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Royal Chelsea Hospital - an elegant retirement village for ex servicemen

King Charles II was the personal patron of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who helped rebuild London after the 1666 Great Fire. Whatever one thinks of the later Stuarts, no-one can accuse Charles II of shirking his responsibilities...Show More Summary

Those Who Are About To Die

"Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant" (1859) by the French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Gérôme loved the spectacular death in the arena and painted it normally with the perspective from inside out.

The Naked Truth About the Nude in Art

When you get down to the bare facts, there’s no genre of art older than that of the nude. The bare human figure—male and female, but more often female—commands attention as much as it makes us turn away in modesty or, worse, shame. The...Show More Summary

Totally rewriting art history!! Dura Europos

Everyone knows that historical learning increases incrementally!So imagine an accidental discovery of documents or art objects that utterly change the way we understand a piece of history. One example will show what I mean. Florence Nightingale arrived in Scutari in November 1854 with her nurses. Show More Summary

Scotland's first major overseas colony Panama 1698

Difficult European projects in Central and South America, of interest at least to historians, are not new to this blog. Consider for example the French scandal in building the Panama Canal and the ultimate failure of the Australian socialist utopia in Paraguay. Show More Summary

Obsequies For A Cat

The Obsequies of an Egyptian Cat (1886) by the British painter John Reinhard Weguelin (1849-1927). A priestess kneels before an altar upon which is placed the mummy of a cat. She is burning incense, and has presented offerings of flowers and food to the cat's spirit, together with a plate of milk. Show More Summary

Does Art Need Religion?

Everyone knows there are two things you never bring up in conversation—politics and religion. In this secular age chock full of wars fought over one faith or another, many never want to hear about the role of religion in the world, unable to see any good within all that bad. Show More Summary

Winnipeg, Little Kiev, New Jerusalem and New Iceland (1875-1925)

Historically Manitoba had been at the heart of Rupert's Land, owned by the Hudson's Bay Company. Shortly after Manitoba was admitted into Confed­er­ation with three other Canadian provinces in 1870, ex­tensive plans for the new province’s colonisation were urgently needed. Show More Summary

Michelangelo Meets Titian

Titian was one of the most famous painters of the Renaissance.  Michelangelo and he were contemporaries but their conceptions of painting had little in common. They met once.  Giorgio Vasari arranged the meeting. Titian ((1490–1576) by himself, in the  Prado … Continue reading ?

Sydney and the royal family - Prince Henry, The Lost Prince, 1612

The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney (until 28th Sep 2014) is showing two portraits of royal siblings on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in London. I will cite the words of the AGNSW coordinator, Josephine Touma, who wrote a wonderful history of these two Stuart royals. Show More Summary

A Warrior Saint

Joan of Arc in battle by the German Romantic painter Hermann Anton Stilke (1803-1860). This is the central part of a his Joan of Arc Triptych.

Famous Painters: Diego Velazquez

Inarguably, Diego Velazquez is one of the most famous painters in the entirety of Western art history. He lived and worked during the Golden Age of Spanish painting, and he ruled it. The history of Spanish painting is the simple lineage...Show More Summary

Is Haruki Murakami the Thelonius Monk of Fiction?

From 1974 through 1981, Haruki Murakami ran a jazz club in Tokyo, Japan, and wondered what direction his life would run. After long soul searching, his life ran in the direction of becoming a novelist. He hasn’t stopped running since,...Show More Summary

Synagogue architecture in Poznan in a desperate state

In 1848, Germans dominated numerically in the western and northern regions of the Grand Duchy of Poznan, although they remained clearly in the minority in the central and eastern counties. Additionally 80,000 Jews lived in the Grand Duchy of Poznan in Prussia, making this the largest Jewish population centre in the entire Prussian monarchy. Show More Summary

Victorious Return

Les Corsaires 1806 by the French military painter Maurice Orange (1867-1916). A French privateer has captured a British ship. Now the men are returning in triumph with their prisoners, the conquered ship, the flag and rich spoils.

Royal Albert Hall or The Proms - which came first?

Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, was delighted with the success of the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851, and envisaged a lengthier list of facilities that would uplift the Great British Public via the arts and sciences. The...Show More Summary

Was the Romantic Beethoven Really a “Radical Evolutionary”?

Of all the standard myths and accepted truths of the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven, the idea of the “Romantic” Beethoven—the embodiment of Germanic sturm und drang and 19 th century revolution—clings the most. In a massive new...Show More Summary

The Fight for Images of Ferguson

The flood of images of violence and unrest continues to flow from Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. (See one slide show here.) The promise of a “post-racial America” after the election...Show More Summary

Danubia: a personal history of the Habsburg Europe

Every reviewer should declare his/her interests in a topic before typ­ing the first word of the review. So here we go. Firstly my husband and his entire family were Czech. Secondly I regularly lecture on both “Habsburg Art and Architecture” and “Vienna’s Jewish History”. Show More Summary

Patriotic Students

The students march out to defend Copenhagen during the 1658 siege (1889) by the Danish painter Vilhelm Jacob Rosenstand (1838-1915).

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