Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

Black Book of Carmarthen reveals its secrets

The National Library of Wales has ghosts - but not the scary kind. These ghosts are images, seen only by using ultraviolet lighting, in the 750-year-old Black Book of Carmarthen, "the first Welsh text to include medieval figures such as King Arthur and Merlin," and the images are doodles and poetry added throughout the ages. (photos)

NYPL makes digital public domain materials fully downloadable

The New York Public Library has made all of their digital public domain materials, including the Digital Scriptorum, downloadable in high resolution without jumping through any permissions hoops.

First two centuries of English printed books now available online

In an article for the University of Michigan Record, Mary Morris of the University library reports that "more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from 1473-1700" will now be available to read online. According to the article, "The texts represent a significant portion of the estimated total output of English-language work published during the first two centuries of printing in England."

Shakespearean treasure found in small French library

Saint-Omer is a tiny French town near Lille, known for its "economic and cultural activity in the Middle Ages." Now it will be known for something else: the discovery of the 231st copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio, the first-ever compilation of the Bard's plays published in 1623. It is only the second copy ever found in France. (photo)

Knowne World Poetry Competition and Poetry Day at Pennsic

The Kingdom of Atlantia will again sponsor the Knowne World Poetry Competition on Monday, August 3, at Pennsic in conjunction with Poetry Day at Artisan's Row.

Validating the Principessa

Art historians around the world are never quick to validate a "lost" work by one of the great masters. Thus is the case of La Bella Principessa, a small, "pen-and-ink portrait of a Florentine woman with a Mona Lisa-esque smile," believed to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci. (photo)

Sistine Chapel "dazzles" after tech makeover

A new lighting system will allow visitors to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel  to appreciate Michelangelo's famous frescoes more than ever better. The chapel makeover "cost some three million euros (US$3.77 million)—with 1.9 million euros spent on the lighting alone."

On the writing of sonnets

In an article on the Athenaeum Hectoris blog, Master Hector of the Black Height, of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, discusses the basics of sonnets and sonnet writing, including rhythm, phrasing and form, in the article Missive to a Young Poet: Sonnets.

Grimms now grimmer

There are no Disney endings for the fairy tales in a newly-released translation of Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes, a professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. The original stories, written in the early 19th century, have never been directly translated into English.

Stonehenge in 8th century poem?

The 8th century, Old English poem called The Ruin may be the oldest surviving literature to mention Stonehenge, says medieval liguist Dr Graeme Davis. The poem refers to stones called "the old ones" or the "elders."

Witches at the British Museum

The British Museum has been invaded by witches - at least until January 2015. A new free exhibit, Witches and Wicked Bodies, will look at the history of witches in Great Britain from the 1400s until the Victorian era, and will include artists' renditions, objects of sorcery and magic, as well as artifacts from antiquity depicting famous witches.

Sistine Chapel visitors to be limited to 6 million per year

In order to protect its precious frescoes, the Vatican has announced that it will restrict visitors to the Sistine Chapel to 6 million each year. Experts say that dust, sweat and carbon dioxide from up to 20,000 tourists a day pose a major threat to Michelangelo’s masterpiece. (photos)

What lies beneath?

Museum conservationists never know what they might discovered under layers of paint and grime. What lies beneath the surface is the subject of a new display at London's National Portrait Gallery which reveals, for the first time, some of the conservationists' findings.

Chinese Yuan Dynasty Treasures at Freer Gallery

The Freer Gallery in Washington DC will showcase treasures from the Song and Yuan Dynasties this winter including ceramics and landscape paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries.

"Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy" at the Sackler

Islamic art does not depict the human form, but it often finds its greatest inspiration in calligraphy. A new exhibit at the Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. is devoted to nasta’liq, Persian calligraphy developed from the 14th to 16th centuries. Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy will be featured at the gallery from September 13, 2014 through March 22, 2015.

Chivalry died at Agincourt

In an excerpt from his book Agincourt: My Family, The Battle And The Fight For France, in the Mail Online, English writer and adventurer Sir Ranolph Fiennes discusses his ancestors' parts in the 1415 Battle of Agincourt, the day, he writes, chivalry died.

Kickstarter project to publish book on Japanese heraldry

SCA member and medieval Japan enthusiast Xavid has started a kickstarter project to fund the English translation of a book on Japanese Heraldry with over 200 full-color reproductions.

Recall alert: QoR® Synthetic Ox Gall watercolour paint medium

Health Canada reports that Golden Artist Colours has issued a recall notice for "QoR® Synthetic Ox Gall which is designed to be used with artists' watercolour paints in small amounts to improve the flow and wetting. The product contains the preservative MIT which can cause skin rash or blistering."

Decoding Anglo-Saxon art

People have long admired the beautiful Anglo-Saxon artifacts found in the burial mounds of Sutton Hoo, but few understand the symbols embedded within the metal. Rosie Weetch, a curator at the British Museum, offers an illuminating primer on how to decode the symbols and stories in a piece of Anglo-Saxon metalwork on the British Museum blog. (photos and diagrams)

Fun with the old masters

Do you think Renaissance masterpieces are just boring, dusty paintings? Collage artist James Kerr doesn't - and proves it with his creation of a number of animated GIFs using works of the great masters.

Mystery of Wolsey's missing angels solved

Once upon a time, four bronze angels adorned the gateposts of the Wellingborough Golf Club in Northamptonshire, England. No one paid much attention to them until two were stolen, but now all four, identified as Renaissance treasures, are the subject of a fundraising effort by the Victoria and Albert Museum. (photo)

Oldest copy of "The Brus" restored

The oldest known copy of "The Brus," an epic poem describing the Battle of Bannockburn, has been restored in time for the 700th celebration of the event. The poem was written in 1375 by the Archdeacon of Aberdeen. (photos)

People of Color in historic art

The website People of Color in European Art History showcases "works of art from European history that feature People of Color." The resource includes images of works of art from the pre-1000s to the 17th century.

New BM digitization includes medieval "comic book"

Among over 1000 new manuscripts placed online by the British Museum is The Guthlac Roll, a history of St. Guthlac told in graphic novel style "using a series of images in roundels with labels." Mark Strauss of i09 offers his views on the manuscript.

Plumbing problem reveals crusader murals

A burst pipe in Saint-Louis Hospice, a Jerusalem hospital, has led workers to rediscover 19th century wall murals depicting "crusader knights and symbols of medieval military orders." The paintings were the work of Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat, a French count, who believed himself descended from the knights. (photos)

Mona Lisa in 3-D?

The discovery of a Mona Lisa twin in the Museo del Prado in Madrid has led art historians and scientists to consider if Da Vinci's most famous work was actually the world's oldest 3-D artwork. (photos)

Discover the art of the Song Dynasty at the Freer/Sackler Gallery

The Freer/Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution presents an exhibition of Chinese landscape painting from the 10th through 13th centuries entitled Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Song Legacy, May 17–October 26, 2014.

Late medieval history course online

For those interested in furthering their knowledge of medieval English history, a team of scholars from the University of Leicester is offering a free, online course entitled England in the time of King Richard III.

The Muwashshaha of al-Andalus research online

In a recent issue of the Falcon Banner, the news magazine of the Kingdom of Calontir, HE Qadiya Catalina de Arazuri shares her research for a Kingdom A&S entry: The Muwashshaha of al-Andalus.

Hengwrt Chaucer online

The earliest known manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, housed at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, has been digitized and is now available online. (photo)