Picturing Pyrotechnics

Detail from an image showing fireworks in Hamburg to celebrate the coronation of Emperor Franz I. Stephan in 1745, found in Klebeband 10 of the Fürstlich Waldecksche Hofbibliothek – Wikimedia Commons Simon Werrett explores how artists through the ages have responded to the challenge of representing firework displays, from the highly politicised and allegorical renderings of[…]

Henry Morton Stanley and the Pygmies: Stereotypes in Victorian Society

Henry Morton Stanley as pictured in the frontispiece to Volume 1 of his In Darkest Africa (1890) – Internet Archive After returning from his disastrous mission to central Africa to rescue a German colonial governor, the explorer Henry Morton Stanley was eager to distract from accusations of brutality with his ‘discovery’ of African pygmies. Brian Murray explores how[…]

Three-Dimensionality in Signorelli’s Orvieto Cathedral Renaissance Fresco

Luca Signorelli, The Damned Cast into Hell, 1499-1504, fresco, 23′ wide (San Brizio chapel, Orvieto Cathedral, Orvieto, Italy) By Dr. Shannon Pritchard / 08.09.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History University of Southern Indiana Imagine being confronted by this scene—men and women screaming, their nude bodies contorted in pain as they are tortured by garishly colored demons. Naked men[…]

Early Applications of Linear Perspective

By Dr. Joseph Daubin / 08.09.2015 Distinguished University Professor of History The Graduate Center City University of New York Representing the body What renaissance artists had clearly achieved through the careful observation of nature, including studies of anatomical dissections, was the means to recreate the 3-dimensional physical reality of the human form on two-dimensional surfaces.[…]

Saint of Science: The Religious Life of Isaac Newton

Peter Harrison reviews Rob Iliffe’s Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton. By Dr. Peter Harrison / 02.02.2018 Australian Laureate Fellow Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities University of Queensland When Isaac Newton died on March 31, 1727, his estate included a massive amount of unpublished material. Almost 2000 short manuscripts, haphazardly[…]

How Cotton Textile Production in Medieval China Unraveled Patriarchy

Detail of the central embroidery work of a woman’s summer robe, c1875–1900. / Wikimedia Commons In China, as in much of the preindustrial world, women carried out most of the textile production. By Dr. Melanie Meng Xue / 06.27.2018 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Economics Center for Economic History Northwestern University, Illinois Many societies suffer from the[…]