Month: May 2017

They say that fashion trends have a way of resurfacing, but here’s hoping that these trends have seen their best days and are not on their way back around.   Lace Collars The lace collar, or ruff , was fashionable in Western Europe from the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries, lingering in Holland into the 18th century. Originally, it was a practical piece of cloth…

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Do you believe your personality is mapped out in the stars? Read below to check if your zodiac sign rings true and see which artist shares your temperament. First, some background info… Over the course of history every civilization from the Egyptians to the staunchly-Catholic Middle Ages considered astrology to be a legitimate scientific pursuit. Western astrology is believed to have been founded by Ptolemy,…

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Looking back at the ‘Memento Mori’ painting tradition, Vanitas is a macabre genre of symbolic still-life that prospered in the Netherlands in the early 17th century reminding the viewer of their mortality.  The word ‘vanitas’ is Latin for vanity, or ’emptiness’, and signifies the meaningless of earthly life. The purpose of Vanitas’ paintings was to caution the viewer to be careful about placing too much importance in…

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Passion, Pain, Pleasure: Il Palio

Posted by Published on May 30, 2017

Every July 2 and August 16 an event takes place in the Tuscan city of Siena that is not for the fainthearted. Held in honour of the Madonna, Il Palio is a bareback horse race that in its colour and excitement continues to illustrate its medieval origins.   A Festa in the Campo del Campo, Siena, 1597 (oil on canvas), Rustici, Vincenzo (1556-1632) / Private Collection…

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Once upon a time, I stopped watching Disney and started reading the original fairy tales, and my life went downhill from there. Find out ten important life lessons I’ve carried into adulthood from these stories.   A few things can be learned from a childhood spent devouring Greek myths, Arabian legends and the classic tales of Grimm, Perrault and Andersen. Life is difficult and challenging;…

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Key Figures of World War I

Posted by Published on May 25, 2017

Many different nations were involved in the Great War. It is therefore not surprising that royals and political personalities played significant roles during the conflict. How it all began: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Franz Ferdinand was the nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph and heir to the throne of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. The assassination of the Archduke and his wife, Sophie Gräfin Chotek, in Sarajevo…

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Upbeat and High Tempo: The Jazz Age

Posted by Published on May 25, 2017

The Jazz Age was a post-WWI movement in the 1920s from which jazz music, dance and a new joie de vivre emerged. Often referred to in conjunction with the Roaring Twenties, this golden decade opened doors for equality, sexuality and liberation until it ended with the onset of the Great Depression in 1929.   Dancing pair with woman in orange from Le Tumulte Noir (detail), pub….

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We all know French cuisine is the best

Posted by Published on May 24, 2017

I come from Lyon, the French capital of former France (Gaulles), of the French Resistance, of silk, of the printing industry and of cinema…well, it was pretty much the capital of everything until Paris came along. But above all it was and still is the capital of French gastronomy, so I am bound to write about French cuisine. Cookery and food are a great part…

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What the Dickens?

Posted by Published on May 24, 2017

Illustrator Joseph Clayton Clarke ‘Kyd’ brings many of Charles Dickens’ iconic characters to life  Mr. Micawber ‘David Copperfield’ is the eighth serialised novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1850. Many elements within the novel follow events in Dickens’ own life, and it is probably the most autobiographical of all of his novels. The debt-ridden Micawber acts as a feckless yet charming mentor to the young David Copperfield,…

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