Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Painting of a bison on Altamira Cave ceiling in Spain

Public Domain Photo: Altamira Cave, located near Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, 30 km west of the city of Santander in Spain, is famous for its European Upper Paleolithic (also called Late Stone Age, for the period broadly between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago) cave art comprising paintings, drawings and polychrome rock paintings depicting wild animals and human hands. The cave along with its paintings has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent, fresco by Italian artist Pasquale Cati (1550-1620), Altemps chapel, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome

The Council of Trent was the Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church convened in Trent in the Holy Roman Empire (now Italy) between 1545 and 1563 in 25 sessions. The council fathers met in Trent (sessions 1-8, 1545-7) and in Bologna (sessions 9-11, 1547) during the pontificate of Pope Paul III, and in Trent (sessions 12-16, 1551-52) under Pope Julius III, and in Trent (sessions 17-25, 1559-63) under Pope Pius IV.

The council issued important reform decrees, defined Church teachings on the scripture and traditions, sacraments, original sin, justification, the veneration of saints and condemnations on heresies, among many other important matters concerning the Catholic Church.

18th Century Savonnerie Carpets

Savonnerie carpets (Savonnerie tapisserie) were the finest of the knotted-pile carpets produced at the Savonnerie manufactory which was established in a former soap factory near Paris in 1615 by Pierre Dupont. In 1627 Louis XIII granted a patent (privilege) of eighteen years to Dupont and his former apprentice Simon Lourdet to produce these carpets. Under the agreement, until 1768 these carpets were exclusively the property of the French Crown.

These carpets were made of a mixture of wool and a small quantity of silk and had about ninety knots to the square inch. Though the initially produced carpets were imitations of Persian carpets, gradually the Savonnerie style evolved incorporating French designs by renowned artists of the time. The designs of the carpets typically had plants, floral designs and medallions woven against attractive backgrounds of black, deep blue or brown colors and often had multiple borders.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Statue of Athena and Marsyas in Botanic Garden, Copenhagen

Public Doman Photo: Statue of Athena and Marsyas, a recreation of a lost bronze by Athenian sculptor Myron of Eleutherae (480-440 BC) in Botanic Garden, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The theme of the statue is based on the Greek mythological story of Marsyas, who was an expert in playing the Aulos, a double-piped reed musical instrument. According to myths, he found Aulos on the ground where Athena, its inventor had thrown it away.