Italian Ways: The Contarini Staircase, a paradisiac view of Venice.
“Built at the end of the 15th century by will of the Venetian nobleman Pietro Contarini, the gorgeous spiral staircase – ‘bòvolo’ in the lagoon’s dialect, hence the name ‘Contarini del Bovolo’ – winds up 26 meters, inside a cylindrical tower with seemingly infinite round arches.” I assume Escher must have seen this … ? Beautiful. Where are such things in modern architecture? I rue the vacuum.
Flickr: The Dinky Toys Pool.
Observer.UK: Rev’s church could have been where Romeo and Juliet died.
“Some historians hold that the tomb scene in Romeo and Juliet, with its ‘stony’ sepulchre in which the tragic lovers end their lives, has similarities to the decaying, tomb-crowded interior of the church. By Shakespeare’s time, the church was already nearly 500 years old, crammed with crumbling tombs and memorials, some of them dating back to the Crusades.”
NPR: ‘In Paradise,’ Matthiessen Considers Our Capacity For Cruelty.
“How has civilization — so called — come this far and people are still designing tools to kill each other? For no other purpose than killing. Why are we doing it? Why are we doing it?”
Later: In a strange synchronicity, it seems Peter Matthiessen passed away today. His books always energize me; indeed, I took In The Spirit of Crazy Horse on my honeymoon, and was so irascible after reading, my new wife made me Fedex it back home from Hawaii. RIP, good sir.
Even later: NY Times, Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.
Billfold: How Much Was Jane Austen Paid For Some of History’s Best Books?
“… perhaps there is a lesson there: it is certainly harder to produce art without a trust fund to bolster you, but the art can be deeper, richer, and more resonant for the struggle that went into it.” Bless you, Jane.
MattStoller: Sexist Life Magazine Ads from the 1960s.
Yes, well. The farther back you go, the more surprising, I suppose. 1972 and 1973 were the watershed years for women’s rights; when culture shifted in a huge way. When was the last time you heard “male chauvinist pig” in casual conversation? Used to be part of the American vernacular. Ask a kid today what a chauvinist is, and get a blank stare.
The Millions: The 80-page Rule.
New Yorker: Telling African-American History Through Bartlett’s Familiar Black Quotations.
New Scientist: Shroud of Turin depicts Y-shaped crucifixion.
ArtDaily: New exhibition explores the timelessness of Isamu Noguchi’s works.
“These two wormholes—technology, which helps us progress but when misused can just as easily return us to a primitive state, and simplicity as a design imperative—seem to link the ancient past and the distant future in Noguchi’s work.” Wonderful.
Historical Nonfiction: Tipu’s Tiger, a life-size, working mechanical organ.
RandsInRepose: How to Write a Book.
“Don’t write a book. Even better, stop thinking about writing a book. Your endless internal debate and self-conjured guilt about that book you haven’t written yet is a sensational waste of your time. My guess is if you took all the time that you’ve spent considering writing a book and translated that into actual writing time, you’d be a quarter of your way into writing that book you’re not writing.
So, stop. It’s the only sure-fire way to begin.”
ArtDaily: Found - Impressive Byzantine period monastery with a spectacular mosaic floor.
“The prayer hall is paved with a mosaic on which a pattern of leaves is vibrantly portrayed in blue, red, yellow and green colors. The dining room floor is a colorful mosaic pavement depicting floral motifs, geometric decorations, amphorae, baskets and even a pair of birds.” Quite lovely.
Spiegel Online: How Copyright Laws Prevent Easy Sharing of E-Books.
“Many publishing houses don’t allow their products to be lent out by digital libraries for fear of piracy. Articles and books by researchers are also affected. Readers are the ones who have to pay the price.”
The Art Newspaper: Bulgari ‘adopts’ Rome’s Spanish Steps.
Saved from the fate of Pompeii.
SciAm: Pinch of Pigment: Mummy Brown.
“Considered to be a highly variable pigment between raw umber (almost greenish brown) and burnt umber (a ruddier brown), Mummy Brown was a transparent brown good for mixing. And it was appalling. Made from ancient Egyptian human and feline mummies grave-robbed investigated as antiquities in Europe, there was a craze to use the bodies for everything from fertilizer to beauty creams to fine art paint pigment.” Synchronicity. I was just reading about the controversies over the identification of mummies KV55 and KV21A, potentially Smenkhkare/Ahkenaten and Ankhesenamun.
OpenCulture: New York Public Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online.
ArtDaily: Knights! Exhibition takes new approach to examining arms and armor.
“ The exhibition’s five separate sections — Courtly Pursuits, The Dance of Love and War, Knights of the Round Table, Triumphal Arch, and Good + Evil — illustrate in detail the historical context in which these works were made and used.”
ArtDaily: German recluse ready to return Nazi-looted art; Matisse’s “Sitting Woman” 1st.
ArtDaily: Four Crimean museums fear loss of hundreds of precious ancient treasures.
“Now curators in both Amsterdam and Crimea have been left wringing their hands over the political dilemma facing them: do the artefacts go to Kiev or Moscow once the exhibition ends?”
Keyboard Shortcuts for Sketch App.
PDF on the bottom-right.
Times Literary Supplement: Hold or fold.
Review of ‘On Paper’. “Tree flakes encased in dead cow.”
My wife was perusing a particular magazine, I was doing my usual evening novel-reading, when I heard her snort. She passed the magazine over to me, and said, “See something wrong?” It was an advertisement for visual-acuity sunglasses … so off-register, I involuntarily pulled my glasses off to figure out why my eyes weren’t focusing. “No,” she said, “It’s not your eyes. The whole signature is off.”
I’m sure that advertiser is *thrilled* with the situation.
You would see this once in a while with newspapers, just out of the nature of cheap paper. But it was very infrequent in magazines. The print industry is losing their mojo.
ArtDaily: Two restored colossal pharaoh statues unveiled in Egypt.
DedPxl: Fuji Instax, A 75 Cent Door Opener.
Zach finds it does exactly what Polaroid used to.