I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.
Unlike his father, George Vanderbilt wasn't a huge art collector. He collected prints, but beyond that, he generally preferred to spend his money on his home and lands rather than paintings and sculptures. However, he still managed to acquire quite a few notable works of art that are now on display at Biltmore. Here are some of my favorites.
Want to enjoy great architecture from your couch? I recently discovered a host of virtual tours of famous works of architecture. How cool is that? While you can never truly experience a place from a computer screen, it's nice to have the option when travelling to the site in person isn't in your schedule (or budget). All of the tours listed are 360° experiences, not just pictures.
These gargoyles may not be on a building, but they are certainly serving their proper purpose. Located on the base of the Fountain of the Fallen Angel (Fuente del Ángel Caído) in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park, these eight devil figures spit water out of their mouths and the mouths of their reptilian pets. The statue, designed… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Buen Retiro Park, Madrid
This little winged fellow looks like he's absolutely thrilled with his view from the roofline of the Casa de las Conchas in Salamanca, Spain. This late-fifteenth and early sixteenth-century building is named for its numerous shell-shaped decorations (concha is the Spanish word for shell) - symbols of the Spanish chivalric Order of Santiago de Compostela. The… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Casa de las Conchas, Salamanca, Spain
I always get excited when I find a great new (or at least new-to-me) website about medieval manuscripts, and today, I just discovered litteravisigothica.com, which is dedicated to the study of Visigothic script. Visigothic script a form of writing used in Hispania, specifically the Iberian Peninsula area, roughly between the 8th and 12th centuries A.D. (source). It is… Continue reading Visigothic Script – Day Twenty-Two of Medieval Manuscripts
The Sagrada Família (Holy Family) is a Spanish church designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) in the late nineteenth century. It is famous for the sheer exuberance of its design and the abundance of its architectural details. Gaudí's design was so elaborate, in fact, that the church is still incomplete today. I had never really thought… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
Link to an article I wrote for HeadStuff.org about prehistoric European cave paintings. These paintings, which date back millennia, are the oldest known paintings in world history. They give us our best clues about the origins and art and why humans first felt compelled to create it.