Beware Cupid’s Arrow! French Print Reveals Dangers of Romantic Mix-Ups

The Exchange of Arrows Between Death and Cupid, ca. 1665–1701, Pierre Landry (publisher). Engraving. The Getty Research Institute, 2012.PR.102 By Courtney Wilder / 02.14.2013 “Hide your heart from sight, Lock your dreams at night, It could happen to you.” While the presumably dreadful “it” referred to in the opening verse of “It Could Happen to[…]

The Art and Knowledge in Medieval Herbals

The illustrations in medieval herbals are beautiful and mysterious. But if you know how to read them, they also convey a wealth of knowledge about the plants they portray. By Julia Nurse / 10.04.2017 Collections Researcher Wellcome Library The illustrated herbal has an almost unbroken line of descent from the ancient Greeks to the Middle[…]

Temples and Cities in Ancient Egypt

The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramesses II’s chief consort, Nefertari, at Abu Simbel / Photo by Ad Meskens, Wikimedia Commons A close relationship with particular deities was an important aspect of regional identity in pharaonic Egypt. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology[…]

Bull-Leaping Paintings at Ancient Knossos: What Do They Tell Us?

Bull-leaping fresco from the east wing of the palace of Knossos (reconstructed), c. 1400 B.C.E., fresco, 78 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Jebulon, CC0) The most interesting question about the bull leaping paintings from Knossos is what they might mean. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum[…]

Bull’s Head Rhyta and Their Ritual Significance in Ancient Minoa

Bull’s head rhyton from the palace at Knossos, c. 1550-1500 B.C.E., black steatite, jasper, and mother-of-pearl, 26 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0) Images of bulls are among the most important in Minoan art. By Dr. Senta German / 08.16.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford[…]

Building the City in Ancient Egypt

Ruins of ancient Thebes A team of four men could produce 3,000 mudbricks per day. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction Egypt, more particularly the Nile Valley between Aswan and Cairo, is blessed with a cornucopia of constructional resources. An ancient Egyptian who made the (sometimes very short) stroll from the[…]

Metsys’s Musician: A Newly Recognized Early Work and Its Implications

This new attribution creates a benchmark for the late-medieval artist’s oeuvre, against which other works can now be compared.    By Rafael Barrientos Martinez and Dr. Larry Silver Martinez: PhD Student in Art History, University of California, Los Angeles Silver: Farquhar Professor of Art History, University of Pennsylvania The major late fifteenth-century portrait of Jacob Obrecht, from[…]

An Introduction to the Roman Drunken Satyr

Conservator William Shelley and preparator Rita Gomez of the Getty Museum oversee the sculpture’s safe arrival in the Getty Villa conservation studios. Drunken Satyr, 1st century BC–1st century AD, Roman. Bronze, 137 cm high. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, inv. 5628. Reproduced by agreement with the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities and Tourism. National[…]

Mapping the Body with ‘Ayurvedic Man’ in 18th-Century Nepal

Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons An exquisite treasury of illustrations and objects, the Ayurvedic Man picture book presents a visual history of some of the earliest medical systems and healing practices in the world. It traces Ayurveda and Indian medicine as they travelled from East to West, gaining, losing and regaining popularity over the centuries. This extract features a[…]

The Redemption of Saint Anthony in Gustave Flaubert

“Anthony: What Is the Point of All This? The Devil: There Is No Point!”, by Odilon Redon from his “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” series – Wikimedia Commons Gustave Flaubert, best known for his masterpiece Madame Bovary, spent nearly thirty years working on a surreal and largely ‘unreadable’ retelling of the temptation of Saint Anthony. Colin Dickey[…]

Plaster Cover-Up and the “Last Judgment” at Autun Cathedral

Tympanum depicting the “Last Judgment” from the Saint-Lazare Cathedral, Autun, France. c. 1120-1130 or c. 1130-1145. Base of tympanum is approximately 21′ in length By Dr. Monica Bowen / 06.28.2017 Professor of Art History Seattle University I was discussing the “Last Judgment” tympanum at the Cathedral of Autun with my students. I pointed out some details of the[…]

Palaces in Ancient Egypt: Cities for Kings and Gods

Illustration of the ancient palace of Malkata The grandeur that early European explorers had come to expect in royal building programs seems to have been reserved for sacred space and funerary complexes. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction For early European explorers in Egypt, it was inconceivable that the massive monumental[…]

British Soldier Artists in Colonial India

Whether drawing for official purposes or for pleasure, soldier-artists contributed a rich source to the visual imagery of colonial India in the 18th and 19th centuries. By Dr. Margaret Makepeace and Patrician Kattenhorn (not pictured) Makepeace: Fellow, Royal Historical Society Kattenhorn: Artist Britain’s earliest foothold in India came with trading stations, or factories, set up[…]

Royal Recipes in Mid-19th Century India

Some exciting recipes from the first cookbooks printed in Indian languages. The cuisines detailed within these books graced royal courts for nearly two millennia. By Dr. Abhijit Gupta Associate Professor of English Jadavpur University    Which was the first-ever cookbook in India? Candidates for this honour must be many and pretty much impossible to determine, but[…]

Noble Villas in New Kingdom Egypt

There were distinct differences between city and village (country) life, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Although, with exceptions at Amarna, there are few surviving traces of noble villas from the New Kingdom, we have some idea of how they must have looked[…]

Preserving Ancient Mosaics in the Mediterranean

A restorer removes mortar on a mosaic in Tipasa, Algeria. Image courtesy the Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the Arles Antiquities Museum Flexibility in a funding initiative for mosaics conservators leads to a range of positive outcomes. By Dr. Joan Weinstein / 11.27.2018 Acting Director Getty Foundation Introduction Grant-making is rarely a linear process. It often involves twists and turns along the[…]

Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Tower of Babel’ and the Creation of a Harmonious Community in Antwerp

Analyzing how the theme of the painting, a story of miscommunication and disorder, resonated with the challenges faced by the metropolis. By Dr. Barbara A. Kaminska Assistant Professor of Art History Sam Houston State University Abstract This article discusses Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel (now in Vienna), originally displayed in the suburban villa of Antwerp entrepreneur Niclaes[…]

Unsentimental Vistas: Berenice Abbott and 20th-Century Interwar Urban Photography

Berenice Abbott “I am an American, who, after eight years of residence in Europe, came back to view America with new eyes.” By Ayten Tartici PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature Yale University When the American photographer Berenice Abbott returned to New York in 1929 after nearly a decade away in Paris, she came back to[…]

“Columbia’s Noblest Sons”: Washington and Lincoln in Popular Prints

The admiration of these two former presidents has risen to the level of a posthumous apotheosis in artistic representation. By Harold Holzer Historian, Lincoln Scholar “I venture to claim for Abraham Lincoln the place next to George Washington.” So wrote George S. Boutwell, the Civil War congressman from Massachusetts who went on to serve under[…]

Deifying the First President in ‘The Apotheosis of Washington’

The Apotheosis of Washington by Constantino Brumidi, 1865 / United States Capitol rotunda, Wikimedia Commons The Apotheosis of Washington depicts George Washington sitting amongst the heavens in an exalted manner, or in literal terms, ascending and becoming a god (apotheosis). Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 12.06.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Apotheosis of Washington is the fresco painted by Greek-Italian artist[…]

Navigating Dürer’s Woodcuts for ‘The Ship of Fools’

Attributed to Albrecht Dürer, woodcut illustration for Chapter 85, “Not Providing for Death” At the start of his career, as a young man in his twenties, Albrecht Dürer created a series of woodcuts to illustrate Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools of 1494. Dürer scholar Rangsook Yoon explores the significance of these early pieces and how in[…]

Confronting Power and Violence in the Renaissance Nude

Venus of Urbino, 1538, Titian. Oil on canvas, 47 in x 65 in. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. Source: Wikimedia Commons From seductive centerfolds to noble savages, images of the naked human body played a complex and sometimes troubling role in European culture. By Dr. Sherry C.M. Lindquist / 12.04.2018 Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in[…]

Recording and Representing India: The East India Company’s Landscape Practices

Posthumous papers bequeathed to the honorable the East India company, and printed by order of the government of Bengal / Wikimedia Commons The East India Company produced thousands of views that helped to consolidate its authority over much of south Asia in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Rosie Dias discovers some examples from the[…]

Illuminated Manuscripts, Illuminating Medicines

From hunting rare bugs to harvesting the world’s most expensive plant parts, conservator Cheryl Porter will try almost anything to learn more about pigments from the past. These colours weren’t only used to illuminate manuscripts and paintings – they were also important medicines, and artists would often source the raw materials for their work from[…]

The ‘Horns of Moses’ in Artistic, Literary, and Archaeological Context

Why, in many representations, do we see Moses with horns? Lecture by Dr. Thomas Römer / 02.05.2009 Professor of Biblical Studies Collège de France Introduction Any self-respecting scholar of the Bible has to examine the question of literary genres, which is one of the methodological tools of biblical research. Therefore, to prepare this lecture that I am giving[…]

What the World Can Learn from Greece’s Passion for the Arts

Despite its economic crises, Greece did not falter in its mission to support arts and culture. Rhodes, pictured here, has become a role model when it comes to promoting a visionary cultural policy and supporting a vibrant arts and culture community. Serhat Beyazkaya/Unsplash The Greek model of supporting the arts is both old and ongoing; it embraces difference and internationalism[…]

The ‘Donne Hours’: A Codicological Puzzle

This medieval manuscript lies at the center of a group of books of hours produced by artists of different provenances. By Dr. Anne DuBois Postdoctoral Fellow FRS-FNRS (Belgian Fund for Scientific Research) The Donne Hours (Louvain-la-Neuve, Archives de l’Université, Ms A2) manuscript is well known to art historians under the name of the Louthe Hours. Produced by Simon[…]

“La Parisienne” of Ancient Minoa: Mortal or Goddess?

Woman or goddess (“La Parisienne”) from the Camp-Stool fresco, c.1350 B.C.E., western wing of the palace at Knossos, buon fresco, 20 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion) Whatever her original meaning, La Parisienne is an enduring testament to the skill of Minoan fresco painters. By Dr. Senta German / 08.14.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation[…]