In The Natural History
, Pliny the Elder
mentioned "the Laocoön
[...]* in the palace of the Emperor Titus
, a work that may be looked upon as preferable to any other production of the art of painting or of statuary." Pliny ascribed the sculpture to three sculptors from Rhodes, Agesander
, Athenodoros, and Polydoros; it is possible that they (or some of their descendants) were also responsible for a cluster of similarly-themed statues found in the 1950s at Sperlonga
. In any event, the Laocoön
was discovered in 1506 and purchased by Pope Julius II
. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise
on Feb 7, 2014 -
The Royal Spanish Library has put online today an interactive version
of Leonardo da Vinci's Madrid Codices I & II
. There are transcriptions of the text (in Spanish and Italian, click "T" on the bottom menu), animations of many of the mechanical contraptions (click play button "ver animacion") and the "Indice" in the bottom menu organizes the folios by theme.
posted by Marauding Ennui
on Oct 30, 2012 -
Just imagine: a few musicologists know that there are 320 18th century sonatas lying somewhere in a Dutch archive. Half of them are by great masters such as Vivaldi and Telemann. The other half consists of works written by lesser-known but nonetheless interesting composers. Yet no one performs them or even shows any interest in them. Three hundred and twenty sonatas! Unthinkable, improbable. [more inside]
posted by mahershalal
on May 22, 2012 -
Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance
"A particularly important nucleus of the [Harvard] Photograph Archive's collection consists of a group of images of Renaissance Italian paintings that Berenson
famously classified as “homeless,” that is, works that were documented by a photograph but whose current location was unknown to him....Berenson published some of his photographs of artworks “without homes” with the express invitation and hope that their owners, public or private, might come forward and claim them as their own...It is in this spirit.. that we have developed the project to catalog, digitize and make available online the Photograph Archive’s images of "homeless" paintings
by Italian artists between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. By the project’s end--scheduled for the summer/fall of 2012--we will have published on the Internet records and images, often rare or unique, of around thirteen thousand pictures."
posted by vacapinta
on Apr 15, 2012 -
"The Cranach Digital Archive
is an interdisciplinary collaborative research resource, providing access to art historical, technical and conservation information on paintings by Lucas Cranach (c.1472 - 1553) and his workshop. The repository presently provides information on more than 400 paintings including c.5000 images and documents from 19 partner institutions."
posted by peacay
on Jan 18, 2012 -
Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's
essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's
Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt
: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
posted by homunculus
on Dec 19, 2011 -
For centuries, Renaissance composer Alessandro Striggio's "Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno"
, an enormous setting of the Mass for 40 and 60 voices, was thought to be lost to the ages. A few years ago, UC Berkeley musicologist Davitt Moroney discovered that a copy of the work, attributed to a non-existent composer, was hiding right under our noses, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In an hour-long lecture titled "The Pope, the Emperor and the Grand Duke"
, Professor Moroney recounts the story of the Mass's disappearance and rediscovery, describes the historical significance of the music, and unravels the intriguing geopolitical landscape of 16th century Italy.
posted by archagon
on Sep 28, 2011 -
Caravaggio's crimes exposed in Rome's police files:
"Four hundred years after his death, Caravaggio
is a 21st Century superstar among old master painters. His stark, dramatically lit, super-realistic paintings strike a modern chord - but his police record is more shocking than any modern bad boy rock star's. An exhibition
of documents at Rome's State Archives throws vivid light on his tumultuous life here at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Feb 18, 2011 -
is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars
. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama
(and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica
), vanished civilizations
, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art
, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other'
, Europeans as 'Other,' Redux
and Early Chinese World Maps
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 30, 2010 -
from above (Google Maps links): Alba Iulia
, Arad Fortress
, Neuf Brisach
posted by nthdegx
on Jun 8, 2010 -
Detroit is one of the most visually interesting cities in the world, however it is also one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented. Detroit Book of Love
is a group of photographs illustrating what contemporary Detroit artists have been doing in regards to developing an understanding and appreciation for this complex and diverse city; from street portraits of the survivors, to the landscapes of wild new growth, to the industrial leftovers. As a group they show Detroit as it is, not what it should be or what it once was. [more inside]
posted by netbros
on Aug 7, 2009 -
The King's Kunstkammer
- en vogue in Renaissance Europe, kunstkammers were status symbols of kings, vast collections of art, curiosities, and scientific and natural objects. This is a partial reconstruction of the Royal Danish Kunstkammer, established by King Frederik III in the mid-1600s. Exploring the collection's 250 objects offers insight into princely preoccupations of the era.
posted by madamjujujive
on Nov 22, 2006 -
Madonna and Child
by Duccio di Buoninsegna
(ca 1300) “is widely considered a key forerunner of the Italian Renaissance style and a landmark in Western European painting”. The painting “resides in a Plexiglas case in the middle of a room of medieval Italian paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” and was purchased in 2004 for about $50million, the most expensive acquisition in the Met’s history. However James Beck
, Columbia professor, founder of ArtWatch
“established for the dignity of the art” (previously
mentioned in this forum), is emphatic: “It’s a poor painting
and it is a fake
.” In a recent interview to Paul Hond in the Columbia Magazine Fall 2006 issue he admitted that such a bold and counter-mainstream proposition is “…calling attention to the mistakes of our favorite institutions of great power would not have been readily available if I didn’t have tenure.”
posted by carmina
on Oct 17, 2006 -
I know who brought Leonardo's greatest drawings to Britain.
I may not be a Harvard professor of religious symbology or know much about the bloodline of the Magdalene, but I do enjoy a mystery and so I set out to solve this one. And I succeeded. Final proof is elusive, always, but in this case the circumstantial evidence is so overwhelming, I think I've got my man."
posted by Len
on Aug 30, 2006 -
saw the publication of many great romantic epics: Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso
in 1516; Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered
in 1581; and Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene
in 1590 and 1596.
But perhaps the most ambitious and mysterious of them all was the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
published in 1499 by Aldus Manutius
(previously discussed here
). The Poliphili
has usually been attributed to an Italian monk named Francesco Colonna
, although recently some have claimed that it was the work of architect and humanist Leon Battista Alberti
, even though he died in 1472.
has long fascinated scholars because of its amazing typography
, the cinematic style of its woodcuts
, and the strange messages
seemingly hidden in this multi-lingual text. Written in Italian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldean, and even some hieroglyphs, it has only recently been translated into English. This strange text has inspired a great deal of research
and even a New York Times best-selling murder mystery.
posted by papakwanz
on Feb 4, 2005 -
Investigating the Renaissance.
'This interactive program demonstrates the ways in which computer technology can be harnessed to add to our knowledge about Renaissance paintings and how they
were made.' Analysis of paintings using x-ray, infrared and ultraviolet technology.
posted by plep
on Dec 23, 2003 -