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French art nouveau architecture in London: Michelin House 1911

Michelin Tyre Company started operating in Clermont-Ferrand in France in 1889. Art Nouveau architects perfected their style during the 1890—1910 years. Exactly in that era, in 1894, Monsieur Bib­end­um became the advertising symbol of...Show More Summary

"The Lunchbox" - two lonely Indian souls meet over a packed hot lunch.

Some critics have called the 2013 film “The Lunchbox” a romantic comedy, but I am not sure that there was much normal romance.. nor was it intentionally comic. Nonetheless I loved the film, which was directed by Ritesh Batra. This very restrained, understated story was set in Mumbai, surely the most noisy, crowded and unrestrained city on the planet. Show More Summary

Madame Cézanne: The Case of the Miserable Muse

If Mona Lisa is the smile, Madame Cézanne is the scowl. Hortense Fiquet, Paul Cézanne’s model turned mistress turned mother of his child turned metaphorical millstone around his neck, endures as a standard art history punch line—the muse whose misery won immortality through the many masterpiece portraits done of her. Show More Summary

1949 New York State - anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-Soviet riots

Peekskill is in Westchester County New York. The town is on a bay alongside the Hudson River, not the sort of place I, a non American, would have selected for a pro-right wing, anti-black riot. But the population of the northern Westchester Hudson River communities was mixed. Show More Summary

Princess Sophia of Hanover, Queen of Britain?

Queen Mary II (d1694) had no children but her sister Anne (1665–1714), who inherited the throne after Mary died, was pregnant most years of her married life. Just one of these 18 live births survived infancy and, if he lived, would have eventually inherited his mother’s throne. Show More Summary

Botticelli in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s paintings  aren’t the only ones in the Sistine Chapel.  A generation before he worked there, the best painters in Italy decorated it, and some of their paintings are still there. Pope Sixtus put Sandro Botticelli in charge of the … Continue reading ?

Spanish Colonial Vs American Indian arts and culture in Santa Fe

My students are always fascinated by the Golden Age of Spanish art and architecture; there was a powerful religious element that grew in importance with the Counter-Reformation and soon spread to territories conquered by Spain in the New World. Show More Summary

JFK: The Opera?

Whereas European countries were once able to tap into their history for subjects for opera, America’s never succeeded in doing the same. That problem comes in part from the decline in opera as a popular, public art form, but also perhaps from the lack of operatically epic subjects to be found in American history. Show More Summary

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 ?

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