Martin Gayford 17 November 2018 9:00 AM 17 November 2018 9:00 AM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp Lorenzo Lotto: PortraitsNational Gallery, until 10 February 2019 You can, perhaps, glimpse Lorenzo Lotto himself in the National Gallery’s marvellous exhibition, Lorenzo Lotto: Portraits. At the base of an altarpiece from 1541 a gaggle of paupers stretch their arms up in hopes of receiving the charity being handed out by Dominican friars above. One of these, a bearded, red-robed man, is supposed to be a self-portrait. If that is the case, it was a characteristic place to put himself. Lotto (1480/1–1556/7) was an intensely pious man and, in later life, poverty-stricken. But the most unusual point about this picture is that for the rest of the crowd of indigents he made studies from life of genuine poor people (and noted the modelling fee he paid them in his book of accounts). Few other Italian Renaissance artists would have striven so … [Read more...] about Lorenzo Lotto’s 16th century portraits come startlingly close to photography
21st century scholar
16th century: Third Rome "Moscow – Third Rome" icon, 2011. Public domain In the mid 15th century the Byzantine Empire fell, but just before that happened Sofya Paleolog, the daughter of the last emperor, went to Moscow to marry Grand Prince Ivan. Several decades later, scholar and monk Philotheus of Pskov (1465–1542) came up with the concept of Moscow as the “Third Rome.” The first one was Rome itself; the second – Constantinople; and the third – Moscow, which was now the last remaining stronghold of Orthodox Christianity. Moscow inherited Byzantium’s coat of arms, the two-headed eagle, which was the symbol of preservation of the “true” faith. The concept was rooted in eschatological ideas, depicting Moscow as the “last Orthodox Tsardom,” ruled by a pious and wise monarch, who was also the head of the Orthodox Church. This ideology worked well for the institution of Tsarism that was established by Ivan … [Read more...] about How have Russian ideological values changed through the centuries?
The Russian president is making an example of Oleg Sentsov. Last week, the hunger strike by the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov in a Russian prison crossed the 100-day mark. That exceeds the 66-day protest that caused the death of Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands in 1981, and is close to the length of the 1986 fast by Soviet dissident Anatoly Marchenko, who stopped at 117 days, but died 10 days later. Sentsov’s decision to refuse food until Russia frees all of its Ukrainian political prisoners (various lists contain between 64 and 71 names) has drawn attention. World leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as the U.S. State Department and members of Congress, media and public intellectuals have called for his release. He was sentenced to 20 years in a prison camp on shaky charges of setting fire to the Crimea headquarters of Russia’s ruling United Russia party (no one was injured in the … [Read more...] about Putin Won’t Be Swayed by Hunger Strikes (Op-ed)
Sputnik: Trump and the mainstream media have been “at war” ever since the beginning of his presidential campaign and there was virtually not a single day when Trump was not in headlines. Who is fighting whom essentially? Who cast the first stone, so to speak? Peter Kuznick: Trump has some seriously demagogic tendencies and does not seem to have much respect for the US constitution or for freedom of the press. We’ve seen it during most presidencies; most presidents view the press in antagonistic terms, most have some strong criticism of the press; but we’ve never seen any president openly demonize and vilify the press the way that Trump has done. © REUTERS/ Chris Wattie‘You Don’t Say’: Melania Trump Warns Social Media Can be ‘Destructive, Harmful’ as 45 Rages on TwitterBut I think there is a real danger here. When we’ve seen freedom of the press eroded … [Read more...] about ‘You Never Get Any Context From US Media – It’s the Tyranny of Now’ – Scholar
In the post-truth internet age conspiracy theories seem to be blossoming. Here are some of the most intriguing and bizzare: Paul McCartney is dead One of the most unusual pop-culture conspiracy theories concerns a member of the Fab Four. Beatles legend has it that Paul McCartney secretly died in 1966, at the height of the band's fame, and that the other three members covered it up by hiring someone who looked and sang like him. Beatlemaniacs point to numerous clues in the band's later albums as proof of this. The Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album is, they claim, awash with "Paul is dead" clues such as the lyrics to A Day in the Life, which featured the line "He blew his mind out in a car" and the recorded phrase "Paul is dead, miss him, miss him," which becomes evident only when the song is played backward. Lennon also mumbled, "I buried Paul" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever" although he later denied there was any hidden meaning in the lyrics and what he was … [Read more...] about Conspiracy theories: Paul McCartney is dead, Elvis is alive, Stonehenge was built by aliens and 12 more