Fine Arts

Painting, sculpture, and similar forms of artistic expression.

Photos of silk banner making class in Northshield

Sara reports that she has posted an album of photos from the Silk Banner Class taught by HSH Luce Tolle at the recent Stellar University of Northshield (SUN).

The writers of Shakespeare

On his blog, The Drum, journalist Bob Ellis returns to the controversy of the authorship of Shakespeare's plays with examples of how the bard - or any modern playwright - can claim complete ownership of his work.

Good and evil in Machiavelli's "The Prince"

400 years after its publication, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince still inspires analysis and comment. One of the latest is a two-part story by Nick Spencer in the Guardian. The premise of the article: How do we utilise power to do good while utilising evil to keep power?

British Library announces plan to digitize Persian documents

The PARSA Community Foundation is teaming up with the British Library and others to provide online access to the Library's 11,000 Iranian manuscripts, one of the largest and best known in the world. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

1000 years of London's records in new book

A new book by David Pearson looks at 1000 years of records for the city of London. London 1000 Years: Treasures from the Collections of the City of London is reviewed by Paul Lay on the History Today website.

O Fortuna: What you think you heard

OK, it isn't period to the Middle Ages, but we all love O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, right? It's the soundtrack from Excalibur, after all. But do you know the lyrics? Or only think you do...

"All's Well" with Thomas Middleton

A pair of professors from Oxford University believe they have confirmed William Shakespeare's collaborator, at least for the comedy All's Well that Ends Well. They believe it is Thomas Middleton, who worked with the Bard on Timon of Athens.

"FACES" project to identify historical figures

The University of California, Riverside, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to use state-of-the-art facial recognition software to identify figures in paintings and sculpture.

The Tudor court from Cromwell's point of view

Henry VIII and his succession of wives continue to capture the imaginations of historians and readers of history. Now, a new novel, Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel, follows the life, trial and death of Anne Boleyn and the involvement of Thomas Cromwell. Peter Green of The Book blog has a review.

The power of Botticelli's Venus

In a recent ArtBlog posted by The Guardian, Jonathan Jones ponders Botticelli's enduring masterpiece, The Birth of Venus, painted in 1484, and tries to discover if it is the ancient religion that makes it so compelling.

Exhibit reveals genius of Albrecht Dürer

A recent article in Christie's New Art Newspaper reviews a major exhibition of work by Germany's greatst artist Albrecht Dürer, The Early Dürer at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 24 May-2 September, 2012.

Medieval English Alabaster Sculptures from the Victoria & Albert Museum

Art Services International has brought an exhibition of Medieval English Alabaster Sculptures from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to the United States.

Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad

The World Shakespeare Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon, England has a unique offering this year, a new take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet called Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad where the couple are not divided by family squabbles but by religious sects.

Byzantine exhibit showcased on History Today website

The May 2012 issue of History Today features a slideshow from a major exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art: Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. The exhibit runs through July 8, 2012.

Met exhibit marks Constantinople's first "Arab Spring"

The recent Arab Spring, in North Africa and the Middle East, was not the first, according to a Deborah Amos report on NPR. The first was the conflict of culture between the Byzantine Empire and the new Islamic religion in the seventh century to the ninth centuries.

Cataloging Elizabethan drunks

Drunkenness in Elizabethan England was not a rare occurance, to the extent, in fact, that satirist Thomas Nashe cataloged eight specific types. The website Lists of Note published Nashe's piece Eight Kindes of Drunkennes.

Controversial restoration of da Vinci's last painting completed

Over the past 18 months, the art world has held its collective breath to see the results of the Louvre's restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's last work The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, but the wait is now over. (photo)

12th century Persian poem receives modern artistic treatment

The Conference of the Birds, an epic Persian poem written by Farid ud-Din Attar in the 1100s, is being published as an artistic version of a graphic novel. The poem was adapted by Czech illustrator Peter Sis.

Secret message leads to Da Vinci investigation

Cerca trova - "seek and you shall find" is the message hidden in a Florence mural by Giorgio Vasari, long thought to have replaced Leonardo da Vinci's greatest work, leading scientists to use high tech methods to investigate behind the painting. (photos and video)

Ghent Altarpiece digitized

For the past year, a team of art historians has been working on a conservation project for Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s “Mystic Lamb,” better known as the Ghent Altarpiece. Along with the conservation, the altarpiece has been photographed at extremely high resolution to be released online.

Cupid reigns at the Bodleian

The magic of Valentine's Day was felt recently at the Bodleian Library In Oxford, England with an exhibition celebrating "the stories of medieval romance and how they have influenced culture, literature and art over the last thousand years."

Henry VI Psalter Now Online

A fully digitized version of The Psalter of Henry VI has been added to the British Library's ongoing project of digitizing some of their manuscript treasures.

'Tis what it's all about

Dancers and poets alike will enjoy reading the efforts of Jeff Brechkin, who took on the challenge by the "Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asked readers to submit 'instructions' for something (anything), but written in the style of a famous person."

Shakespeare's Sisters at the Folger Shakespeare Library

Women had little impact on writing in the renaissance, or so common wisdom believes, but a new exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library proves otherwise. The exhibition showcases the work of  more than 50 women from Britain, France and Italy from 1500-1700.

Medici Venus once wore lipstick

Chemical analysis of the Medici Venus, a 1st century Roman sculpture housed since 1677 at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, has determined that the sensuous lady once had painted lips, gilded hair and jeweled earrings.

Rare Panels from Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace

Two canvas panels, presumably commissioned for Henry VIII's Nonsuch Palace, are displayed in renovated condition.

[AET] Queen's Rapier Championship / Debatable Lands Birthday

The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands invites one and all to celebrate the epic battle to find the next Queen's Rapier Champion and...our Baronial Birthday!

Irish Times reporter offers "A History of Ireland in 100 Objects "

Irish Times reporter Fintan O’Toole provides a history of his country one artifact at a time. In his A history of Ireland in 100 objects, O’Toole reports on one object, from the National Museum of Ireland, each Saturday and its significance in the history and culture of the country.

Shakespeare's grammar key to his prominence

Dr. Jonathan Hope believes that the key to William Shakespeare's success was not the words that he used, but the way in which he used them. In a chapter in his new book on the English language, Hope finds that the Bard's grammar and word ordering are what set him apart from other writers.

British library offers eBooks for iPhones

iPhone and iPad users may spend a chill, winter day curled up with a Shakespeare first folio, a Medieval Beastiary, or Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an. The eBook editions are available for download on