Category Archives: Art

Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton


William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton

Daily Mail | Apr 25, 2012

Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well might have been co-authored with a fellow playwright, Oxford University academics have found.

Thomas Middleton, writer of The Changeling, was the most likely co-author of the comedy in the First Folio of 1623, according to analysis of the text, spelling, speech prefixes and narrative phrasing.

Professor Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith, both of Oxford University’s English faculty, said writers have their own distinctive literary fingerprints and anomalies within the play show ‘markers’ strongly linked to Middleton.

Dr Smith said: ‘We are not saying that Middleton and Shakespeare definitely worked together on All’s Well but Middleton’s involvement would certainly explain many of the comedy’s stylistic, textual and narrative quirks.

‘The narrative stage directions, especially ‘Parolles and Lafew stay behind, commenting on this wedding’, look as though it is the point at which one author handed over to another.’

Londoner Thomas Middleton lived between 1580 and 1627 and became a celebrated writer, remembered for works such as Women Beware Women.

An analysis of the textual composition of All’s Well supports Middleton’s involvement, with whom Shakespeare also collaborated on Timon Of Athens at the same time, the academics said.

‘The proportion of the play written in rhyme is much higher than usual for Jacobean Shakespeare: 19 per cent of the lines are in rhyme, which fits Middleton’s norm of 20 per cent,’ added Professor Maguire.

‘Shakespeare tends to use ‘Omnes’ as a speech prefix and ‘All’, preferred by Middleton, only occurs twice in the Folio: both times in All’s Well.’

The research suggests act 4, scene 3 was written by Middleton, Professor Maguire said.

‘This scene sees Parolles describing Bertram as ‘ruttish’, a word whose only other occurrence as an adjective is in Middleton’s The Phoenix,’ he said.

‘It also sees an unusual number of Middleton’s known spelling preferences.’

The word ‘ruttish’ means lustful – and its only other use at that time is in a work by Middleton.

More of his ‘modern’ grammar can be found in the text and its phrasing and spelling is closer to Middleton’s style than Shakespeare’s.

It is believed that if Middleton and Shakespeare did collaborate on All’s Well, it could provide an interesting insight into the way Shakespeare worked.

Dr Smith explained: ‘Where we know Shakespeare worked with other playwrights, it tended to be in a master-apprentice relationship, with Shakespeare as the apprentice in the early years and as the senior writer in his later years.

‘But if, as we suspect, All’s Well and Timon Of Athens were written in 1606-7 while Shakespeare was in the middle of his career and working with a dynamic, up-and-coming playwright like Middleton, the relationship seems not unlike an established musician working with the current big thing and is about more than just professional training.’

Research leader Professor Laurie Maguire said many plays of the time were written in partnership, but it was thought Shakespeare always penned pieces by himself.

He was thought to not want to share the glory with contempories due to his inconic status.

Prof Maguire said: ‘The picture that’s emerging is of much more collaboration. We need to think of it more as a film studio with teams of writers.

‘We are confident there is a second hand in the authorship of the play and that hand belongs to Thomas Middleton.’

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Swedish minister of culture’s “racist spectacle” of black female genital mutilation sparks outrage


Minister in ‘racist circumcision outrage’

thelocal.se | Apr 17, 2012

Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in a “racist spectacle” in which she carved up a cake depicting a naked black woman has sparked outrage and prompted calls for the minister’s dismissal.

“In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.

“This was a racist spectacle.”

Sabuni’s comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.

As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the “genital mutilation cake” on his Facebook page.

Swedish town gives ‘Negro Village’ new name

“Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear,” he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

But images of the event, which show a smiling and laughing Adelsohn Liljeroth slicing up the cake, have caused the National Afro-Swedish Association and its members to see red and issue calls for her resignation.

“According to the Moderna Museet, the ‘cake party’ was meant to problematize female circumcision but how that is accomplished through a cake representing a racist caricature of a black woman complete with ‘black face’ is unclear,” Sabuni said in a statement.

According to Sabuni, the mere fact that the minister particiapted in the event, which he argued was also marked by “cannibalistic” overtones, betrays her “incompetence and lack of judgement”.

“Her participation, as she laughs, drinks, and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision,” he said.

“We have no confidence in her any longer.”

Speaking with the TT news agency, Adelsohn Liljeroth was sympathetic to the association’s reaction, but nevertheless defended her actions.

“I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation,” she said.

“I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art’s freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake.”

However, Adelsohn Liljeroth said the National Afro-Swedish Association’s anger should be directed at the artist, not at her, claiming the situation was “misinterpreted”.

“He claims that it challenges a romanticized and exoticized view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism,” she said.

“Art needs to be provocative.”

But the minster’s defence of her actions rang hollow for Sabuni.

“It’s extremely insulting for the minister to claim that we’ve somehow ‘misunderstood’ racism,” he said.

According to Sabuni, the incident is “strange” but “not unexpected” in the Swedish context.

“Sweden thinks of itself as a place where racism is not a problem,” he said.

“That just provides cover for not discussing the issue which leads to incidents like this.”

While a museum is certainly allowed to do what it wants as long as the laws are followed, Sabuni argued that a minister needs to be held to “higher standards”.

“To participate in a racist manifestation masquerading as art is totally over the line and can only be interpreted as the culture minister supporting the Moderna Museet’s racist prank,” he said.

Expert: Painter Caravaggio murdered in cold blood by the Knights of Malta


‘Judith beheading Holofernes’ by Caravaggio Photo: Mimmo Frassineti / Rex Features

His mysterious death at the age of 38 has been blamed variously on malaria, an intestinal infection, lead poisoning from the oil paints he used or a violent brawl.

Telegraph | Apr 2, 2012

By Nick Squires, Rome

Now an intriguing new theory has been put forward for the demise of the rabble-rousing Renaissance artist Caravaggio – that he was killed in cold blood on the orders of the Knights of Malta to avenge an attack on one of their members.

The chivalric order, which was formed during the Crusades, hunted down the painter because he had seriously wounded a knight during a fight, according to Vincenzo Pacelli, an Italian historian and expert on Caravaggio.

The death of Caravaggio, who earned notoriety during his lifetime for his quick temper and hell-raising ways, has long been shrouded in mystery.

Some historians believe that he died of malaria in the Tuscan coastal town of Porto Ercole in 1610 and that he was buried there.

But Prof Pacelli, of the University of Naples, has unearthed documents from the Vatican Secret Archives and from archives in Rome which suggest that the artist was instead murdered by the Knights of Malta, who then threw his body in the sea at Palo, near Civitavecchia north of Rome.

Caravaggio killed by Knights of Malta – expert

If true, it was a violent end that Caravaggio himself foretold in one of his most famous works, David with the Head of Goliath (1610), in which he painted his own face onto the severed head of the slain giant.

The “state-sponsored assassination” was carried out with the secret approval of the Vatican, Prof Pacelli claims in a forthcoming book, Caravaggio – Between Art and Science.

“It was commissioned and organised by the Knights of Malta, with the tacit assent of the Roman Curia” – the governing body of the Holy See – because of the grave offence Caravaggio had caused by attacking a high-ranking knight, he said.

The decision to dump the body at sea explained why there are no funeral or burial records recording Caravaggio’s death.

“Had he died at Porto Ercole, he would have been given a funeral, especially given the fact that his brother was a priest,” Prof Pacelli said. “He would not just have been forgotten.” Caravaggio, whose artistic genius was matched only by a supreme talent for creating enemies, was subjected to a violent attack in Naples in 1609 by unidentified assailants which left him disfigured.

Prof Pacelli believes they were almost certainly assassins sent by the Knights of Malta, an order which was founded in the 11th century to protect Christians in the Holy Land and which subsequently established its headquarters on the Mediterranean island.

The academic found historical documents which suggest that the Vatican, which objected to Caravaggio’s questioning of Catholic doctrine, tried to cover up the truth of Caravaggio’s death.

He discovered mysterious discrepancies in correspondence between Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a powerful Vatican secretary of state, and Deodato Gentile, a papal ‘nuncio’ or ambassador, in which the painter’s place of death was cited as the island of Procida near Naples, “a place that Caravaggio had nothing to do with.”

A document written by Caravaggio’s doctor and first biographer, Giulio Mancini, claimed that the painter had died near Civitavecchia, but the place name was later scrubbed out and replaced by Porto Ercole.

Prof Pacelli has also found an account written 20 years after Caravaggio’s death, in which an Italian archivist, Francesco Bolvito, wrote that the artist had been “assassinated”.

Caravaggio – whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi – lived a turbulent life in which violent altercations forced him to flee from one city to another.

After finding fame in Rome for his distinctive “chiaro-scuro” painting technique – the contrast of shadow and light – he suddenly had to leave the city in 1606 after he was involved in a brawl in which he killed a man.

He eventually wound up in Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta, where he was made a member of the order.

But by 1608 he was in prison, most probably after becoming involved in another fight, in which he wounded a knight.

He was expelled by the Knights on the grounds that he had become “a foul and rotten member” of the order and imprisoned in a castle dungeon.

He was released under mysterious circumstances and fled to first Sicily and then Naples.

He was heading to Rome in the hope of obtaining a papal pardon for the murder he had committed when he died.

Dr John T. Spike, a Caravaggio expert at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, agreed that there was no evidence to prove the theory that Caravaggio died in Tuscany.

But he was sceptical of the idea that the tortured genius was murdered by the Knights of Malta.

“They had ample opportunities to kill him sooner – either when he was in Malta, or during the time he spent in nearby Sicily afterwards.” Dr Spike believes the artist was killed – possibly accidentally – in a fight, and that his body was unceremoniously dumped.

In 2010, after a year-long investigation using DNA analysis and carbon dating, Italian researchers claimed to have found Caravaggio’s bones in a church ossuary in Porto Ercole.

They said they were 85 per cent sure that the remains belonged to the artists, but many historians have disputed those findings.

Italian painter Caravaggio may have been killed on orders of the Knights of Malta


Beheading of St John by Caravaggio graces the Oratory of St John’s Co-Cathedra. Photo: Daniel Cilia

Was Caravaggio killed by the Knights of Malta?

timesofmalta.com | Apr 3, 2012

Caravaggio, the Italian painter whose Beheading of St John graces the Oratory of St John’s Co-Cathedral, may have been killed on orders of the Knights of Malta, according to a researcher quoted by UK media.

The cause of his death in 1610 has always been a mystery, with possible causes having said to be lead poisoning from the oil paints he used, malaria or a brawl.

Professor Vincenzo Pacelli, from the University of Naples, has now claimed that according to secret Vatican documents, Caravaggio, 38, was killed on orders from the Knights of Malta after he seriously injured a knight in an earlier brawl.

The body was then thrown into the sea near Rome and was never given a funeral.

The claims are being disputed by John T. Spike, a Caravaggio expert at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia who said the knights had ample opportunities to kill him sooner – while he was in Malta, or during the time he spent in nearby Sicily afterwards.

Two years ago, Italian researches claimed to have located his remains in a church grave in Porto Ercole in Tuscany.

Pof Pacelli claims that the “state-sponsored assassination” was carried out with the secret approval of the Vatican.

“It was commissioned and organised by the Knights of Malta, with the tacit assent of the Roman Curia” – the governing body of the Holy See – because of the grave offence Caravaggio had caused by attacking a high-ranking knight, he said.

The academic found historical documents which suggest that the Vatican, which objected to Caravaggio’s questioning of Catholic doctrine, tried to cover up the truth of Caravaggio’s death.

He discovered mysterious discrepancies in correspondence between Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a powerful Vatican secretary of state, and Deodato Gentile, a papal ‘nuncio’ or ambassador, in which the painter’s place of death was cited as the island of Procida near Naples, “a place that Caravaggio had nothing to do with.”

A document written by Caravaggio’s doctor and first biographer, Giulio Mancini, claimed that the painter had died near Civitavecchia, but the place name was later scrubbed out and replaced by Porto Ercole.

Prof Pacelli has also found an account written 20 years after Caravaggio’s death, in which an Italian archivist, Francesco Bolvito, wrote that the artist had been “assassinated”.

Caravaggio was known to have many enemies and he suffered a violent attack in Naples in 1609 by unidentified assailants which left him disfigured.

Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio lived a turbulent life which saw him fleeing from one city to another.

After finding fame in Rome for his distinctive “chiaro-scuro” painting technique – the contrast of shadow and light – he suddenly had to leave the city in 1606 after he was involved in a brawl in which he killed a man.

He eventually ended up in Malta where he was made a member of the Knights of Malta.

But by 1608 he was in prison, most probably after becoming involved in another fight, in which he wounded a knight.

He was expelled by the Knights on the grounds that he had become “a foul and rotten member” of the order and imprisoned in a dungeon.

He was released under mysterious circumstances and fled to first Sicily and then Naples.

He was heading to Rome in the hope of obtaining a papal pardon for the murder he had committed when he died.

Google Doodle celebrates the work of Marxist artist Diego Rivera

You know you’ve made it when Google decides to honor you with a Google Doodle.

LA Times | Dec 8, 2011

Of course artist and social activist Diego Rivera made it well before Thursday morning, but the Google Doodle honoring his 125th birthday spreads the word about the Mexican master to millions and millions. Google’s Doodle shows a mural replicating Diego’s distinct aesthetic, capturing his many depictions of industrialism and everyday life in Mexico.

“I’ve never believed in God, but I believe in Picasso,” Rivera once said.

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Dec. 13, 1886. He began drawing at a young age, then later went on to study art in Europe before making his return to Mexico.

As one of the founders of the Mexican Mural Renaissance, Rivera painted fresco cycles for public buildings in Mexico in the 1920s. He was commissioned to paint numerous murals in the United States, including a piece at the American Stock Exchange Luncheon Club and for the California School of Fine Arts. His most controversial mural, the “Man at the Crossroads” at Rockefeller Center, was  commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller. A lifelong Marxist, Rivera depicted symbols of Communism in the mural, with portraits of Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin.

Rivera was known as much for his artwork as he was for his tumultuous love affairs. His most memorable relationship was with surrealist artist Frida Kahlo, whom he married in 1929, divorced, then remarried years later.

“I cannot speak of Diego as my husband because that term, when applied to him, is an absurdity,” said Kahlo of her husband. “He never has been, nor will he ever be, anybody’s husband.”

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently showing five of the eight frescoes Rivera created for an introspective for the museum in 1930. The works will be on display through May 14.

Logan’s Run Carousel-like ritual euthanasia death machine for “dealing with over-population”

“ritual death….”

Euthanasia Coaster

“Euthanasia Coaster is a hypothetical euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely—with elegance and euphoria—take the life of a human being.”

Without the slightest trace of shame….

Carousel Death Ritual From Logan’s Run

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Most ready for ‘green sacrifices’

Turin Shroud ‘the creation of Renaissance artist Giotto’


The shroud is owned by the Vatican but is kept in a special protective chamber in a chapel in Turin Cathedral Photo: AP

The Turin Shroud is neither an authentic cloth in which Christ’s body was wrapped nor a medieval forgery, but the creation of early Renaissance artist Giotto, according to new book by an Italian art historian.

After months of analysis, Luciano Buso claims to have found several 15s and Giotto’s name hidden in the imprint of Christ’s face and hands

Telegraph | Jun 7, 2011

By Nick Squires, Rome

Luciano Buso claims to have found Giotto di Bondone’s signature hidden in the 14ft-long, sepia-coloured burial cloth, as well as the number 15.

The historian believes that the number is a reference to 1315, and that the artist was commissioned in that year to come up with an exact copy of the relic because the original was badly damaged after centuries of being hawked around the Holy Land and Europe.

Mr Buso, who has laid out his controversial thesis in a new book, said the idea that the existing shroud was created in 1315 agrees with modern carbon dating tests which dated the fabric to the early 14th century.

He told The Daily Telegraph that he believes the original was indeed the sheet used to cover Christ’s body but that it disintegrated, or was lost or burned, sometime after the copy was made.

After months of analysis, he claims to have found several 15s and Giotto’s name hidden in the imprint of Christ’s face and hands – a means by which the artist stamped his mark on his work.

They had not been detected by any of the dozens of experts who have pored over the shroud because they were created by cryptic patterns of brushstrokes and are almost invisible to the naked eye, he said.

It was natural that Giotto was chosen for the task by the Church because he was “one of the best known and most able painters of the medieval age”, said Mr Buso, an art restorer from Treviso near Venice.

His controversial theory will revive the centuries-old debate over the authenticity of the relic, which appears to show the imprint of a man with long hair and a beard whose body bears wounds consistent with crucifixion.

It was first brought to Europe after the crusades and according to one theory was guarded by the Knights Templar during the 13th and 14th centuries. It was then said to have passed in 1453 to the Savoy family of France.

In the 1980s radiocarbon dating tests suggested that it was a medieval forgery, although those results were later disputed.

The shroud is owned by the Vatican but is kept in a special protective chamber in a chapel in Turin Cathedral.

However, Prof Bruno Barberis, the director of the Shroud of Turin Museum, was highly sceptical of the theory.

“Firstly, physical and chemical tests have shown that the shroud is not a painting.

“Secondly, there’s a long list of scholars who have enlarged images of the shroud and seen all sorts of things that don’t exist – a crown of thorns, words in Aramaic and Greek and Latin. “It’s like looking at the moon and thinking you can see eyes, a nose and a mouth.”