Meet The Artist: Ali Alamedi

ali alamediTurkish artist Ali Alamedi created a miniature copy of the 1900s photo-studio. Every single tiny item is handmade.ali alamedi1To make the diorama the author used plastic, wood, copper and paper. ali alamedi2 The artist scrutinized every original object of the early twentieth century photo studio. The entire project took close to nine months.ali alamedi3Alamedi carefully studied the specifics of the photographers’ work of the time. He admits that to evoke the spirit of the place on such a tiny scale has been by far the most difficult thing in pursuing this project wa. ali alamedi4

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Bosch 500

bosch7 Hieronymus Bosch, who is also called Jeroen Bosch, lived in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (also  known as Den Bosch) from 1450 to 1516.bosch4 In 2016, 500 years after Hieronymus Bosch died, the Art Center will organize a range of special exhibitions and activities. The entire town has become a virtual museum. Bosch is everywhere…

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Interesting that in the painter’s native town no original paintings of the master remains. Not a single item. Thus it looked like an impossible dream that this provincial Dutch city will be able to collect enough items for the anniversary exhibition. However, from February 13 to May 8 of this year, 20 paintings and 19 drawings by Bosch arrived from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland and the USA.

From Paris (Louvre) came Ship of Fools.fools.jpg  Death and the Miser  arrived from Washington.Hieronymus_Bosch_-_Death_and_the_Miser_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Haywain Triptich (The Hay Wagon) left Spain (Prado) for the first time in 500 years.bosch_hieronymus-the_haywain_triptych In spite of fears that the “non-touristic” ‘s-Hertogenbosch will not attract visitors, the exhibition tickets were sold in the first two weeks.

There is a deep symbolism in the fact that after five centuries after Bosch’s death his art came back to the city where it was created. Nearly everything that is known about the life of Hieronymus Bosch is closely linked to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his hometown. Here, around 1450, Jeroen van Aken was born in a family of painters. Here, at the age of thirty, he got married and lived in ‘s-Hertogenbosch all his comfortable, filled with creativity life.

There is a mystery about Hieronymus Bosch: How could a little-traveled provincial painter, who lived away from the major art centers and never made any long journeys, so acutely feel the nerve of his era? Where have he picked up a truly comprehensive knowledge that makes his paintings an encyclopedia of the 15th century life: science, medicine, alchemy, architecture, military, craft, shipbuilding, folklore, music, fashion, flora and fauna? In search of answers, we again return to ‘ city center, although 500 years passed since the master’s death, still remains timelessly unchanged. Bosch, should he’d miraculously reappeared on one of the side streets, would’ve been able to find the way to his father’s house on the market square and its own workshop nearby, without much difficulty. Just as 500 years ago, on market days, the square is overflowing with flowers, cheeses and fish, the water is gurgling in the medieval fountain, and the bells of the cathedral toll by the hour.

One of the major attractions is the Gothic St. John’s Cathedral, one of the finest Gothic churches of the Netherlands. janDuring the life of Bosch the cathedral was nearly completed. 16 exterior arches — double flying buttresses — are decorated with 96 stone sculptures, wonderfully alive, truly “boschian.”  jan3Artisans, musicians, fantastic beasts and birds… Bosch must have seen them, remembered from childhood, flying buttresses of the cathedral with their riders — like the bridge from ‘s-Hertogenbosch to the creativity of her famous native.

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From ‘s-Hertogenbosch Bosch exhibition will travel to Madrid, the Prado Museum. The Prado’s  Bosch exhibit will show off virtually all the paintings and graphics of the master.

Leonardo The Anatomist

leonardo0Leonardo’s anatomical sketchbooks are scientific masterpieces full of lucid insights into the functioning of the human body.

“There were lots of investigative anatomists around at the time, and there were lots of artists who were interested in anatomy. But Leonardo pushed these two things further than anybody else. He was the supreme example of an anatomist who could also draw, or of an artist who was also a very skilled dissector. It was the union of these two skills in a single figure that made Leonardo unique.” (Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings in the Royal Collection.)leonardo6Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) The muscles of the shoulder, torso and leg  c.1504-6. Pen and ink, and red chalk | RCIN 912640leonardo1Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) Recto: The foetus in the womb. Verso: Notes on reproduction, with sketches of a foetus in utero, etc.  c.1511. Recto: Pen and ink over red chalk. Verso: Pen and ink, with some offset red chalk | RCIN 919102Recto: A skull sectioned. Verso: A cranium sectionedLeonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) Recto: The skull sectioned. Verso: The cranium  1489. Pen and ink over black chalk | RCIN 919057

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) The major organs and vessels c.1485-90 Pen and ink with brown and greenish wash, over black chalk | RCIN 912597

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) The major organs and vessels c.1485-90 Pen and ink with brown and greenish wash, over black chalk | RCIN 912597

Leonardo da Vinci actively studied human anatomy and was going to publish these works in a special treatise. There  is an opinion that if Leonardo da Vinci’s uncannily accurate studies of the human body had been published in his lifetime, they would have changed the course of science.

However, for over 400 years after his death, an impressive collection of his anatomical drawings hasn’t been seen by general public.  Recently a great number of them has been digitized by Royal Collection Trust.

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View all of Leonardo’s drawings in the Royal Collection here.

Ice Cream And You

Alan R. Hirsch MD, the head of SMELL & TASTE TREATMENT AND RESEARCH FOUNDATION, LTD in Chicago, Illinois, argues that our choice of ice cream can tell a lot about our personalities.
icecream.PNG Study participants were asked to choose a favorite variety of ice cream, after which they were given a whole battery of psychological tests designed to assess people’s personality. Although this study was sponsored by ice cream manufacturers (Baskin Robbins, Dreyer’s/Edy’s), the methodology of the research is quite sound and unbiased.

Those who chooses vanilla ice cream over all other flavors are idealistic, impulsive, ready to take risks, rely more on intuition than on logic.

Strawberry ice cream tempts most introverts, people who are generally calm, reliable and thoughtful.

Those who love chocolate ice cream also love flirting and seduction, they are fun, charming, though sometimes

Mint ice cream is chosen by people who love to argue. In a dispute, they will definitely find a fly in the ointment. They are ambitious, confident and sure in their righteousness.

Multi-colored popsicles, rather unexpectedly, attract pessimistic people. This flavor’s bright colors and fruity taste is no match for the downbeat attitude of those who choose it as their favorite. “We found that people who prefer rainbow sherbet are more pessimistic than you would think,” says Hirsch, who also found they’re analytic and decisive.

Ice cream with cocoa, biscuits, walnuts and marshmallow is often the choice of aggressive, successful in business people. These people often are very good listeners.

Coffee ice cream is liked by people who approach life with gusto, living big. They are energetic and often fall into histrionics. They live in the present and need constant revival of romantic relationships.

Generous, competent go-getters prefer chocolate chip vanilla ice cream.

Ice cream with walnuts or pecans is a preference of loyal, respectful and honest people. They hold high standards for right and wrong and are afraid of hurting people’s feelings.

Dr Hirsch also says that the preference of a certain type of ice cream might give us an idea about comparability — if people like ice cream of the same flavor, especially the ice cream with complex flavor, such as vanilla ice cream with chocolate ships and strawberries.

Thus tell me what kind of ice cream you like and I’ll tell you who you are. On the other hand, if I like several flavors equally then what am I?

Stairway to Heaven

lestnicaThe sculpture by the Spanish artist Eugenio Merino “Stairway to Heaven” offended just about everyone. Embassy of Israel in Madrid even expressed formal protest.

According to the artist, however, his intention was to convey the idea of tolerance and appeal to the followers of the three religions to respect one another’s beliefs: Rabbi holds the Koran, a Catholic priest read the Torah and the knelt Muslim has the Bible at his side. Muslims, on the other hand, may as well  interpret the sculpture as showing  that Islam is at the base of the institute of religion.

In postscript, the blogger on whose page I found the article (in Russian, here,) suggests to add a levitating Buddhist above. Something like this, perhaps, characteristically for Buddhas, defying gravity:with buddha.jpg

Eugenio Merino is no stranger to a controversy. Among other things, he has been taken to court by the Franco Foundation  for works Merino has made using the image of the late authoritarian ruler. His work Punching Franco is a lifelike head of Franco designed to be used as a punchbag; the Franco Foundation says it is “demeaning”. ( Dictators in fridges: the artist putting Franco and co in cold storage.)

Eugenio Merino

Eleven Thousand Virgins

“Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins" Jean Bourdichon, 1503-1508.

“Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins” Jean Bourdichon, 1503-1508.

According to a legend that appeared in the tenth century, Ursula was the daughter of a Christian king in Britain and was granted a three year postponement of a marriage she did not wish, to a pagan prince. With ten ladies in waiting, each attended by a thousand maidens, she embarked on a voyage across the North sea, sailed up the Rhine to Basle, Switzerland, and then went to Rome. On their way back, they were all massacred by pagan Huns at Cologne in about 451 when Ursula refused to marry their chieftain. (From St. Ursula, Catholic Online.)

The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (1610), is a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio (1571–1610) and thought to be his last picture.

The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (1610), Caravaggio (1571–1610), thought to be the painter’s last picture.

Ursula was said to have been shot by an arrow by the leader of the Huns — yes, that tall, dark and handsome fellow with a bow in the Caravaggio’s painting.

A remarkable emergence of such an incredible number of virgins — 11,000 — isn’t it? Interesting that in early martyrology there is no mention of the most holy Ursula. Only in the tenth century, that is some 650 or 450 years after the supposed date of martyrdom, appears the first two maiden martyrs of Cologne, named Marta and Saula. Martiresses? No, feminine of martyr, is martyre.)  In the litany of the XI century, five virgins are named: Martha, Saula, Paula, Brittola and Ursula. In the litanies that followed, the number of virgins increased to eight, later to eleven and later still, to twelve. Suddenly, the number of virgins increased to a whooping 11,000. Why so many and so suddenly? Whence have they come from?

The most interesting and the likeliest explanation is this: The name of one of the unfortunate maidens was Undetsimilla. This name has been read and understood as undecim milla — eleven thousand  in Latin. Consequently, from then onward, the text was translated and interpreted with the entire eleven thousand virgins. And that’s, mind you, a whole lot of virgins.


Murderous Rabbit


Rarely if ever an article in a scientific publication carries no discernible scientific value, either theoretical or practical. However, in a recent issue of the scientific journal World Neurosurgery, two surgeons,  Tarik F. Massoud, MD, PhD, and Aleksandrs Kalnins, MD, MBA, from Stanford University published a study of a clinical case of an “ordinary” glioblastoma Glioblastoma invoking ‘killer’ rabbits of the Middle Ages. There is nothing new or groundbreaking in this article, authors admit, except for the curious MRI image.glioblastoma.jpg

The shape of the tumor in the MRI image looks remarkably similar to the shape of a bunny. Moreover, it is similar to the rabbit as portrayed in medieval miniatures, where the pesky lagomorph often depicted as a knight killer (remember the Monty Python’s Rabbit of Caerbannog?)

Abstract: We present the unusual brain MRI appearance of a glioblastoma with an uncanny shape of a rabbit. By invoking fearsome ‘killer’ rabbits depicted in Middle Ages art and literature, this image is an eerie reminder of the current lethality of this disease. There is a pressing need for more effective treatments for glioblastoma.

The very short article states that deadly glioblastoma killed a 46-year-old patient after three and a half years since initial diagnosis. Alas, this tumor is almost always fatal.glioblastoma1 The publication is intended to emphasize the deadly disease and to draw attention to the development of new treatments.