The Empire of Death

(B. Koudounaris) Those who have gone before well outnumber those of the transitory present and are more swiftly forgotten.  It is now overwhelmingly the fashion in Australia to incinerate the dead – burial is a considerable ongoing expense and the real estate is rented (in due course, urban cemeteries will reclaim the space).  This incredible book shows and tells us of the veneration of the dead in 17C-19C catholic Europe (and parts of South America and south east Asia) in ossuaries and charnel houses. The pictures have to be seen to be believed: mountains of bones; garlands of skulls, cages…

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Nazi Philistines – Arthur Boyd – The Brians

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Modern Music, MUSIC, POLITICS, Ulalume, WW2 |

Pyjamas

The Wall Street Journal reports that the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on 6/5/14, has been bequeathed to a museum in Bern.  The collection included works looted by the Nazis and ‘assayed’ under the stewardship of Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand: Matisse, Franz Marc, Monet and Renoir (which last perhaps suggests the basic philistine nature of the national socialists). German authorities famously carried out a home invasion of Gurlitt’s Augsburg home in 2012 and confiscated the art as, according to the WSJ, “Gurlitt sat shocked in a corner wearing his pyjamas.” This property was never returned to him but the…

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Islamic Arts

(by J Bloom & S Blair) Despite ongoing conventions, Islamic Art (an extremely wide term, used here for convenience and coherence) flourished beyond the merely decorative or doctrinal. This sumptuous Phaidon edition is a good entrée to the flowers of the various Muslim empires in history.    

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The Embarrassment of Riches

(Simon Schama) There’s the Amsterdam dutch And the Zaandam dutch And the Rotterdam dutch And the God-damn dutch… However, despite their slightly dodgy record in slave driving, tulip speculating, trade finance and robust colonization, this admiring and admirably crammed history of culture in the Dutch Golden Age is a delight. The ‘Burgemeester van Delft’ in Jan Steen’s painting on the cover is a dead ringer for Jeffrey Jones (Mr. Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

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Blue Collar & Cups

Hello again and thank you for joining me for this fourth edition of Lesley’s blog, “Annabel Lee”. The powers that be have declared that the colour of Thursday is blue.  Accordingly I shall show you a blue beaded, appliqued  and embroidered wristlet which I am working on.  I am deliberating on how to do the actual lacy cuff bit.  A detail of the wristlet-so-far is shown here with some beaded teapot & cup ornaments. I just cannot decide what to use for the actual lacy cuff bit of the wristlet.  My sewing assistant and I have hauled out the masses of…

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