Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

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)

The potency of Shakespeare's potions

It's Shakespeare's 450th birthday. In a feature article for the BBC's Future, Claudia Hammond looks at whether the poisons mentioned in William Shakespeare's plays, such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, could actually work.

Shakespeare and the Scientific Revolution

Readers of Shakespeare's works could easily dismiss his interest in science at a time when the Scientific Revolution was happening around him, but author Dan Falk believes that the Bard was well aware of the developments.

The dangerous secret of Byzantine frescoes

Researchers looking at the wall paintings of the 12th century Byzantine monastery Enkleistra of St. Neophytos in Cyprus, found something they didn't expect: asbestos. Their discovery has been published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

New books of poetry at Project Gutenberg

A text copy of all 3 volumes of Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry was recently posted to Project Gutenberg. These books contain a great deal of poetry in middle and early modern English.

Tolkien's Beowulf to be published for the first time

British professor and author JRR Tolkien is best known for his works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but now a deal has been made to publish the beloved storyteller's translation of the Old English poem Beowulf, complete with commentary.

Known World Poetry Competition

Lady Katarzyna Witkowska, of the Kingdom of Atlantia, reports that the Known World Poetry Competition will be held Monday August 4, 2014 on Artisans' Row at the Pennsic War.

Tournaments Illuminated Quest Request April 2014

Magister Riordan MacGregor, editor of Tournaments Illuminated, has announced the latest Quest Request.

New portraits of Shakespeare revealed

"I subjected the images to fundamental tests of identity and authenticity, and these revealed that we are dealing with true-to-life portraits of Shakespeare, one from his youth, the second from his old age," said Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel about two recently-discovered portraits of William Shakespeare. (photos)

Forgotten warrior-saint may have inspired Tolkien's Aragorn

British historian Max Adams believes that 7th century King Oswald has been overlooked as a hero. This opinion was apparently shared by author J.R.R. Tolkien, when he based his own warrior king Aragorn on the early English monarch who also "was exiled as a young man before returning to his homeland in order to claim his birthright and become king." (photos)

Illuminated Mystery Play Is Digitized

The British Museum has digitized, in two online volumes, a highly-decorated copy of a French medieval mystery play, with illuminations depicting scenes from the play.

#Beow100

College students forced to read Beowulf be heartened! Welsh medievalist, Elaine Treharne, has brought social media to medieval Scandinavia with Beowulf in a Hundred Tweets. The work is available on her blog Text Technologies.