The Elgin Marbles

January 7, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE, TRAVEL, Ulalume |

Image courtesy Andrew Dunn

‘And so this is Christmas and what have we done?’  Have we been friends of the earth and enemies of the people; open to change and closed to knowledge; fighting for peace and appeasing terror?  Tu se’ pagliaccio! The squabbles over the Elgin marbles continue.  There are many arguments pro and con; some ingenious, some tosh.  Legally, you can paraphrase Mr Gutman from the ‘Maltese Falcon’ and say clear title rests with Pheidias, so how can another claim prevail except by right of possession? The only edifying aspect to squabbles over title is that it reveals a hitherto latent love…

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The Athenaeum Library – Melbourne

First Floor, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne. Literally a Melbourne Institution, the Athenaeum Library is an oasis among the desert of commerce in the heart of Melbourne, a quiet place to sit, read, reflect.  More power to it!

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Provence and the Côte D’Azur

(by J McCulloch) The South of France may have slipped down the rankings of getaways for the great and good but it is still a superb region in which to luxuriate. This beautiful guide is not only packed with information; it is packed with the right information, first-hand and canny and laced with photos that are almost better than being there.  

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Paris: A Guide to the City’s Creative Heart

(by Janelle McCulloch) A sumptuous celebration and guidebook in one, this is the refreshing literary equivalent of taking Dom Pérignon with Coupe Hélène. Janelle McCulloch isn’t just a style guru; she is an informed omnivore of culture (see her magnificent website, A Library of Design). In this book she presents the world’s favourite city in an easy, informed way, helping newbies negotiate and appreciate the profusion of arrondisements and letting old hands savour the incomparable glamour and high style of the City of Lights. No point in buying only one copy as a gift because you’ll never give it away….

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The Sistine Chapel

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

Image courtesy of Titimaster

Unless you have some Papal credentials, see the Vatican City with a proper guide. Not merely to jump queues but to navigate the treasures within. Giotto’s triptych; Caravaggio’s Entombment; the Laocoon; Raphael’s Transfiguration, Liberation of St Peter and School of Athens…some of the greatest mythical painting ever made and there it all is, before you, towering over the tourist hurly-burly, busy taking selfies. Blessed with a bit of height, the Varnished Culture could stake out some wall space and gaze over the sea of baseball caps. Down sparse casements and through subterranean galleries of truly hellish ‘modern’ art, up a…

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