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Le Train Bleu in Paris - a VERY glamorous railway station restaurant

After the Orient Express had already started oper­at­ions, the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits created its second luxury train. In order to serve wealthy, sun-deprived British customers, Calais-Méditerranée Espress was introduced in 1886. Show More Summary

Picturing Mary: Yesterday and Today

Christmas may be Jesus’ “birthday,” but, as any mother will tell you, his mother Mary really deserves the applause. Providing the humanity half to join with Christ’s divine side, Mary volunteered to play a part from the Incarnation to...Show More Summary

Independence Museum in Tel Aviv

The Romans destroyed the Jewish state in 70 AD, razed the Temple and sent the government into exile.In May 1948 prime minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the re-establishment of the Jewish state in Tel Aviv.In the interim 1,878 years,...Show More Summary

Founding of a Nation

The Discovery of Chile by Diego de Almagro (1913) by the Chilean painter Pedro Subercaseaux Errázuriz (1880-1956). This event is sometimes considered as the foundation of Chile. To celebrate it this mural decorates the walls of the former National Congress of Chile in Santiago.

1942 - American soldiers, Australian women, nylon stockings

My mother’s final year of high school was 1942, the very year American soldiers and sailors first arrived in Australia. Mum's sole knowledge of American men until that point came from seeing Spencer Tracy and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr at the local picture theatre.My mother got to meet real live American men in two strange ways. Show More Summary

Hearing (and Feeling) the Contemporary Art of Allora & Calzadilla

Imagine standing in a bare room in which a small, 4-billion-year-old rock hangs from the ceiling by a thin wire as three vocalists whistle and breathe on it to make it swing. For some people, such a scenario might be the nightmare version of contemporary art run amok, so far “out there” that it’s never coming back. Show More Summary

Lord Haw Haw - Britain's most vile Fascist?

The rise and rise of Fascism in inter-war Britain was both powerful and nightmarish. I had little trouble researching Sir Oswald Mosley, the BUF and its organised opposition, The 43 Group; the Battle of Cable St in the East End of London; Archibald Ramsay and the Right Club; two of the Mitford sisters; and King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Show More Summary

A Wounded Hero

Marshal Jean Lannes wounded at the battle of Essling by the French painter Paul-Emile Boutigny (1853-1929).Lannes was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals an a personal friend of the emperor. In the bloody battle of Aspern-Essling he was mortally wounded.

The life and creative times of Dr Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was born in Lichfield near Birmingham. The family house, facing the market square, was built by his bookselling father as both a home and a bookshop. He was a very unheal­thy child, deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, a survivor of small-pox and a sufferer of Tour­et­te's syndrome. Show More Summary

How to Speak Fluent "Museum"

The best way to learn any language is total immersion. If you live in a place long enough and open yourself up to the experience, then you’ll come away not just with a new tongue, but also with the flavor of the culture in which that language is expressed. Show More Summary

Should We Be Letting Machines See for Us?

Anyone who has seen James Cameron’s 1984 film The Terminator remembers “seeing” through the eyes of the killer android sent into the past as it scans its surroundings for clothes, weapons, and, eventually, its target. Beneath the fleshly...Show More Summary

Velazquez’s Greatest Painting

Velazquez is painting a portrait of King Philip IV and his wife, Mariana of Austria. They are posing outside the painting, standing where we stand. We see what they see. We know it’s them because of that blurry reflection in … Continue reading ?

Medicine and literature - "Riding a Crocodile"

My husband, a doctor who has been in hospitals and in private practice since 1970, has given me every film and book review that has medicine as its central theme. It does not matter if the story was written in English, French, German or Hebrew. Show More Summary

Historical Moment

The capitulation of Granada, Boabdil confronts Ferdinand and Isabella (1882) by the Spanish artist Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz (1848-1921). The painting of this important event decorates know the Palace of the The Senate of Spain in Madrid.

The Grand Budapest Hotel - film review

First let me cite a glowing review that seems to represent the typical published response to Grand Budapest Hotel. My own response, as you will see, was very different.Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian wrote: This delirious operetta-farce is an eerily detailed and very funny work from the savant virtuoso of American indie cinema, Wes Anderson. Show More Summary

The Swiss Norman Rockwell

The Swiss have all seen an Anker painting. Girl Knitting by Albert Anker (public domain photo) They’ve seen reproductions of his work everywhere—in their schoolbooks, on candy boxes, calenders, postage stamps.  Hotel walls often have or used to have an … Continue reading ?

How Peter Blume Painted His Personal Reality of Hope

On October 3, 1948, at 3:50 pm, Peter Blume finished his epic painting, years in the making, titled The Rock (shown above). “After a turbulent decade in which Peter Blume embarked on false starts, endured debilitating anxiety, experienced...Show More Summary

Viennese refuge Richard Goldner and Musica Viva Australia

Richard Goldner (1908-1991) moved with his family to Vienna as an infant where he quickly learned to play the violin. After leaving school, he studied architecture at university. But he also enrolled at the New Vienna Conservatory, where he studied under the Russian viola player Simon Pullman. Show More Summary

Idyllic Court Scene

Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester (1865) by the British painter William Frederick Yeames (1835-1918). Yeames preferred these idyllic scenes from the good old times.

Gifts to soldiers in the WW1 trenches, from the royal family

Princess Mary (1897–1965), Princess Royal and later Countess of Harewood, was the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, and granddaughter of King Edward VII.The Sailors and Soldiers Christmas Fund was inaugurated...Show More Summary

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