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Crusader Gallery

Richard I the Lionheart (1841) by the French Neoclassical painter Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853). Blondel was a student of Jean-Baptiste Regnault and did a whole series of famous crusaders such as Richard the Lionheart, Raymond IV de Toulouse, Jean de Joinville and others for the Crusader Gallery in the National Museum in Versailles.

Do Liars Make Better Artists?

“Oh! what a tangled web we weave,” Sir Walter Scott wrote in his 1808 epic poem Marmion, “When first we practice to deceive!” But what a pretty web it might be, researchers might add today. The idea that being a good liar helps one be...Show More Summary

Cruel Death

The Death of Jezebel by Coli, G. (1643-81) & Gherardi, F. (1643-1704)

Classical concerts in a Nazi camp

A short film has just come out in time for the Jewish Film Festival called The Lady in Number 6. The summary was follows. “This is a film about the remarkable Alice Herz-Sommer, a renowned concert pianist, a distinguished music scholar and, at 109, the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world. Show More Summary

Garden bridge over the Thames

The revival of the Thames’ South Bank over the past two decades has created a vibrant and artistic district attracting large number of visitors to its art galleries, theatres, music halls, restaurants and outdoor entertainment. However visits to Temple and the north bank area east of Somerset House and Waterloo Bridge are far less freq­uent. Show More Summary

Cannon Fodder

Sir John Falstaff Reviews His Ragged Regiment (1859) by the English artist Sir John Gilbert (1817–1897). Falstaff in front of his infamous "shadows", non-existent or disabled soldiers for whom the commanding officer receives pay. Recruiting is here a business with the only purpose to make money. Show More Summary

Richard Hamilton: The True King of Pop?

Michael Jackson proudly wore the crown as the “King of Pop” until his death in 2009. In the visual arts, at least for Americans, Andy Warhol’s ruled as the “King of Pop,” reigning as the prime example of Pop Art for the uninitiated as well as for connoisseurs. Show More Summary

Does Cultural Big Data Amplify the Anxiety of Influence?

The only thing possibly worse than facing a creative blank is facing a creative overload—to find yourself drowning in a sea of influences with no guiding life preserver in sight. In a recent article in Wired, Paul Ford wrote about how...Show More Summary

Had Florence Nightingale ever been a nurse, pre-Crimea?

As I noted in an earlier post, William and Frances Nightingale, both from committed Unitarian famil­ies, married in 1818 and went on a long European tour. Their daughters Frances Parthenope and Florence were born in 1819 and 1820 respectively, while the parents were still travelling around on the Continent. Show More Summary

Heroic Hokum

The Capture of Malta in 1530 by Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order of Knights Hospitaller, (1839) by the French painter René Théodore Berthon (1776–1859). Despite of the name of the painting Malta wasn't captured but given to Knights Hospitaller in by 1530 Emperor Charles V after they lost Rhodes. So it's evidently a kind of heroic hokum.

Disguised Seduction

Judah and Tamar (1644) by the Dutch Golden Age painter and printmaker Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680).

French Riviera Art Trail - early 20th century

Aix en Provence’s most famous resident was Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) who was born and died in that city. So I was not surprised when the post “Cezanne and Zola's favourite brasserie...in Aix” was read by more people in the bloggersphere than just about any other post I had written. Show More Summary

Why Rap Artists Still Hate Ronald Reagan

“I leave you with four words: I'm glad Reagan dead,” Mike “Killer Mike” Render rapped in his song “Reagan” off the 2012 album R.A.P. Music. His harsh, inflammatory statements drew attention from the press at the time that only increased when the video’s similarly hyperbolic imagery (one example shown above) drew fire from conservatives. Show More Summary

Can the Monuments Men Save the Art History Major?

During his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama went for a cheap laugh line by questioning the value of an art history degree. Although he later half apologized, Obama stuck by the well-worn argument that if something doesn’t have immediate economic value, then it has no value at all. Show More Summary

Famous Painters: Piero della Francesca

Piero della Francesca (ca. 1420-1492) is in a legion of famous painters who were lost to art history for centuries -- in his case, for over four. The works of Piero, along with artists including Sandro Botticelli (1446-1510) and JanShow More Summary

Covent Garden Market - before and after

Spitalfields Life blog was discussing the markets of Old London and noted that only Smithfield, London’s oldest wholesale market, continues trading from the same building. Leather Lane, Hoxton Market and East St Markets still operate as street markets, but Clare Market, Whitechapel Hay Market and the Caledonian Rd Market have gone forev­er. Show More Summary

On the Way to Execution

The State Barge of Cardinal Richelieu on the Rhone (1829) by the French history painter Hippolyte Delaroche (1797-1856). The painting shows Richelieu his barge, preceding the boat carrying Cinq-Mars and De Thou carried to their execution. Show More Summary

19th century Orientalist paintings

European scholars, soldiers, administrators and tourists were flooding into Egypt, Turkey and other exotic count­ries in large numbers during the 19th century. So we can expect that they would want to bring back souvenirs with them to remind them of the amazing col­ours, cultures and tastes they saw there. Show More Summary

How Michael Palin Broke the Silence of The Helga Paintings

Not many art stories make the cover of both TIME and Newsweek in the same week, but the revelation of Andrew Wyeth’s infamous “Helga Paintings” in 1986 caused a news stir that spilled outside the confines of the culture sections. The...Show More Summary

How Charlie Parker Became "Bird!"

“How do you do that?” young Charlie Parker would ask older musicians. “Would you please do that again?” Those who know jazz, or who only know of jazz greats such as the man many have known simply as “Bird,” might have trouble imagining those questions coming from Parker. Show More Summary

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