Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

400th anniversary of Shakespeare's sonnets

On May 20, 1609, the first collection of Shakespeare's sonnets was published in London. On his book blog Paper Cuts, New York Times reviewer William S. Niederkorn looks at the impact of some of the world's most famous poetry.

Dragons invade Canada

Does the Canadian air suddenly seem a little bit more sparkly? Have residents caught a glimpse of an unusual burst of fire in the sky over Montreal? Perhaps it is because Mythic Beasts have invaded the Canadian Museum of Civilization!

Medieval conference marks Cambridge University's 800th anniversary

Knowledge and Learning in the Middle Ages: A Conference Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the University of Cambridge is the title of the one-day conference hosted by the Magdalene Society of Medievalists. registration is now open for the June 13, 2009 conference.

Free early music sampler online

Fans of early music will be glad to know that Amazon.com has a FREE MP3 download of the album Very Best of Naxos Early Music.

Debate continues over Michelangelo crucifix

A EU3.3 million wooden crucifix, bought recently at auction by the Italian government, may or may not have been created by Michelangelo. The newly-purchased piece made its debut in December at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, and was visited by the Pope.

Verrocchio sculptures by student da Vinci?

Were two of the sculptures in Andrea del Verrocchio's silver altar panel Beheading of the Baptist actually created by the artist's student assistant Leonardo da Vinci? Gary M. Radke, a professor of the humanities at Syracuse University, thinks so. The work will be on exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.

Peacock and pomegranates subject of Byzantine painting

An archaeological team working near Salqin, Syria have discovered a large painting dating to the Byzantine era. The work depicts a large peacock (a symbol of the early church), two pomegranates, a small bird and olive trees. (photo)

NPR series follows path of modern Canterbury pilgrims

A recent multi-part NPR series retraces the steps of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales pilgrims in modern England from London to Canterbury. The site includes an interactive map of the journey.

Viewing Giotto through modern eyes

An article on great works of art for the UK's paper The Independent discusses how works of art from the past are viewed through modern eyes. Included is The Lamentation of Christ by 14th century Italian master Giotto, whose angels seem to zoom about like jet planes. (photo)

"Harken to Me" Late Middle English romances online

A special edition of Medieval Forum offers translations of late Middle English romances, "accompanied by brief commentaries on issues raised in the poems." The site also includes a bibliography and material on the various poems.

Da Vinci to be subject of cultural theme park

Was Leonardo da Vinci, "poet, musician, philosopher, engineer, architect, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, inventor, architect and botanist," the true Renaissance man, or was he just a "frustrating dilettante?" Curators of the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, France, da Vinci's last home, are betting on the former and hope for the success of their "world's first "intellectual and cultural theme park."

Rediscovered "Siege of Boulogne" drawing to be displayed at British Library

A huge drawing of Henry VIII"S 1544 Siege of Boulogne, once mislabeled and believed lost, will go on display at the British library as part of an exhibition entitled Henry VIII: Man and Monarch.

Dream exhibit at the Folger Library

The dreamworld was a popular subject for medieval and renaissance people. Now a new exhibit at Washington D.C. Folger Library looks at the world of sleep and dreams through the eyes of William Shakespeare and others. Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post has a review.

"A Yorkshire Tragedy" added to Shakespeare's works?

British academic John Casson believes that he has discovered previously unrecognized works by Williams Shakespeare. Included in these are a poem, a comedy, and his first two tragedies. Casson also claims to have proof of Shakespeare's authorship of the "lost play" Cardenio.

Medieval and Renaissance Forum at Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire will present its annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum April 24-25, 2009. This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Carole Levin, author of Dreaming the English Renaissance: Politics and Desire in Court and Culture.

Easter eggs: the natural way

Looking to use more natural products in your holiday celebrations? Consider using natural dyes for this year's Easter eggs. About.com: Chemistry has the information.

Wedding at the House of Juliet

What could be more romantic than getting married at the site of the legendary Romeo and Juliet balcony scene? Nearly anything, if you are put off by star-crossed lovers parted by suicide, but Verona city officials are banking on the romantic appeal of the site for international weddings.

Over 9,000 books "mislaid" at British Library

Every librarian understands the concept of "missing" books: those volumes stolen, mis-shelved, or misplaced that usually turn up. But if those books are at the British Library and number in the thousands, the problem could be disastrous.

Scandinavian grafitti

Wondering what to do with that boulder in your garden? How about turning it into a runestone work of art? Kalle the Runecarver of Sweden shows off his large-scale work on his website.

Shakespeare Facebooked

If William Shakespeare had had a Facebook or MySpace account, what might it have looked like? Mike McPhaden thinks he knows with Wm. Shakespeare's Five and Twenty Random Things Abovt Me. (PG-13 for language)

Her Majesty invites you for a visit

Did you know that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England has a website? Indeed She does, and one where you may enjoy a virtual tour of Windsor Castle, walk through the gardens at Buckingham Palace, or the gallery of royal paintings.

Sketch of da Vinci in middle age found

After months of restoration, a sketch, thought to be an early self portrait of Leonard da Vinci, has been discovered. The drawing was found was covered by handwriting. (video)

Re-enactor photos used to promote historical novel

SCA member Nan Hawthorn has used battle images of La Compagnie du Frankland in a short video promoting her new historical novel An Involuntary King: A Tale of Anglo Saxon England.

Display of artifacts from Shah Abbas I at British Museum

A new exhibit of Iranian art dating to the 16th and 17th centuries is now open at the British Museum in London. Shah 'Abba's The Remaking of Iran will run through June 2009.

Stirling Heads identified

The identities of the 16th century oak carvings of heads found at Stirling Castle in Scotland have long been a mystery, but historian Dr Sally Rush, who has studied the heads, believes she knows their identities.

"O Fortuna" demystified

Over the years, many of us have marveled at the power that "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana had as a soundtrack to film battle scenes. Yet, have we ever considered the lyrics to the piece? A video on YouTube offers a "karaoke" version of the work, complete with an English translation of the Latin words.

Unknown Tolkien work to be published in spring 2009

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, an unpublished book by J.R.R. Tolkien, has been scheduled to be released in May 2009.

To Canterbury they wende...

Just when we thought the SCA was irrelevant to the modern world, a trio of rappers brings us the Canterbury Tales Rap. Watch it on YouTube.

Love letters in the 12th century

Karin Larsdatter provides advice for the lovelorn in a translation on her Medieval Material Culture Blog. The entry looks at a 12th century handbook of letter writing recently discovered at the Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona.

America's oldest free library may close

Out of our time period, but a sad commentary on the financial crisis in the United States: Delaware County's Darby Free Library (Pennsylvania) is one of eleven libraries destined to close their doors due to lack of funding. The library "is believed to be the oldest continuously operating public library in America."