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A Modest Apology for the Man in the Bottle (1749)

- September 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

A confession from the supposed man who caused a riot at the Haymarket Theatre in 1749, when he failed to shrink himself and crawl inside of a bottle.

The Human Voice (1921)

- September 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

Educational film from Bray studios all about that “marvellous sound producing instrument, the voice box”.

Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow

- September 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

Among the “human curiosities” in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum was a supposed escapee from an Ottoman harem, a figure marketed as both the pinnacle of white beauty and an exoticised other. Betsy Golden Kellem investigates the complex of racial and cultural stereotypes that made the Circassian beauty such a sideshow spectacle.

700 Years of Dante’s *Divine Comedy* in Art

- September 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

To celebrate Dante's 700th anniversary, a look at how illustrators have tackled his most enduring work.

Figure/Ground: Alphonse Allais’ *April Fools Album* (1897)

- September 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

Long before Rauchenberg, Cage, or Malevich, Allais anticipated many of the innovations and experiments that would occupy 20th-century artists.

*A Treatise on Artificial Limbs* (1899)

- September 7, 2021 in Uncategorized

An attempt to parallel every possible case of amputation, allowing individuals to find a case identical to their own.

Festooned: Martin Gerlach’s Decorative Groupings (1897)

- August 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

Martin Gerlach’s quintessential “book of examples” was a reference manual meant for inspiring artists and artisans, with an aesthetic adjacent to Art Nouveau.

The Spiralist

- August 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

Why do helical seashells resemble spiraling galaxies and the human heart? Kevin Dann leads us into the gyre of James Bell Pettigrew’s Design in Nature (1908), a provocative and forgotten exploration of the world’s archetypal whorl.

Porch Memories

- August 4, 2021 in Uncategorized

In this affecting photo-essay, Federica Soletta invites us to sit with her awhile on the American porch.

Astronomia Playing Cards (1829)

- July 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

Transcending the earthly concerns of betting and regal motifs, this pack of cards focuses exclusively on the heavens.