Medieval aphrodisiacs, humors, fasting and a really old callback

More than 11 years ago when this blog was new (well… less old, at any rate), I wrote about medieval penitentials and the brilliant sex flowchart derived therefrom by University of Kansas history professor emeritus James A. Brundage for his seminal text Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe. It is still one of …

New virtual tours of 8 Rome museums

Eight of Rome’s civic museums are offering new virtual tours. Available in Italian and English, to tours allow visitors to explore the museums floor-by-floor, in aerial views, through video, audio and information panels. It’s a curated approach. Select objects on display and important features of the museums themselves are highlighted. You navigate by clicking on …

Too Much Johnson, now with commentary

Too Much Johnson was one of Orson Welles’ innovative theories that failed so thoroughly in practice that audiences wouldn’t get to see it for 75 years. It was meant to be an accompaniment to a play of the same name, an 1894 farce of adultery, false names and mistaken identity adapted from a French original …

Raphael cartoons FINALLY in high res

The cartoons created by Renaissance master Raphael for the monumental tapestries that once adorned the walls of the Sistine Chapel are enormous at 10 feet high and between 10 and 16 feet wide. Their digital form, however, has been relatively puny. In my first post about just shy of 11 years ago, the available pictures …

A jolly holly horror to you!

Here’s an early Christmas present for all you boys and girls, if you consider triggering a gamut of emotions from uncomfortable to sheer terror a festive gift. I’ve posted several stories about the first “talking” dolls, the products of Thomas Edison’s infinite ability to find new markets for his technologies. They were 22″-tall cyborgs with …

Artemisia exhibition film: a review

This year London’s National Gallery is putting on the first exhibition in the UK dedicated solely to Baroque master Artemisia Gentileschi. The exhibition has been postponed twice due to COVID and is currently shut down until December 2nd. With major showcases like this that rely on priceless artworks loaned from other collections, changing the dates …

Is this the self-portrait of mason hidden in a column capital?

A possible self-portrait of a mason has been discovered carved in the capital of a column inside the nave of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The Easter egg was spotted by art historian Dr. Jennifer Alexander during a detailed survey the 11th century cathedral’s Romanesque architecture. Alexander was conducting a stone-by-stone analysis to work …

Hittite cuneiform texts digitized

A team led by researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz will be fully transcribing, translating and digitizing a vast collection of 30,000 Hittite-language cuneiform tablets engraved on clay in Anatolia 3,500 years ago, fired and preserved. The project has just been funded to the tune of EUR 520,000 and is expected to take three …