Discover a new way to find and share stories you'll love… Learn about Reading Desk

All Blogs / Arts / Art History / Popular

Napoleon's island idyll on Elba 1814-15

Elba is an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, only 20 km off the Tuscan coast. Bec­ause of its steep geography, the largest town of Portoferraio requires some vigorous walking. The town is surrounded on three sides by the sea, facing a natural harbour that was, and is very attractive. Show More Summary

Dramatic Attack

The phalanx attacking the centre in the battle of the Hydaspes book illustation by the French artist and engraver André Castaigne (1861-1929). Despite that the Macedonian phalanx attacked with the sarissa a 4 to 7 meterlong pike Castaigne depicts them here attacking with the sword because of the better dramatic effect.

Eve Lost

Eve (1889) looks really lost on this painting by the French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).

Jewish agricultural settlements of Argentina since 1880

After Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1816, European emigration to this large South American nation increased. Argentina's 1853 constitution guaranteed religious freedom, and the country had vast, empty land reserves. SoShow More Summary

Battle of Castillon

The Battle of Castillon by the French painter Charles-Philippe Larivière (1798-1876). The Battle of Castillon (July 1453) in Gascony was the last and decisive French victory and marked the end of the Hundred Years' War. Larivière shows here the death of the English commander John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.

Camille Pissarro's painting of Montmartre: a record at auction

The Impressionist artists were irreversibly split over the Dreyfus Affair from 1894 on, the crisis that split all of France. Monet, Pissarro, Signac and Vallotton, as well as art critics Mirbeau and Feneon supported Captain Dreyfus. Those on the opposite side included Degas, Cezanne, Renoir and Armand Guillaumin. Show More Summary

How Making Art Can Rebuild Broken Communities

"The broken places are my canvases,” Artist Lily Yeh says in the documentary The Barefoot Artist. “People’s stories are my pigments. People’s talents and imaginations are the instruments. I began to find my voice.” Since the 1980s, Yeh...Show More Summary

Andy Warhol, Digital Art Pioneer?

It all started with a video on YouTube. Sometime in 2011, artist Cory Arcangel watched a video of Andy Warhol painting a digital portrait of singer Debbie Harry in 1985 on a Commodore Amiga 1000 as part of a promotional event for the computer ’s release. Show More Summary

Can Today’s Paparazzi Ever Recover “La Dolce Vita”?

Why are today’s paparazzi so terrible? The combative relationship between photojournalists and their celebrity subjects seems to have become an all-out war as photographers look to capture content not already provided by the stars themselves via social media. Show More Summary

Dining out in Victorian style - Ritz and Escoffier

Lyricist WS Gilbert and composer Art­hur Sulliv­an, under the pa­t­ron­age of the enter­pr­ising impresario/ho­t­el comp­any president Ric­hard D'Oyly Carte, wanted the good times of Comic Opera to continue. With profits from “HMS Pinafore”, Richard d'Oyly Carte built the Savoy Theatre, opening its London doors in October 1881. Show More Summary

Hus at Constance

Hus at Constance (1842) by the German romantic painter Carl Friedrich Lessing (1808-80). The German protestant shows here Hus as a kind of forefather of Luther defying the clergy who will burn him.

Kind of Salome

A modern interpretation of Salome by the American fantasy artist Gerald Brom (born 1965).

Was Archibald Knox the finest Art Nouveau designer in Britain?

Art Nouveau in Britain evolved out of the already established Arts and Crafts movement. Founded in 1861 by English designer William Morris, the Arts and Crafts movement emphasised the importance of handcrafted work. Morris’ commitment to handmade objects was a reaction against shoddy machine-made products that were flooding post-Industrial Britain. Show More Summary

Why the Birth of Shakespeare Is the Birth of Modern Art

April 23, 2014, marks the 450 th birthday of William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers of all time and an inescapable influence not just on literature, but also on every form of culture since the 19 th century. Although the canon...Show More Summary

Mythical Villain

The Death of Ravana King of Lanka (1875) by the French painter Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon (1845-1924). Ravana is the villain in the Hindu epic Ramayana where he kidnaps Rama's wife. Cormon depicts him like an ancient warrior king mourned by his wifes.

Archibald Ramsay, the Right Club and British Fascism

In reviewing the television film Churchill & The Fascist Plot (His­tory Channel), I loved the era, the historical records acc­es­sed and the connection to my other posts on late 1930s Britain. How­ever the title of the programme wasShow More Summary

How Neurocomic Gets Into Your Head

The two “go to” occupations for conveying the idea of genius are usually “rocket scientist” and “brain surgeon.” Only the best minds pursue the mysteries of the outer space beyond our atmosphere or the inner space between our ears. We...Show More Summary

Two Intrusive Elders

Susanna_and_the_Elders by Guerrieri by the Italian painter Giovanni Francesco Guerrieri (1589-1655).

San Francisco - before, during and after the 1906 earthquake

My favourite spot in San Francisco is Ghirardelli Square, created when an Italian chocolatier moved to Calif­orn­ia in 1848 to pursue the gold rush. Later his wife joined him in San Francisco and soon became his business partner. The...Show More Summary


Aeskulap by the English painter Edward Poynter (1836-1919). Looking at the four patients I suspect Aeskulap was more an excuse to show some nudes.

Copyright © 2011 Regator, LLC