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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

William Glackens: Forgotten Father of American Modernism?

With a $20,000 check and instructions to bring back “some good paintings” from friend and financier Dr. Albert C. Barnes, American artist William Glackens set off for Paris in 1912 with carte blanche to buy the very best modern art he could find. Show More Summary

A Critical Obsession: How and why those who dismiss Victorian art should take another look

Yesterday, Waldemar Januszcak, art critic for The Sunday Times, wrote a scathing review of “A Victorian Obsession,” an exhibition of 52 paintings by Frederick Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Albert Moore, among others, on show at the Leighton House Museum. Subtitling his review “Droopy damsels in distress take center stage...” Mr. Januszczak belittles [...]

Harem Guard

The Harem Guard by the Czech painter Rudolf Weisse (1869-1930). Despite it's not a decidedly history painting the whole oriental exotic setting suggests a far away place even in history.

Daphne du Maurier's Cornwall

I have cited Daphne du Maurier (1907–1989) twice in recent blog posts. Firstly du Maurier was the cousin of the Llewelyn Davies boys, who served as JM Barrie's inspiration for the characters in the play Peter Pan. Secondly Justine Picardie...Show More Summary

Viking Queen

Queen Astrid by the American illustrator N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945). Wyeth did this Wagnerian illustration for the book The World Of Music - Song Programs for Youth (1938).

Remembering Ruhleben prisoner of war camp, Berlin 1914-8

Of course prisoners of war and interned civilians are going to try to keep themselves busy and productive, throughout the years of their captivity. Otherwise they would go insane from mind­-numbing boredom, even before they had the chance to die from starvation or disease. Show More Summary

Chagall Vs Malevich in Russia: Vitebsk

Directed by Alexander Mitta, a film dramatisation of Marc Chagall’s life is being shown at the Australian Centre for Moving Images in Melbourne. The film Chagall-Malevich is based on the era of Chagall's short-lived role as commissar of arts in Vitebsk in 1917-18. Show More Summary

Steven Sebring and Coco Rocha’s Visual Manifesto of the Human Body

“Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it,” Madonna lied and “Vogue”-ed way back in 1990. Contrary to popular opinion, posing is hard work, made even harder by the requirement to look effortless.Show More Summary

How Prison Changed Egon Schiele’s Portraits for Better or Worse

“Bürgerschreck!” rang the accusations in German at Austrian painter Egon Schiele in April 1912. This “shocker of the bourgeois” found his home rifled by local constables searching for evidence of the immorality locals suspected of a man who lived with a woman not his wife and invited local children to pose for him. Show More Summary

Otto Dix and the catastrophic World War One.

In July 2014 the Albertinum in Dresden had an exhibition called Otto Dix. The War. The Dresden Triptych. Note the date - the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war.Prior to 1914, Expressionism in art was largely apolitical. Artists...Show More Summary

Tragic Love

Semiramis dying on Ninu’s grave by the Italian painter Augusto Valli (1867-1945). Valli depicts here the legendary Babylonian queen dying on her dead husbands tomb. But it seems also more an excuse to present a nude female body in an exotic setting.

The vexed relationship between Hollywood film companies and Nazi Germany

In writing about Ben Urwand’s important book The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Harvard UP 2013), Taylor Downing agreed that Hitler enjoyed watching films. As we can see from the photo. he watched a film every night after dinner with his men. Show More Summary

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