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[…]

The Snake Goddess of Ancient Minoa, an Enticing Mystery

Snake Goddess from the palace at Knossos, c. 1600 B.C.E., faience, 29.5 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0) What she meant to the Minoans who made her is not very well understood. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford An Enticing[…]

Preserving the Legacy of the Los Angeles Woman’s Building

Outside the Woman’s Building, 1975. The Getty Research Institute, 2018.M.16. Photo: Maria Karras. Gift of Maria Karras. © Maria Karras, BFA, RBP, MA Several feminist art archives to be preserved and accessible thanks to new grant. By Andra Darlington / 11.01.2018 Head of Special Collections Management Getty Research Institute In 1973, artist Judy Chicago, designer[…]

How Architecture Influences Life and Lifestyle

Buildings affect how we sleep, work, socialise and even breathe. They can isolate and endanger us, but they can also heal us. In this extract from ‘Living with Buildings and Walking with Ghosts’ , Iain Sinclair explores the relationships between social planning and health, taking detours along the way. By Iain Sinclair / 10.24.2018 Moving now,[…]

Drawing the Human Animal

Charles Le Brun, The relation between the human physiognomy and that of the brute creation / Wellcome Collection While the ‘science’ of physiognomy defined character by physical characteristics, a series of extraordinary 17th-century drawings goes a step further. Melding animal and human features, what do these images have to say about our hidden inclinations? By Allison[…]

17th-Century Artistic Attempts to Imagine ‘Perfect’ Animal Forms before ‘the Fall’

Crispin van de Passe’s perfect elephant as featured in his ‘t Light der teken en schilderkonst (1643) / Internet Archive Does each species have an optimal form? An ideal beauty that existed prior to the Fall? And if so could this be recreated on both paper and in life? These were questions that concerned both artists and[…]

Native Americans and the Dehumanizing Force of the Photograph

Dance bonnet and scalplock of an Omaha Indian / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons The legacy and impact of photographs that make for some uncomfortable viewing. By Allison C. Meier / 03.22.2018 Photographs, and how people are presented in them, can impact health and survival. In the 19th century, such photographs and artistic depictions of indigenous people as primitives[…]

Native Americans through the 19th-Century Lens

Portrait of Assuz, a San Carlos Apache Indian, c 1898 / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons The pictures are striking and iconic, but the story behind them is far from black and white. Here, we profile 19th-century photographer Frank Rinehart’s remarkable portrayal of Native Americans. By Allison C. Meier / 03.22.2018 The 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in[…]

The Petrifying Gaze of Medusa: Ambivalence, Explexis, and the Sublime

Photo by bl3w, Flickr, Creative Commons Tracing the notion of ekplexis in Greek rhetoric and the connections in etymology, myth, and pictorial traditions, between the petrifying powers of art and the myth of Medusa. By Dr. Caroline van Eck Professor of Art History University of Cambridge Abstract The Dutch art theorists Junius and van Hoogstraten describe the sublime,[…]

How Gothic Architecture Became Associated with the Supernatural

Brodie castle, north Scotland. Albert de Bruijn, CC BY-SA How medieval spires and snarling gargoyles went out of fashion and then made a spectacular return under – you guessed it – the Victorians. By Dr. Peter Lindfield / 10.30.2016 Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow Manchester Metropolitan University If you want foreboding old buildings that dark lords and werewolves are bound to frequent, look no[…]

Negotiating the Past in Berlin: The Palast der Republik

Lars Ø Ramberg, “Palast des Zweifels” on the roof of the Palast der Republik, January 26. – May 15. 2005 (photo: Dr. Naraelle Hohensee, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) With the destruction of the Palast der Republik, the site of the royal palace continues its long history as the central showplace for state-sponsored projections of national identity. By Dr. Naraelle[…]

Petra: Wonder in the Desert

Petra, Jordan: The rock of Fassade and of “ed-Deir.” Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel. How a mysterious kingdom of former nomads created a luxurious, urban oasis in an inhospitable climate.    Interview of Laurent Gorgerat (right) by James Blake Wiener (left) / 05.07.2013 Wiener: Communications Director, Ancient History Encyclopedia Gorgerat: Curator, Antikenmuseum Basel Few places on earth have captivated humanity[…]