Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

Michelangelo drawings show "unequaled understanding of the human body"

Michelangelo is revered one of the greatest masters of Renaissance art, especially when it comes to depicting the form of the human body. A new exhibit at the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, Virginia, explores this aspect of his work.

"Secret of Kells nominated for Academy Award

The Secret of Kells, an animated film directed by Tomm Moore, has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Early Chinese paintings subject of Freer & Sackler Galleries website

The Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution have announced a new online resource for the study of early Chinese painting. The site features over 80 examples of 10th through 14th century artwork.

Bronzino: most influential 16th century painter in Florence

In the mid 16th century, Agnolo Bronzino was the most respected portraitist in Florence. Now a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Drawings of Bronzino, offers 59 of his works on paper. (slideshow)

Da Vinci resume online

In a letter to the Duke of Milan, Lenoardo da Vinci outlines his qualifications as an engineer and an artist. A scanned version of the resume with translation is available online.

Picture restoration: "an archaeological problem"

Martin Wyld, chief restorer for the British National Gallery knows that restoring paintings is a difficult job. John McEwen of the London Times walks the galleries with the expert in a recent interview.

12th century poem calls French "arrogant cowards"

A century after the Norman Conquest, the relationship between the French and the English was anything but cordial, if you can believe a 396-line poem written by an Anglo-Norman cleric.

Mona Lisa suffered from high cholesterol

Vito Franco of the University of Palermo thinks Mona Lisa is sick, that is, she suffered from "worryingly high levels of cholesterol." Franco bases his observations on a "xanthelasma – a subcutaneous accumulation of cholesterol – in the hollow of the Mona Lisa's left eye, and a tell-tale lipoma, a fatty tissue tumour, on one hand."

Was Shakespeare a "secret Catholic?"

What did Shakespeare do during the "lost years?" Father Andrew Headon, the vice-rector of the Venerable English College in Rome believes the playwright spent the years in the Eternal City and was a "secret Catholic."

LibraryThing offers "virtual book club" for SCA folk

Billing itself as the "world's largest book club", the LibraryThing web site offers a venue to share your latest bibliophilic discoveries. In the History section is a group devoted to SCA folk.

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski

What if William Shakespeare had written The Big Lebowski? Humorist Adam Bertocci has an idea in his Two Gentlemen of Lebowski.

Renaissance portrait gallery highlights jewelry

Illusion Jewels, a retailer of medieval and renaissance jewelry, has created an online portrait gallery featuring classic paintings from the 15th - 17th centuries that feature jewelry.

Medieval and Renaissance Galleries open at the V&A

"We're wanting to shed light on the dark Middle Ages," said chief curator Peta Motture about lighting conditions at the new Medieval and Renaissance exhibits at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Tim Masters, entertainment and arts correspondent for BBC News has the story.

Controversial medieval scholar completes book on Cambridge

Despite her ongoing dispute with the university, Cambridge scholar and professor of medieval logic Gill Evans has completed her history of the institution. The University of Cambridge: A New History will be published to coincide with Cambridge's 800th anniversary.

When in Rome... read!

Mysteries set in ancient Rome continue to catch the imaginations of readers.

Roman frescoes restored to glory

The BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey offers a tour of the building and recently restored 400-year-old fresco paintings at the Scala Santa or Holy Stairs.

Embroidered textiles bring high prices at Bonham auction

On December 9, 2009, a collection of 15th-19th century works of art and textiles was auctioned by Bonham's Auction House. Detailed photos of the auctioned items are available to view on the website.

Raphael: undone by passion?

Renaissance master Raphael died at the age of 37, at the height of his career. For centuries, historians have blamed his early death on his passion for his mistress, La Fornarina. Jonathan Jones has the story on The Guardian's Art Blog.

Mural shows that Koreans visited 7th century Uzbekistan

A mural, discovered in 1965 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, may prove that envoys from Korea visited the country in the 7th century. A replica of the original mural, now destroyed, is on display at the National Museum of Korea.

Elizabeth I and Dudley miniatures fetch UK£72,000

A pair of miniatures, painted by Nicholas Hilliard, and depicting Elizabeth I and her favorite, Robert Dudley, were auctioned recently for UK£72,000. The portraits were believed to have been painted around 1575. (photo)

Same-sex marriage in the Middle Ages

Historians believe they have evidence of same-sex marriage in late antiquity and early Middle Ages. One piece of evidence is a monastic icon depicting the marriage of two male saints with Jesus officiating. (photo)

"Lost Fort" discusses use of siege engines in fiction

Author Gabriele Campbell has created The Lost Fort, a blog designed to discuss historical fiction, especially of the medieval era. One page is devoted to the discussion of using trebuchets in historical fiction.

Archaeologists ponder "Secrets of Shangri-La"

Archaeologists believe they have found Shangra-La in the form of Himalayan caves holding wall paintings, illuminations and 15th century religious texts. (photos)

Waterhouse enchants at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Those longing for the romance of Arthurian times may want to check out J. W. Waterhouse: Garden of Enchantment, an exhibition of the artist's work at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through February 7, 2010.

Legacy of Puritan vandals still challenges Canterbury Cathedral

In the 1640s, followers of Oliver Cromwell vandalized Canterbury Cathedral, especially stained glass windows overlooking the tomb of Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the Black Prince. The decay continues to this day, causing concern to those charged with maintaining the cathedral.

Shakespeare Quartos Archive features digital Hamlet

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive, a website featuring "high-quality reproductions and searchable full text of surviving copies of Shakespeare’s" works, has been launched thanks to a grant JISC in the UK and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US.

Medievalist Laura Ashe wins Philip Leverhulme Prize

Dr Laura Ashe, a professor in the English Faculty at Oxford University, has been awarded the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize given to academics under the age of 36 for "contribution to their particular field of study, are recognised at an international level, and whose future contributions are held to be of correspondingly high promise."

Big, bad Celtic gods and demons

With the ghosts of Halloween 2009 still lingering in the corners, writer Dara McBride Irish Central looks at The 10 scariest monsters and demons from Celtic myth.

Skaldic poetry database online

Funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and other bodies, The Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages offers a database and other documents of interest to scholars.

"New Moon" a boon for Volterra tourism

In New Moon, the popular vampire film based on the book by Stephanie Meyer, the young couple journeys to city of Volterra, Italy for a meeting with an ancient vampire clan. Now devotees of the books and films are flocking to the medieval Tuscan town's square.