You are browsing the archive for Art & Illustrations.

Bringing the Ocean Home

Adam Green - June 21, 2018 in anemones, aquariums, Art & Illustrations, Books, fish, inventor of the aquarium, philip henry gosse, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine

Bernd Brunner on the English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse and how his 1854 book The Aquarium, complete with spectacular illustrations and a dizzy dose of religious zeal, sparked a craze for the "ocean garden" that gripped Victorian Britain.

Early Modern Memes: The Reuse and Recycling of Woodcuts in 17th-Century English Popular Print

Adam Green - June 6, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, ballads, Books, Culture & History, internet memes, meme culture, woodcuts

Expensive and laborious to produce, a single woodcut could be recycled to illustrate hundreds of different ballads, each new home imbuing the same image with often wildly diverse meanings. Katie Sisneros explores this interplay of repetition, context, and meaning, and how in it can be seen a parallel with the meme culture of today.

Exquisite Rot: Spalted Wood and the Lost Art of Intarsia

Adam Green - May 16, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, Charles V, craftmanship, Featured Articles, Fra Damiano da Bergamo, intarsia, marquetry, Renaissance, Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Studiolo Gubbio, woodwork

The technique of intarsia — the fitting together of pieces of intricately cut wood to make often complex images — has produced some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of Renaissance craftsmanship. Daniel Elkind explores the history of this masterful art, and how an added dash of colour arose from a most unlikely source: lumber ridden with fungus.

Exquisite Rot: Spalted Wood and the Lost Art of Intarsia

Adam Green - May 16, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, Charles V, craftmanship, Featured Articles, Fra Damiano da Bergamo, intarsia, marquetry, Renaissance, Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Studiolo Gubbio, woodwork

The technique of intarsia — the fitting together of pieces of intricately cut wood to make often complex images — has produced some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of Renaissance craftsmanship. Daniel Elkind explores the history of this masterful art, and how an added dash of colour arose from a most unlikely source: lumber ridden with fungus.

Iconology of a Cardinal: Was Wolsey Really so Large?

Adam Green - May 3, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, cardinal wolsey, Culture & History, eating in tudor times, hans holbein, henry viii, iconography, Painting, power, thomas wolsey, tudor, weight

Characterised as manipulative, power-hungry, and even an alter rex, Henry VIII's right-hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been typically depicted with a body mass to rival his political weight. Katherine Harvey asks whether he was really the glutton of popular legend, and what such an image reveals about the link between the body, reputation, and power in Tudor England.

Fallen Angels: Birds of Paradise in Early Modern Europe

Adam Green - April 4, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, birds, birds of paradise, conrad gesner, conrad gessner, Religion, Myth & Legend, Ulisse Aldrovandi

When birds of paradise first arrived to Europe, as dried specimens with legs removed, they were seen in almost mythical terms — as angelic beings forever airborne, nourished by dew and the "nectar" of sunlight. Natalie Lawrence looks at how European naturalists of the 16th and 17th centuries attempted to make sense of these entirely novel and exotic creatures from the East.

Pens and Needles: Reviving Book-Embroidery in Victorian England

Adam Green - March 21, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, arts and crafts movement, book arts, Books, embroidered book covers, embroidery, may morris, queen elizabeth, victorian, victorian england, william morris

Fashionable in the 16th and 17th century, the art of embroidering unique covers for books saw a comeback in late 19th-century England, from the middle-class drawing room to the Arts and Crafts movement. Jessica Roberson explores the bibliomania, patriotism, and issues around gender so central to the revival.

Pens and Needles: Reviving Book-Embroidery in Victorian England

Adam Green - March 21, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, arts and crafts movement, book arts, Books, embroidered book covers, embroidery, may morris, queen elizabeth, victorian, victorian england, william morris

Fashionable in the 16th and 17th century, the art of embroidering unique covers for books saw a comeback in late 19th-century England, from the middle-class drawing room to the Arts and Crafts movement. Jessica Roberson explores the bibliomania, patriotism, and issues around gender so central to the revival.

Illustrating Carnival: Remembering the Overlooked Artists Behind Early Mardi Gras

Adam Green - February 7, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, carnival, costumes, Culture & History, fancy dress, Fat tuesday, Featured Articles, mardi gras, new orleans, new orleans mardi gras

For more than 150 years the city of New Orleans has been known for the theatricality and extravagance of its Mardi Gras celebrations. Allison C. Meier looks at the wonderfully ornate float and costume designs from Carnival's "Golden Age" and the group of New Orleans artists who created them.

The Dreams of an Inventor in 1420

Adam Green - January 24, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, automatons, engineering, Featured Articles, inventions, inventors, Renaissance, Science & Medicine

Bennett Gilbert peruses a sketchbook of 15th-century engineer Johannes de Fontana, a catalogue of designs for a wide-range of fantastic and often impossible inventions, including fire-breathing automatons, pulley-powered angels, and the earliest surviving drawing of a magic lantern device.