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The Story of Napoleon’s Death Mask (1915)

- March 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

Engorged with bons mots and brimming with pith, this investigation, in its author’s own words, moves between “the hot sword-play of polemic” and “the chill spade-work of research”.

<i>Black America</i>, 1895

- February 24, 2021 in Uncategorized

During the summer of 1895, in a Brooklyn park, there was a cotton plantation complete with five hundred Black workers reenacting slavery. Dorothy Berry uncovers the bizarre and complex history of Black America, a theatrical production which revealed the conflicting possibilities of self-expression in a racist society.

Filippo Morghen’s Fantastical Visions of Lunar Life (1776)

- February 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

The Florentine engraver imagines an expedition to a lunar landscape peopled by New World figures in fantastical, size-shifting scenarios.

French Silk Sample Book (ca. 1900)

- February 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

A sample book of gorgeous French silk in various patterns, from around 1900, from the Mary Ann Beinecke Decorative Art Collection.

Baron Munchausen’s Dream (1911)

- February 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

Méliès shows customary boundless imagination in this short film depicting the pleasures and terrors that plague the drunken baron.

Postures of Transport: Sex, God, and Rocking Chairs

- February 3, 2021 in Uncategorized

What if chairs had the ability to shift our state of consciousness, transporting the imagination into distant landscapes and ecstatic experiences, both religious and erotic? In an essay about the British and American fascination with rocking chairs and upholstery springs in the 19th century, Hunter Dukes discovers how simple furniture technologies allowed armchair travelers to explore worlds beyond their own.

Serviette Sculptures: Mattia Giegher’s Treatise on Napkin Folding (1629)

- February 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

17th-century treatise, the first book of its kind, containing a bestiary of linen creations, mythical creatures and architectural abstractions, folded out of the common napkin.

Early Illustrations of the Nervous System by Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal

- January 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

Beautiful diagrams exploring the nervous system from two pioneers in the field.

The Music of the Waters: A Collection of Sea Shanties (1888)

- January 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

The Art of Whaling: Illustrations from the Logbooks of Nantucket Whaleships

- January 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

The 19th-century whale hunt was a brutal business, awash with blubber, blood, and the cruel destruction of life. But between the frantic calls of “there she blows!”, there was plenty of time for creation too. Jessica Boyall explores the rich vein of illustration running through the logbooks and journals of Nantucket whalers.