Conservation Work Reveals the Hidden Revisions of Pontormo, Italian Renaissance Master

Study and treatment of a Renaissance altarpiece reveals new details about the artist’s working method, as well as his brilliant colors. By Chelika Yapa Advances in imaging technology have revolutionized science and medicine—and today, they are also revolutionizing the study and conservation of art. New imaging techniques have made it possible for art conservators and[…]

The History and Art of Protest Posters

One of the most common mediums for political art has long been poster making. One of the most common mediums for political art is poster making. From the Mexican Revolution to recent marches infuriated by the Trump administration, posters have continually been used as a powerful form of protest and a symbol of discontent. The[…]

Historical Perception of Architecture and Cultural History Approach

The holistic nature of cultural history approach makes us consider all factors that may have contributed to the creation of architecture. Introduction The experts and specialists in the field of architecture have had different viewpoints and approaches in defining the concepts of “history” and “the history of architecture”, all through the compiled history of architecture.[…]

Stopping Time to Study History: The Art of Textile Conservation

It has fallen on textile conservators to keep historic textiles preserved, and a surprising amount of science aids them in this quest. Introduction In one of the lower-level exhibition rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston is a large red and blue mantle from Peru made of camelid wool. Stylized faces embroidered in yellow,[…]

“O Uommibatto”: How the Pre-Raphaelites Became Obsessed with the Wombat

Dante Gabriel Rossetti and company’s curious but longstanding fixation with the furry oddity that is the wombat — that “most beautiful of God’s creatures” which found its way into their poems, their art, and even, for a brief while, their homes. In 1857, the English artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti — central figure of the Pre-Raphaelite[…]

Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn: Asian Masters of American Art

Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn were Asian American artists who made major contributions to the two most important movements in American art between 1930 and 1960—Regionalism and Abstract Expressionism. Introduction Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn were Asian American artists who made major contributions to the two most important movements in American art between 1930 and[…]

The Art of the Viking Age

Viking Age Scandinavians almost exclusively made applied art – aesthetically appealing and useful. By Emma GroeneveldHistorian Introduction Art made by Scandinavians during the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) mostly encompassed the decoration of functional objects made of wood, metal, stone, textile and other materials with relief carvings, engravings of animal shapes and abstract patterns. The motif of the[…]

Exploring Medieval Theories of Color through Glass

An unlikely combination of artists, medieval historians, philosophers and scientists have converged to create an exhibition of glass artworks. What is colour? This is one of those big questions that unlock “treasure chests” containing centuries of riches. Reach in and there are jewels to be discovered – of classical learning, philosophy, science ancient and modern,[…]

Rare Blue Pigment in Medieval Woman’s Teeth Reveal Highly Skilled Artist

A new study posits the woman was licking brushes covered with pigments of lapis lazuli, a rare and expensive stone used to decorate illuminated manuscripts. By Brigit Katz In 2011, a team of scientists decided to study the teeth of a medieval woman who had been buried in Germany sometime between 1000 and 1200 A.D.[…]

Ottoman-Era Photographs Take on New Meaning in Their Digital Life

Thousands of images from the Pierre de Gigord Collection are now accessible online. By Isotta PoggiDepartment of Acquisitions of Exhibitions and PhotographsGetty Research Institute Introduction In the 1980s the French collector Pierre de Gigord traveled to Turkey and collected thousands of Ottoman-era photographs in a variety of media and formats. The resulting Pierre de Gigord Collection[…]

Life before the Collapse of the Soviet Union: The Photography of Henry Sara

Sara’s images defined the Soviet Union at its ‘base line’. What was life like in early Soviet Union? As Russians established the USSR after the Great War, British left-wing activist Henry Sara visited the country and, during his time there, took photographs of the people, landscape and the emerging Soviet State. Those photographs went on[…]

Sewing Needles Reveal the Prehistoric Roots of Fashion

Humans have crafted garments for more than 40,000 years—and prehistoric tools suggest that warmth wasn’t their only concern. By Jacob Pagano The Inya River in southwestern Siberia winds through a landscape of striking seasonal changes. In the summer, crystal clear waters lap below alpine forests. As winter approaches, the river freezes, fierce snowstorms shroud the[…]

John Thomson’s 19th-Century Chinese Treaty-Port Imagery

Westerners were a feature of late-19th-century China, albeit a much smaller presence than Thomson would have us believe. In subscribing to the views and types protocol, Thomson was no different than most 19th-century commercial photographers working in Asia. This simple dichotomy provided a convenient means to organize and present large inventories to potential customers, and[…]

John Thomson’s China, 1873: Reframing the Past

Thomson’s photographic medium possessed qualities that draw the attention of viewers and lay claim to a degree of visual authority. Formats and Picture Size Thomson used three formats for the scenic views in Illustrations of China and Its People. The smallest images (roughly 3.5 in. square) are grouped four to a page; medium sized images[…]

Indigenous Basket-Weaving as an Excellent Digital Math Lesson

Academic disciplines such as mathematics can contribute through community-led partnerships with Indigenous peoples. Public universities across Canada are committed to addressing the calls to action included in the final report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). There is a general expectation that academic institutions and faculty members across the country will contribute to this[…]

Rugendas’ Iconography of the Animal Condition in 19th-Century Brazilian Society

Rugendas up the challenging mission of drawing and conveying the New World to Europe. A significant weakness of commonplace records of the first four centuries of Brazil’s history is that they do not capture the wide range of interactions between humans and nonhuman animals, nor recognize them as an essential element in the formation of[…]

December 23, 1888: The Van Gogh Story Everyone Wants to Hear

On the night before Christmas Eve in 1888 — a cold Sunday evening in the French city of Arles — Vincent Van Gogh took the razor he kept on his small dressing table and slashed off his left earlobe. By Dr. Donna YaminiSessional Lecturer in History and ArtUniversity of Reading No historians or biographers can[…]

A Brief History of Animals in Early Modern and Modern Children’s Literature

Books had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count, and understand the world around them. Stories about animals have always been a staple of children’s literature. At first, such books were not particularly concerned with entertainment, but had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count and understand[…]

Animals in Thai Manuscript Art

Examining the role of animals in Thai manuscript art. Illustrations of real and mythical animals play an important role in Thai manuscript art, especially in Buddhist folding books and in animal treatises, but also in manuscripts related to astrology, divination and fortune telling. The belief that certain animals have super-natural powers is well reflected through[…]

The Style and Regional Differences of Seljuk Persian Minarets

Seljuk art and architecture is a fusion of Persian, Islamic, and Central Asian (Turkic) elements. By Dr. Fatema AlSulaitiExpert in Islamic Archaeology Under the Seljuk rule, Persia gained a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The innovative techniques of the Seljuk period and style in architecture and the arts had a strong influence on later[…]

Religious Dimensions of Classical and Contemporary Islamic Art

Analyzing classical religious influences on the work of Ehab Mamdouh. Abstract This paper focuses on the work of Egyptian Islamic contemporary artist Ehab Mamdouh who grew up in Saudi Arabia, then moved to Cairo, where he was exposed to religious, historical concepts and art forms, then came back to work in Saudi Arabia to observe[…]

The Ambulatory Archive: Santa Muerte Tattoos as Historical Sources

Historians have often neglected tattoos as a source, as artifacts that shed light upon society. In Christopher Nolan’s film “Memento,” the main character, Leonard Shelby, suffers from amnesia. To trigger his memories—both real and imagined—he uses a jarring mnemonic device: tattoos, webbed across his body, reminding him of his mission of revenge. Outside the movie[…]

Inka Textile Fabrication in the All-T’oqapu Tunic

The All-T’oqapu Tunic is an example of the height of Andean textile fabrication and its centrality to Inka expressions of power. Introduction The Inka were masters of statecraft, forging an empire that at its height extended from modern Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile. One of the engines that drove the empire was the exchange of[…]

The Paracas Textile of Ancient Peru

Despite the textile’s small size, it contains a vast amount of information about the people who lived in ancient Peru. By Lois Martin Mummy Bundles One of the most extraordinary masterpieces of the pre-Columbian Americas is a nearly 2,000-year-old cloth from the South Coast of Peru, which has been in the collection of the Brooklyn[…]

Mapping the British Caribbean in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Analyzing how three maps of Barbados promoted a flattering image of British colonialism in the Caribbean. To any nation pursuing the creation of a New World empire during the early modern period, maps indisputably held great importance. Together with other products of the geographic trade, they provided a fundamental means to construct and disseminate among[…]

J. W. Waterhouse’s ‘Ulysses and the Sirens’: Breaking Tradition and Revealing Fears

Waterhouse’s images of Circe, sirens and sorceresses raise a number of questions. By Michelle Bonollo Mr Waterhouse selected for illustration the well-known passage in the twelfth book of the ‘Odyssey’ of Homer, in which the poet has described the passage of the wanderer’s vessel through the Strait of Messina, with Scylla on the one side[…]

Peasant and Nestrobber: Bruegel as Witness of His Times in 16th-Century Antwerp and Brussels

In ‘Peasant and Nestrobber’, Bruegel was engaged with the troubles of his time. Abstract Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant and Nestrobber (1568) remains one of his most challenging paintings. By the time of its creation Bruegel had already innovated by treating ordinary people as subjects suitable for the attention of a serious painter. In this[…]