Category Archives: Art and war

More on Syria’s archaeological ruins

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Above: A walnut tree stripped of its branches stands in the rubble of the Kalat al-Numan citadel, originally built during the Roman era some 2,000 years ago. (John Cantlie/AFP/Getty Images)

“Syria’s ancient sites were already damaged by war. Now they’re being looted.” The Washington Post, 12/21/14.

And a link from the above article to satellite images of Syria’s World Heritage sites:

“War has damaged all but one of Syria’s World Heritage Sites, satellite images show.” The Washington Post, 9/24/14.

And a link to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list.


What inspired Bernini?

For one thing…Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.57.56 AMthis amazing work from the 1st or 2nd c. CE, a copy after a Greek original. Called The Dying Gaul, the sculpture was discovered in Rome in the early 17th c. It was first mentioned in writing in 1623…around the time Bernini was working for Cardinal Scipio Borghese.

This is the kind of work that also inspired Donatello and Michelangelo, although they never saw this particular sculpture. But Rodin knew it, as well as every other great sculptor in the Western tradition.

It’s on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. until March 16, 2014.

Here’s the press release from the NGA, and an article about the work from today’s Washington Post with additional views.

The landscape of the Thirty Years’ War

The Battle of Lützen occurred November 16, 1632…one of many battles of the Thirty Years’ War.  This is a remarkable story about discovering the mass graves of the 6,000 to 9,000 soldiers who died that day.

When we think about images from the 1630s, we often think about the landscape paintings of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, such as Claude’s Mill on a River from 1631 (MFA, Boston).  Such images present us with an idealized viewAMICO_BOSTON_103836539

of the European landscape.  Reading about the discovery of this mass grave…and seeing the photos in the gallery…we realize thatADALLASIG_10313600515

Jacques Callot’s The Battle, from his Large Miseries of War series of 1633, has a quality of documentation to it.