Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

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.

Dealing from the Meridian deck

Lord Wulf cu Battell of the Kingdom of Meridies has created a set of playing cards based on a 15th century deck.

Experts believe software proves Shakespeare collaborated

Sir Brian Vickers, an authority on Shakespeare at the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, is a believer in the theory that the Bard did not write all of his plays alone. Now a software program called Pl@giarism may help his case.

Research photos from the Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde

Racaire of the Kingdom of Drachenwald reports that she has created an album of photos from her recent visit to the Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde in Vienna, Austria. The photos are on her Flickr website.

Happy birthday, Asterix!

On October 29, 2009, Gaul's most famous denizon, Asterix, celebrated his Lth birthday. (That would be 50 to the Roman-numerically-challenged.) The comic book character was created in 1959 by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo.

Controversial Wallace statue returned to creator

For more than ten years, a 13-foot, sandstone statue of William Wallace held a place of honor at the Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland, but last year it was returned to sculptor Tom Church "to make way for a new visitor centre." (photo)

Houston museum to exhibit props from the "Chronicles of Narnia"

The Houston Museum of Natural Science will present an exhibition of props from the recent film version of the Chronicles of Narnia October 3, 2009 - January 18, 2010.

Pink is period!

How many times have you been told by SCA members, "Pink isn't period?" If the answer is more than two, you may want to take a look at a website created by Lady Louise which disputes this claim and offers historic images as evidence.

Desperately seeking Da Vinci

Scientist Maurizio Seracini believes there is s lost Da Vinci painting hidden inside a wall in Florence’s city hall, and he wants to use high tech techniques to find it. The Battle of Anghiari, the largest painting Leonardo ever undertook, was never completed, but was studied "as an unprecedented study of anatomy and motion."

Early watch depicted in Renaissance painting

Experts believe they may have identified the earliest depiction of a watch in a painting. The timepiece is featured in the 450-year-old portrait of Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence.

Keeping up with the Ciceros

Reasons given for the study of Latin over the year have ranged from "better understanding of English" to "looks good on a resume," but a new reason, according to Globe and Mail arts columnist Warren Clements, might be "to keep up with all the amusing Latin books that have been pouring forth for the past 60 years."

Martha Stewart learns maskmaking from SCAdian artist

Artist and SCA member Andrea Masse-Tognetti (Meredith the Maskmaker) joined Martha Stewart on October 7, 2009 to demonstrate how to make a leather unicorn mask.

George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" coming to HBO

HBO has acquired the rights to produce a fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire & Ice books. The first films, A Game of Thrones is scheduled to film in late October 2009 in Northern Ireland.

Mona Lisa: After hours....

It's quiet in the Louvre at night... too quiet. What does Mona Lisa -- she of the enigmatic smile -- do to pass the time? Piffie the Puffin has the answer.

Hear Shakespeare's music online

The cast album for the recent production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, starring Audra McDonald and Anne Hathaway, is available to hear online.

Kells beauty "in the (crossed) eyes of the creators"

The intricate and precise artwork of the manuscripts of 7th and 8th century England and Ireland, including the Book of Kells, has amazed artists and scholars for centuries. Now paleontologist John Cisne believes he knows how it was done. (photo)