hippogriffs

Warner Brothers In the world of Harry Potter, beasts are to be protected, not feared. But this concern for monsters is hardly modern. By Dr. Marta Cobb / 11.16.2016 Teaching Fellow in Medieval Studies University of Leeds Stories involving fantastic beasts are some of the oldest narratives we possess, but the threat posed by the beast is usually perceived as being[…]