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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).

Hotel Ritz in Paris: German occupation, sex, spies and great food

Tilar Mazzeo traced the history of the Hotel Ritz, a cultural landmark that opened its doors in fin de siècle Paris (1898). I found the hotel's story fascinating since Cesar Ritz, Auguste Escoffier, Capt Dreyfus and Marcel Proust already appeared in this blog. Show More Summary

Charles Darwin and his family's terrible medical condition

Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882) was born to a wealthy doctor and financier Robert Darwin and his wife Susannah Wedgwood Darwin; plus he was a grandson of the brilliant physician and scientist, Erasmus Darwin. But all the family's medical scholarship and financial resources couldn't save young Charles from a life of pain. Show More Summary

A Broken Heart

Napoleons Farewell To Josephine by the British painter Laslett John Pott (1837-1898). Normally Pott was more specialized in military scenes but here he depicted the great hero on a romantic battlefield.

a feast of exhibitions for Edward Seago, a fine landscapist

Edward Seago (1910–1974) was not ever a healthy young lad. He was born to a Norwich coal merchant, and was given a proper education but not in art. I don’t suppose his parents were thrilled when he decided to become a professional artist but it was better than his other passion – travelling circuses. Show More Summary

Golden Lane - Prague's historic heritage

My children certainly knew their grandparents spoke Czech (and Hungarian) at work in Australia, and they understood that their father spent his young years in Prague. But they had never seen a photo or painting of the Prague cityscape. Show More Summary

Historical Pin-Up

Cleopatra as a kind of pin-up by the American artist Victor Tchetchet (1891-1974). Tchetchet was a famous pin-up calendar and cover artist working for magazines like American Weekly, Liberty, Master Detective, Photoplay.

Hearing and Seeing James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake Anew

“riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay,” begins James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, opening a torrent of words that has drowned many readers in confusion over Joyce’s modernist approach. A fresh new edition ofShow More Summary

Are Liberals Killing Art?

In his recent New Republic article titled “Liberals Are Killing Art: How the Left became obsessed with ideology over beauty,” art critic Jed Perl makes a convoluted argument that liberalism now “find[s] the emotions unleashed by theShow More Summary

Famous Paintings: Garden of Earthly Delights

Garden of Earthly Delights is a series of superlatives: the best-known work of Hieronymous Bosch (ca. 1450-1516), one of the most famous paintings in Western art history, and one of the most influential, inspirational works for Surrealist...Show More Summary

The Prado's treasures come to Melbourne

The Spanish collection of Italian Art now in Melbourne comes from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Until the end of August 2014, c100 paint­ings from their collection are on loan for our winter block­buster, tracing the stylistic development of Italian art across three centuries. Show More Summary

Dramatic Action

The death of Simon de Montort by the French artist Alphonse de Neuville (1835-1885). This book illustration was done for Guizot's History of France. Simon de Montort was the cruel leader in the Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209–1229) an was killed during the siege of Toulouse on 25 June 1218 smashed by a stone from a mangonel, operated by the women of Toulouse.

Harry Seidler, second generation Bauhaus architect in Australia

Harry Seidler (1923–2006) was born to a Jewish Viennese family in 1923. Clearly he was still in primary school when the Nazis closed down the amazing Bauhaus Academy in Berlin in 1933, yet he went on to become the first architect to build according to Bauhaus modernist rules in Australia. Show More Summary

Michelangelo’s Only Easel Painting

Tondo Doni, 1504-1505, (diameter: 120 cm)  Uffizi, Florence  (Wikipedia public domain photo) Tondo, short for rotondo, is a round painting or sculptural relief. Doni is the name of the man who ordered it. It is the only easel painting by … Continue reading ?

Marriage a la 1970

Inspired by the blog Melbourne - Our Home on the Bay, I decided to have another look at the clothes we wore at a friend's wedding in 1970 and then at our own wedding a few months later. But I need a historical context. From gold silk...Show More Summary

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