Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

Letters to Eung-tae tell story of love and grief

500 hundred years ago, a grieving wife wrote 13 love letters of Shakespearean pathos to her dead husband. The letters were buried along with the mummified remains in Andong City in South Korea, and tell "him she wants to see him and listen to him in her dreams."

Vatican teams with Bodleian for US$3.2 million digitization project

Thanks to a US$3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, rare manuscripts from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana will be digitized and made available online through both libraries. NPR's Annaliese Quinn has the story and interview.

"How we have heard of the might of the kings"

The Old English poem Beowulf has been the subject of many translations over the centuries, especially the first word hwæt. Now Dr George Walkden, a University of Manchester lecturer, believes he knows what the poem's first line really says.

Pre-fire London virtualization wins game company award

Travelers to London are sometimes disappointed to find little of the city's medieval past on tourist maps, thanks to the 17th century fire which destroyed much of the city. Now a team of students offers the next best thing with a virtual "fly-through" of Tudor London.

Elizabeth reference found in Raleigh portrait

The recent restoration of a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh has revealed a secret: a hidden crescent moon over water, a symbol of the explorer's devotion to Queen Elizabeth I. The portrait is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London until January 5, 2014. (photo)

Shakespeare: Women in tights

From Sarah Bernhardt to Helen Mirren, women have longed from - and won - the meaty male parts in Shakespeare's plays. New York Times columnist Alexis Soloski looks at women playing Shakespearean heroes in a recent article.

Da Vinci mystery solved

Rumors of a portrait of Renaissance noblewoman Isabella d’Este by Leonardo da Vinci have circulated for centuries, but no art historian had actually seen it. Now a painting, believed to be by the master, has been discovered in a Swiss bank vault, possibly solving a 500-year-old mystery. (photo)

The light of medieval times

In a 2013 paper, published in volume 4 of i-Perception on perceptionweb.com, Claus-Christian Carbon and Pia Deininger look at the role and perception of light in the medieval world. The paper is entitled Golden perception: Simulating perceptual habits of the past.

Tracking the sea beasties

Modern maps rarely include wondrous sea monsters in their depictions of bodies of water. Author Chet Van Duzer laments this fact in his new book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. Tanya Lewis of LiveScience has a review.

Tudor tombs re-created by historians and scientists

Archival experts are teaming up with scientists to re-create two Tudor monuments using a combination of cutting-edge technology and document research. The two tombs, both victims of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, are those of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, illegimate son of Henry VIII. (photo)

Illumination meets graffiti to celebrate the Lindisfarne Gospels

Dutch graffiti artist Niels Meulman, AKA Shoe, is no stranger to medieval manuscripts, having been inspired by such works as the Irish Gaelic poem Pangur Bán, so it isn't surprising that he has been chosen to help celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the north of England as part of an exhibition.

Mona Lisa quest sparks controversy

Everyone knows the face of the Mona Lisa, but Silvano Vinceti hopes that he can show the world her actual face by identifying her remains removed from the Sant'Orsola convent in Florence. The task is expected to be accomplished by matching DNA from eight skeletons removed from the convent with that of remains taken from the lady's family tomb.

Happy birthday, Giovanni Boccaccio

Through 20 December 2013, the University of Manchester and Bristol will celebrate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Boccaccio, author of the 1351 Decameron, a collection of 100 tales ranging from the erotic to the tragic, with an exhibition.

Getty Museum announces Open Content Program

Nearly 5,000 high-resolution images of artworks from the Getty Museum's collections are now available in digital format "free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose" as part of the museum's Open Content Program.

The historic beauty of Rouen

Rouen, france is the home of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen and of Gustave Flaubert, the spot where Joan of Arc was burned and where painters Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein were inspired. Nell Casey of the New York Times visited the city and writes of its beauty. (photos)

Freer/Sackler Galleries receive grant for Chinese art conservator

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian in Washigton D.C. have received a US$1 million challenge grant, awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to endow the position of an assistant Chinese painting conservator.

Medieval Treasures From Hildesheim on display at the Met

"Smack in the middle of the Metropolitan Museum, there’s a nugget of compressed light called  Medieval Treasures From Hildesheim," begins a review of the new exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The review, by Holland Cotter, is from the Art & Design section of the New York Times.

Marlowe novel sparks hostility

All Ros Barber did was write a novel that theorizes that Shakespeare's plays were written by Christopher Marlowe, but The Marlowe Papers, written entirely in verse, has brought back up the dispute over the authorship of the Bard's plays.

Is there a "real" message in the Voynich manuscript?

The 15th century Voynich manuscript may be considered "the world's most mysterious medieval manuscript," and quite possibly a hoax, but a new study by theoretical physicist Marcelo Montemurro, published in the journal Plus One, theorizes that the book has a "genuine message."

Ren faire meets comicbook in Avery Fatbottom: Renaissance Fair Detective

Avery Fatbottom, Renaissance Faire organizer and detective, is the protagonist of a new comic series by Jen Vaughn. Vaughn spoke with JK Parkin of Comic Book Resources about her newly-released Avery Fatbottom: Renaissance Fair Detective.

"Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century" available for Kindle

Steven Muhlberger reports that his book Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century in now available for the Kindle from Amazon.com in eBook format. Cost to download is US $3.99.

The socio-cultural transformation of the Renaissance

In 1952, Frederick Godfrey wrote an article which transformed forever scholarly consdieration of the Renaissance. The Pictorial Records of the Medicis looked at the work of the period's artists in the "context of the society from which it had sprung and that social attitudes could be recovered from the study of art." Alexander Lee of History Today looks at the impace of the article.

Viking Veggies

Fans of Veggietales - or Vikings in general - will enjoy a look at the video We Married Vikings from Lyle the Kindly Viking. The short video is available on YouTube.

Murder at the War FREE for Kindle August 29, 2013

Murder at the War (also known as Knightfall), by the SCA's own Mary Monica Pulver, is available from Amazon.com for FREE download August 29, 2013 only. The book is set at the Pennsic War.

Machiavelli gets the sack; civilization gets The Prince

Civil servant Niccolo Machiavelli flourished at government work, but his fall from grace came in 1512 when he was fired and imprisoned for his involvement in a conspiracy against the Medicis, leading to the creation of his greatest work, The Prince. Sarah Dunant has the feature for the BBC.

Portrait of Renaissance children with guinea pig is a first

A painting of three Elizabethan children is believed to be the first to show a pet guinea pig. The portrait dates to 1580. Guinea pigs were brought to Europe by Spanish merchants in the late 1500s, but proof they were kept has pets has only been found recently.

The faces of Mary, Queen of Scots

In conjunction with a new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, the BBC has created a website which offers a gallery of portraits and artifacts relating to Mary, Queen of Scots, including portraits, her tomb, and the document demanding her death.

Reenactor creates replica of Bayeux Tapestry

A medieval reenactor in England has completed a 2:1 scale replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. The embroidery is 40 feet long and took 18 years to complete.

Morgan Library offers online exhibit of Islamic art

In the fall of 2011, the Morgan Library and Museum hosted Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan, an exhibit of religious and secular works. An "online exhibition" was created in conjunction with the exhibit and is available to view on the library's website.

Song Dynasty murals revealed in Tibet

Experts renovating an ancient Buddhist temple in Lhasa, Tibet have discovered a number of murals dating to the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279). "This discovery is crucial for us to reconstruct the way of life of that period. We will do our best to restore the murals to their original state,they will no doubt become a national level artefact," said Chen Zujun. (photos)