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Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science |

Stained glass window made by Stanisław Wyspiań...

Image via Wikipedia Church of St. Francis 1869 Krakow Poland

Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science |

via Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science |

I often find peacefulness in a soaring stone church, a cool open place to sit and contemplate. The giant trunk-like pillars and the gentle play of the light cast through the stained glass create a shaded garden of stone and multicoloured light.

Stained glass windows are never static. In the course of the day they are animated by changing light, their patterns wandering across the floor, inviting your thoughts to wander with them. They were essential to the fabric of ancient churches, illuminating the building and the people within, both literally and spiritually. Images and scenes leaded together into windows shed light on the central drama of Christian salvation. They allowed the light of God into the church.

The history of stained glass dates back to the middle ages and is an often underestimated technical and artistic achievement.

Glass itself is one of the fruits of the art of fire. It is a fusion of the Earth’s rocks: a mixture of sand (silicon oxide), soda (sodium oxide) and lime (calcium oxide) melted at high temperatures. Glass is an enabling material used for more than just drinking vessels and windows. It also allows scientists to observe distant stars and the smallest biological cells, and colourful chemical reactions in test tubes.

The history of glass

The earliest evidence of human interaction with glass was the discovery of flaked obsidian tools and arrow heads dating from more than 200,000 years ago. Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when hot volcanic lava is rapidly cooled.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | cathedral, culture, global, history, photography, religion, social | , | 1 Comment

Great Works: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1524), Parmigianino – Great Works, Art – The Independent

Image via Wikipedia





Since Brunelleschi created linear perspective early in the 15th century, thousands of painters have created the illusion of credible three-dimensional worlds into which we have all been invited to step. Some painters have found that depth of illusionism too shallow a challenge. They have wanted to persuade us that there are super-subtle tricks of painterly effect which make mere three-dimensional illusionism seem as easy as winking by comparison.




The Mannerist painter Parmigianino painted his Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror in 1524 when he was 21 years of age – in fact, he may have been slightly younger. It was thought by the great 16th-century biographer Vasari in the first version of his life of the painter, written about 30 years after Parmigianino’s death, that it may have been painted as a gift for Pope Clement VII. Parmigianano made it, quite deliberately, as a bravura performance, to prove, at a stroke, his own brilliance, and Vasari duly waxed lyrical about its extraordinary qualities. This was not the only time that Parmigianio was to paint or to draw his own features. Like Rembrandt, he found his own image utterly absorbing. Unlike Rembrandt, however, Parmigianino died young – at the age of 37 – and so he was not able to chart the fascinating subject of the ageing of human flesh.



via Great Works: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1524), Parmigianino – Great Works, Art – The Independent.


via Great Works: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1524), Parmigianino – Great Works, Art – The Independent.

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October 16, 2010 Posted by | art, culture, history, middle ages, social | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wall of al- Buraq The Western Wall or Wailing Wall

The lower strata of the Western Wall dates to the Roman Governor Herod (r. 40–4 BC); the remaining layers date to the Umayyad period, during the rule of Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan (AH 65–86 / AD 685–705), and other Islamic periods, Roman and Islamic
Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories
This is the wall which is associated, according to Muslim beliefs, with Buraq who carried the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem on the night of the Mi’raj (Ascension). This large wall forms part of the Western Wall of al-Haram al-Sharif. Its lower stone courses were built in the Roman period; above them is the Umayyad-period strata while the upper courses date back to the Mamluk period. The Jews believe that the Western Wall belongs to the second temple and call it the Wailing Wall. It is considered the holiest of their religious sites.

September 4, 2010 Posted by | archaeology, history, Muslim | | Leave a comment

Bedroom in Arles by Van Gogh

Bedroom in Arles - Vincent van GoghIn October of 1888, while living in The Yellow House in Arles, Van Gogh completed one of his most famous works The Bedroom.   Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles has a striking combination of colors that Van Gogh was proud of.  In a letter to his brother Theo from 1888, Van Gogh wrote:

“The walls are pale violet. The floor is of red tiles.  The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish-citron.  The coverlet scarlet. The window green.  The toilet table orange, the basin blue.  The doors lilac.”

Today the original version of The Bedroom is at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam although it is currently undergoing restoration.  While it is being restored; however, you can follow the entire restoration process on the Van Gogh Museum’s Bedroom Secrets blog

There are also two other versions of The Bedroom which Van Gogh painted.  One now hangs in The Art Institute of Chicago.  This one Van Gogh created in September of 1889 as a back-up copy of the first Bedroom painting.   The third version is located in Paris at the Musee d’Orsay and was created as a smaller version Van Gogh painted for his mother and sister.

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September 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

What’s on in Europe in August: Pop art, Africa Days and Notting Hill Carnival

What's on in Europe in August: Pop art, Africa Days and Notting Hill Carnival


Pop art in Cologne, the Edinburgh festivals, rock in Paris, Africa Days in Vienna and the Notting Hill Carnival in London. Following is the best of what's on in Europe in August.



MUSIC: The cream of society gathers for a yearly rendezvous in Mozart's hometown of Salzburg for a month of cultural highlights ranging from operas to plays and concerts, starring some of the world's biggest names.

The Salzburg Festival running to 30 August plays host to some 190 performances, including audience's favourite Everyman. Also on the programme — Italian maestro Riccardo Muti, conductors Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim, German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca and Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon, as well as Russian superstar soprano Anna Netrebko.

Photo © Nino Machaidze
Salzburg Festival: Roméo et Juliette: Juliette, Nino Machaidze

ART: Sleeping Beauties, many from Puerto Rico's Museo de Arte de Ponce, on show at Vienna's Lower Belvedere museum until 3 October. The exhibit, including Frederic Leighton's Flaming June and several paintings by Edward Burne-Jones, pays homage to the works of pre-Raphaelites in the late 19th century. Includes works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and Sir John Everett Millais.

FESTIVAL/AFRICA: Vienna celebrates its 6th Africa Days from 30 July to 15 August on the Donauinsel. The programme includes concerts, African drum demonstrations, a fashion show, a bazaar with food stalls and handicrafts, and paint workshops and story-telling for youngsters.


FASHION: From a city that has thrown out some of Europe's top designers, the costume and lace museum focuses on fashion and women's lib with an exhibition titled Sixties! that runs until 31 December.

Photo © George Osodi
BOZAR expo: GEO-graphics, George Osodi, Ogony Boy, 2007

ART: A focus on Africa with a difference at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, with Geo-graphics, offering 220 traditional works counterposed with the continent's urban scene and contemporary art. Until 26 September.

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August 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Hungary Sued in Holocaust Art…

Hungary Sued in Holocaust Art Claim


For more than two decades the heirs of a world-renowned Jewish collector have been petitioning the Hungarian government to return more than $100 million worth of art, most of which has been hanging in Hungarian museums, where it was left for safekeeping during World War II or placed after being stolen by the Nazis and later returned to Hungary.

Stefano Paltera/for The New York Times

David de Csepel, who is suing to regain custody of family artwork taken during World War II, at home in Los Angeles.



Herzog Family Archive

Francisco de Zurbaran’s “Saint Andrew.”

Herzog Family Archive

Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “The Annunciation of Saint Joachim.”

Herzog Family Archive

El Greco’s “The Agony in the Garden.”


The requests have been rebuffed, as have appeals to the government from current and former United States senators, including the DemocratsChristopher J. DoddHillary Rodham Clinton and Edward M. Kennedy. Finally, in 2008, a Hungarian court ruled that the government was not required to return the art.

Now, in what experts say is the world’s largest unresolved Holocaust art claim, the heirs of the Hungarian banker Baron Mor Lipot Herzog have filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in Washington demanding the return of the art collection they say is rightfully theirs. The lawsuit has been filed against Hungary and several museums that it oversees.

The suit, filed on Tuesday, includes an unprecedented twist: in addition to the more than 40 artworks explicitly identified in the filing — including paintings, sculptures and other works by masters like El Greco, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Zurbarán, van Dyck, Velázquez and Monet — lawyers are also asking the Hungarian government for an accounting of all art from the Herzog family in its possession.

“It’s a very emotional subject,” David de Csepel, a great-grandson of Baron Herzog who lives in Los Angeles, said of the collection’s fate in a telephone interview. Mr. de Csepel, who said he was speaking on behalf of about a dozen relatives, explained that this lawsuit had come after decades of frustration with the Hungarian government. “I want to see justice done. My great-grandfather was one of the most famous collectors in all of Europe. His passion and love of art is well known.”

Mr. de Csepel, 44, remembers hearing about the art from his grandmother when he was a boy growing up just outside of New York. “It was something she held dear to her,” he said. “She got a hold of a book of the collection from one of the museums, cut out the pictures and hung them around her apartment.”

Michael S. Shuster, a lawyer for the Herzog family, said that Hungary had been “one of the countries that has been the most recalcitrant” about returning looted art.

“While other countries have cooperated,” he said, “Hungary has been bucking that trend.”

Gabor Foldvari, Hungary’s deputy consul general in New York, said in a telephone interview that it was not a question of Hungary’s refusing to cooperate but that, in the case of the Herzog heirs, “it was not the government’s decision, but the court’s decision” to keep the art.

Hungary is not the only country with looted Herzog art. Over the years the family has made legal claims in Poland, Russia and Germany, seeking the return of art and objects seized during and after World War II. This year the German government returned three works: an 18th-century snuffbox said to have belonged to Frederick the Great; a painting by Zeitblom, a 15th-century German artist; and a 1545 portrait by Georg Pencz, which the Herzogs sold at Christie’s in London this month for $8.5 million. That money is being used to support the heirs’ litigation, according to Mr. Shuster and Charles A. Goldstein, counsel to the Commission for Art Recovery, a 13-year-old nonprofit organization that helps victims of Nazi art thefts. (Asked if the Herzog heirs were planning to auction some or all of the collection if art were returned, as many families in similar situations have done, both Mr. Shuster and Mr. Goldstein said nothing had been decided.)

Part of the family’s frustration, Mr. Shuster said — and one reason the lawsuit requests a Hungarian inventory — is that it appears impossible to know just how much art is actually missing. Russia, for example, where some family members filed a lawsuit in 1999 that is still pending, is believed to have a number of works by artists including El Greco,Goya and Renoir that were stolen by the Nazis and then seized by the Soviets in Germany. Those works may be just a small segment of what was lost.

And in Hungary, the Herzogs believe, there may be many more than the works named in the suit, which are valued at a total of about $100 million. (That figure was arrived at after asking dealers and auction-house experts to value the property from photographs and visits to some of the museums.)

“About 12 years ago I was put in touch with one of the Herzog heirs through friends,” said George Wachter, who runs Sotheby’s old master paintings department worldwide. “And I was asked to go to Budapest to meet with their lawyer and look at” several paintings. Mr. Wachter took the trip and described the art he saw as “good, solid, quality pictures,” adding, “I can understand why Hungary wouldn’t let them go.”

Before this latest lawsuit, the heirs tried to compromise with the Hungarian museums. “Fifteen years ago the family offered to split the paintings with the government, and they turned them down,” Mr. Goldstein said. “Germany and Austria have come to terms with this issue, but Hungary has not. They have refused to take responsibility.

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July 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment



Impressionist Gardens at the National Galleries of Scotland

The Artist?s Garden at Eragny, 1898 by Camille Pisarro

The Artist’s Garden at Eragny, 1898 by Camille Pissarro

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July 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Claude Monet

Iris Claude Monet painting Painting Title: Iris 1914-17
Claude Monet
Famous French painters - Famous Flower Paintings

About the Iris Painting
Claude Monet created his garden like a work of art and painted it, not unlike a painter might create sculpture to feature in his paintings. The artist arranged his garden like a still life painter would compose a bowl of fruit on the table.

"My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece." Claude Monet Quote

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July 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Van Gogh

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June 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment