Some stories we’ve been reading this week:
- This is happening right now: the Louvre moved artworks from rooms vulnerable to flooding as the Seine rises to its highest levels in three decades. Yikes.
- You may have thought that Lady Gaga’s precarious platform shoes were avant-garde, but they were actually predated by about five centuries: check out the elaborate 16th-century chopines.
- It seems like the 16th century was a hotbed of weirdness. Witness the craze for morbid memento mori.
- And we might as well follow that up with the rise and fall of medical cadaver ceremonies.
- Here is an excellent essay on how concealing the nude bodies of ancient statues, whether for censorship or fashion, adds another troublesome layer to their already complicated politics.
- Fascinating (if often disheartening) reading: Culture Crime News, a database of antiques and art crimes.
- You might want to chase the bitterness away with another database, this one of cats in 19th-century art.
- Doctors diagnose diseases of the subjects in two famous paintings: Joseph Wright of Derby’s An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump and Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World. (We have both images in Artstor if you want to zoom in and take a close look.)
- If we didn’t know any better, we would think this bit of news is a tie-in to X-Men: Apocalypse: King Tut’s blade was literally made of extraterrestrial metal. (And yes, we know Apocalypse is a mutant, not an alien. Duh.)
- Since brevity is the soul of wit, here are Shakespeare’s plays reduced to the length of a tweet.
- We want, nay, NEED this poseable action figure of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, which comes “with a movable strut that makes it possible to recreate various scenes.”
And, as we see every week, people keep finding old things:
- Repairs to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem accidentally revealed a stunning eight-foot-tall Byzantine-era mosaic of an angel under plaster walls. Trust us, you’ll want to see the photos.
- An incredibly rare 2,300-year-old ancient Greek gold crown was kept in a “tatty” box of old newspapers under bed for decades by its owner, who had no idea what it was. The crown looks beautiful, and we’re grateful for the photo of the “tatty” box.