Muhammad: An Anticlerical Hero of the European Enlightenment

During the European Enlightenment, a number of authors presented Muhammad as an anticlerical hero. Publishing the Quran and making it available in translation was a dangerous enterprise in the 16th century, apt to confuse or seduce the faithful Christian. This, at least, was the opinion of the Protestant city councillors of Basel in 1542, when[…]

Secluding Nuns in Early Christian Monastic Communities to Avoid Scandal

Since the early days of monasticism, the presence of nuns led to restrictions that limited contact between men and women. Pope Francis recently stated that Catholic nuns in various parts of the world, including Africa, Europe, India and Latin America, have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests and bishops. In his comments during a news[…]

Donatello’s ‘St. Mark’: A Medieval Sculptor Prioritizing Viewer Perception

Donatello, St. Mark, 1411-13, marble, 93″ (236 cm) (Orsanmichele, Florence). Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris By Dr. David Boffa / 04.17.2017 Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History Beloit College A humorous anecdote Donatello, Saint Mark, 1411-13, marble, 93″ (236 cm) Orsanmichele, Florence (photo) The sixteenth-century artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari gives us a[…]

Ottonian Art Style in the Gospel Book of Otto III

Double page opening: Provinces Bringing Tribute (f.23v.) and Ruler Portrait of Otto III (f.24) Gospels of Otto III, c. 1000, each page 33.4 x 24.2 cm, ink, gold, paint, parchment (Munich, Bayerische Stattsbibliothek, Clm.4453) By Dr. Andreas Petzold / 08.08.2015 Professor of History of Art MPW London The double page opening of the ruler portrait of Otto III (f.24,[…]

Revenge for Athens: Alexander the Great and the Burning of Persepolis

After looting its treasures, Alexander burned the great palace and surrounding city to the ground, as Xerxes had done to Athens. In the year 330 BCE Alexander the Great conquered the Persian capital city of Persepolis, and after looting its treasures, burned the great palace and surrounding city to the ground. Persepolis had been known in antiquity as Parsa (`The City of[…]

‘The Marduk Prophecy’: A Traveling Statue in Ancient Assyria

The author would have constructed the narrative to place the events in the past in order to allow for a ‘prophetic vision’. Introduction The Marduk Prophecy is an Assyrian document dating to between 713-612 BCE found in a building known as The House of the Exorcist adjacent to a temple in the city of Ashur. It relates the travels of the statue of[…]