121 – A golden girl goes missing

Duccio, The Virgin and Child with Saint Dominic and Saint Aurea, and Patriarchs and Prophets, about 1312-15 (?). National Gallery, London. First thing’s first – I’m giving my own talks! Rather than sheltering under the umbrella of another institution or organisation I’m doing my own thing. More of that after Duccio, but if you can’tContinue reading “121 – A golden girl goes missing”

120 – The Colour of Virtue

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Maestà, c. 1335. Museo di Arte Sacra, Massa Marittima. I’m giving a talk for ARTscapades on Wednesday afternoon (at 2pm) entitled Good and Bad Government, which would be fine, apart from the fact that it has a subtitle The Lorenzetti Brothers in Siena. What was I thinking? I will have plenty of timeContinue reading “120 – The Colour of Virtue”

119 – Beyond Christmas (a coda)

The Adoration of the Kings from The Benedictional of St Æthelwold, f. 24v, 963-984. British Museum, London. Last week, when I was talking about a 6th Century mosaic showing the procession of the Magi (118 – Epiphany in Ravenna) I said that it was only several centuries later that the Magi began to be seenContinue reading “119 – Beyond Christmas (a coda)”

118 – Epiphany in Ravenna

The Adoration of the Magi, c. 504/560 and later. Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. It’s Epiphany – a moment of sudden and great revelation – and today celebrates the moment at which the wise men recognised Jesus as the Boy Born to be King, their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh usually interpreted as gifts suitable forContinue reading “118 – Epiphany in Ravenna”

117 – St Thomas Becket

St Thomas Becket, c. 1178-89. Monreale Cathedral, Sicily. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered on 29 December 1170 – eight hundred and fifty years ago. I wanted to mark the occasion. I’m not going to talk much about him, or about his relationship with King Henry II, the man who has always been blamedContinue reading “117 – St Thomas Becket”

An Advent Calendar – 24

‘Myrrh’ – Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume Brings a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, Bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Once more John Henry Hopkins Jr. proves his knowledge of Origen. To complete the quotation that has built up over the last two days, ‘gold, as to a king; myrrh, as toContinue reading “An Advent Calendar – 24”

An Advent Calendar – 3

Ruins Rest assured, ruins are not mentioned in any biblical account of Christmas – but nevertheless, they are a common feature in paintings. I’ve written about them recently, as it happens, long after Christmas, when Jesus, Mary and Joseph had already returned from their flight into Egypt, and were settling down to what could haveContinue reading “An Advent Calendar – 3”

113 – Artemisia, and Mary.

Hello! It’s been a while… over a month, bizarrely enough, although I can’t tell whether time is going quickly or slowly. The time has been filled with numerous adventures, I’m glad to say, including two trips to Venice, one working, one holiday, and both a joy! I’ve also managed to take in a number ofContinue reading “113 – Artemisia, and Mary.”