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Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck

Adam Green - November 22, 2017 in archaeology, Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, Jean-Frédéric de Waldeck, Mayan history, Mayanism, mayans, mexico, Neoclassicism, Palenque

Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite the exquisite brilliance of their execution — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture. Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century's most mysterious and eccentric figures.

Brief Encounters with Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck

Adam Green - November 22, 2017 in archaeology, Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, Jean-Frédéric de Waldeck, Mayan history, Mayanism, mayans, mexico, Neoclassicism, Palenque

Not a lot concerning the artist, erotic publisher, explorer, and general enigma Count de Waldeck can be taken at face value, and this certainly includes his fanciful representations of ancient Mesoamerican culture which — despite the exquisite brilliance of their execution — run wild with anatopistic lions, elephants, and suspicious architecture. Rhys Griffiths looks at the life and work of one of the 19th century's most mysterious and eccentric figures.

Flash Mob: Revolution, Lightning, and the People’s Will

Adam Green - November 9, 2017 in allegory, Art & Illustrations, benjamin franklin, Culture & History, Featured Articles, french revolution, Jean-Paul Marat, Joseph Priestley, lightning, Maximilien Robespierre, power, revolution, Science, symbolism, thunderbolt

Kevin Duong explores how leading French revolutionaries, in need of an image to represent the all important “will of the people”, turned to the thunderbolt — a natural symbol of power and illumination that also signalled the scientific ideals so key to their project.

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart. The Lydian Monarch had been sighted from Fire Island and was expected in Jersey […]

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Out From Behind This Mask

Adam Green - July 27, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, death, death masks, Featured Articles, laurence hutton, laurence hutton collection, masks, memorial, Philosophy, plaster, punctum, roland barthes, walt whitman

A Barthesian bristle and the curious power of Walt Whitman’s posthumous eyelids — D. Graham Burnett on meditations conjured by a visit to the death masks of the Laurence Hutton Collection.

The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Adam Green - June 28, 2017 in american indians, colonialisation, colonialism, Culture & History, david ingram, exploration, first person to cross america, john dee, john hawkins, native americans, privateers, Richard Hakluyt

If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Newfoundland in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks undertaken in recorded history. Although the account's more fantastical elements, such as the sighting of elephants, have spurred many to consign it to the fiction department, John Toohey argues for a second look.

Decoding the Morse: The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Adam Green - June 14, 2017 in carta marina, conrad gessner, Culture & History, Featured Articles, morse, olaus magnus, Religion, Myth & Legend, walrus

Amongst the assorted curiosities described in Olaus Magnus' 1555 tome on Nordic life was the morse — a hirsuite, fearsome, walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth. Natalie Lawrence explores the career of this chimerical wonder, shaped both by scholarly images of a fabulous north and the grisly corporeality of the trade in walrus skins, teeth, and bone.

Woodcuts and Witches

Adam Green - May 4, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, christianity, crone, Culture & History, demonology, demons, devils, Featured Articles, king james, occult, persecution, printing, printing revolution, Religion, Myth & Legend, sorcery, witchcraft, witches, wizards

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding crone — complete with cauldron and cats — so familiar today.