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A history of the Papacy moving to France. To France??

In the book A History of God, Karen Armstrong showed how, in the history of the major monotheistic traditions, the idea of God evolved over time. Of course everything has a history.. but I had never thought of “God” having one. Inevitably...Show More Summary

Museum of Oliver Cromwell: 17th century hero or villain?

Who in their wildest nightmares thought that there would ever be a civil war in England? Who believed that a British king would ever be executed on the lawful orders of 59 judges? Who envisaged that the British Parliament could everShow More Summary

Documenting China’s Fake Case Against Ai Weiwei

“You criticize them too much. If this was 1957 they would have killed you already,” Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s worried mother tells him in a new documentary titled Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, which documents the Chinese government’s fabricated...Show More Summary

Columbus Landing

Columbus Landing by the American painter John Vanderlyn (1775-1852). This painting was commissioned by the Congress in June 1836 for the Capitol Rotunda. Columbus was claimed as a forefather of the modern USA.

Why Does George W. Bush Paint (and Why Do We Look)?

When former President George W. Bush’s self-portraits in the shower and tub slipped into public sight a year ago, the general critical approaches either commented on the amateur quality of the work, on the obvious symbolism of cleansing (if you were a critic and thought he had something to cleanse himself of), or on both. Show More Summary

French Deco architecture in Shanghai between the wars

The first important modern European architect in Shanghai might have been László Hudec. After being a soldier in WW1, he moved to Shanghai in 1918 and opened his own practice in 1925. Hudec designed dozens of buildings in the inter-war...Show More Summary

Freaky Composition

Judith with the Head of Holofernes by theItalian Mannerist painter Jacopo Coppi (1523-1591).

Arcadian Adelaide - too much church, not enough humility

Thistle Anderson was born in 1878 to Scottish parents who migrated to Melbourne when she was a young lass. She joined JC Williamson’s touring theatre company which travelled to Adelaide in 1900. Then she travelled with the company on to New Zealand and Britain. Show More Summary

Audubon Prints at the New York Historical Society

The New York Historical Society show, Audubon's Aviary: Parts Unknown, showcases a breathtaking display of Audubon prints. If you've ever had the slightest interest in birds or the work of John James Audubon (1785-1851), this show will stoke it. The New York Historical Society functioned until 1870 as both an art and a natural history museum. Show More Summary

Loving Wife

A nice illustration to Shakespeares Antonius and Cleopatra by the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911). It was published in Harper's Monthly Magazine in September 1909.

Why Judy Chicago Still Fights for Feminist Art at 75

Chicago native Judy Cohen Gerowitz became Judy Chicago in 1970 for many reasons. One was to throw off her father’s and husband’s names and the male dominance behind that practice. Another, as shown in the now famous Jerry McMillan photo...Show More Summary

Is an Artist’s Studio a Window into Their Soul?

If the eyes are the windows of the soul, can the windows of an artist’s studio—the vistas they viewed daily for inspiration—offer a glimpse into their soul? In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking...Show More Summary

Jewish Russian ethnography 1911-1920 by S. Ansky

In The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama, shown on tv by the BBC, there were evocative, informative photos in the Pale of Settlement. I think this tv programme is excellent but unfortunately Schama only gave the photographer's name (S Ansky) and his pro­fession (ethnographer) in passing.Shlayme Rappoport (1863–1920), known by his pen-name S. Show More Summary

Valley Forge

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge (1907) by the American painter John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945). The hard winter in Valley Forge one of the great myths of the American War of Independence.

Modern Art in Nazi Germany

Shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power as chancellor in 1933, he commissioned construction of a Munich museum to exhibit what he considered ideal artwork. Its debut exhibition in July 1937 was titled the "Great Germany Art Exhibition"...Show More Summary

Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir

In this blog, I normally only write the history of people I know well, having already admired their books, paintings, architecture or music. Yet my sole contact with Albert Camus came via his friendship with Sartre and de Beauvoir. Thus I am largely dependent on, and grateful to the Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Show More Summary

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve a 1956 movie directed by Alberto Gout.

Jasper Johns and Art History in the Making

“Regrets, I’ve had a few,” Frank Sinatra warbled in “My Way,” before adding wistfully, “But, then again, too few to mention.” Sinatra sang that song at the end of a long, successful career as a titan turning back and surveying the long road behind him and the shorter one ahead. Show More Summary

The Sad, Strange History of “Degenerate Art”

“Crazy at any price!” read a sign above the modern art masterpieces at the Nazi-sponsored Entartete Kunst (“Degenerate Art,” in English) exhibition in Munich, Germany, in 1937. The fevered brainchild of art-obsessed Adolf Hitler, Entartete...Show More Summary

A lost Faberge treasure, now found

It will come as a surprise to no-one who reads this blog that I love Faberge art objects. Now we hear an amazing story. A London antique dealer says a gold ornament bought by an American scrap-metal dealer has turned out to be a rare Faberge egg!! The clock egg had been purchased at an ordinary antique fair for about $14,000. Show More Summary

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