Is This A Medieval UFO Sighting?
Tim O'Neill writes more about this topic on Slate.
- Nicolas of Cusa
Uncovering A 500-Year-Old Song Hidden In A Painting of Hell
Critics think the left panel depicts the creation of the world, the garden of Eden and the innocence before the fall.
The right panel shows the fall of man and the torments of hell, a grim and grotesque scene where the colour and natural beauty of the previous panels are replaced by a dark and disturbing narrative of torture, grief and horror. One of the scenes includes a group of musicians. They have been tortured and injured by their instruments, and one person has had a musical score transcribed on their buttocks. In 2014, Amelia Hamrick decided to transcribe the score. Click here to listen to an interpretation of that melody by James Spalink, using a lute, harp and hurdy-gurdy, the instruments featured in the painting.
Is Caravaggio Hiding Inside A (Previously) Hidden Caravaggio?
He painted this when he was a young man as a commission for Cardinal Del Monte, who gifted it to Ferdinando I de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Caravaggio didn't idealise his divine subjects and painted them as ordinary people. Some aspects of this character are distinctly mortal, such as flushed cheeks and dirty fingernails. Some critics think Caravaggio was trying to depict both Bacchus himself and a young man dressed up as Bacchus. This model could be his pupil and possibly his lover Mario Minniti, who modelled for him in several paintings. Or it could be a self-portrait reflected in a mirror.
Bacchus has a bowl of fruit close to hand; at first glance, we see beautiful green leaves and juicy grapes, but a closer inspection reveals a burst pomegranate surrounded by pieces of rotting fruit. This subject is a vanitas (check our article about vanitas paintings), which reminds the viewer that youth and earthly pleasures are fleeting.
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