May 8, 2005 |
In 1519, amid the more conventional blood-stained booty he was looting from the Aztecs, Hernan Cortes shipped a new dyestuff to Spain. According to Amy Butler Greenfield's delightful, rollicking history of cochineal, it produced "the brightest, strongest red the old world had ever seen." The conquistadors called it "grana cochinilla": the pulverized bodies of a female cactus-eating insect, Dactylopius coccus, native to tropical and subtropical America.
January 25, 2009 |
Peter Ackroyd is never less than instructive and, much of the time, incisive. This is a man of letters from, as it were, A to Z. Ackroyd is the accomplished author of more than a dozen novels, two books of poetry and a half-dozen volumes of criticism and nonfiction -- including "London: The Biography" and "Thames: The Biography."
May 30, 2003 |
The Regency was a turbulent time in Britain, when King George III was officially declared mad, his rascal of a son -- the prince of Wales -- held the throne and the country was at war with France. But the Regency and the decades surrounding it also produced a flowering of the arts and breakthroughs in science and politics. The country enjoyed Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge; major painters John Constable, J.M.W.
August 28, 1988 |
Like Snoopy and the Red Baron, art patrons soared above Santa Monica in vintage airplanes last weekend to help raise money to place public art in the city's airport. "I want one, I want one, I want one," said a euphoric flyer-patron who yearned for a plane like the one he'd just flown in.
March 10, 1992 |
There is something especially apt about showing prints to illuminate the spirit of the 19th Century. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has done just that in "From Goya to Lautrec: 19th-Century European Prints From the Collection," a selection of about 120 European works selected from the permanent collection by curator of prints and drawings, Bruce Davis. The last century feels very close to us. Its social turmoil, urbanization and Industrial Revolution cradled our society.
December 10, 2004 |
A Life of Discovery Michael Faraday, Giant of the Scientific Revolution James Hamilton Random House: 496 pp., $35 * Michael Faraday (1791-1867) stands out as an anomaly in the world of British science in the 19th century. Most of the scientists of the day were what the British called gentlemen; Faraday was the son of a poor blacksmith who died young. Most were of the established Anglican church; Faraday was of the Sandemanians, a small, severe Protestant sect steeped in the Bible.
August 9, 1986 |
"There are only two species of photographer, I believe, more strenuous than the aerial one, viz., the Hollywood, and the one that goes into African jungles . . .," wrote Capt. Alfred G. Buckham, formerly of the Royal Air Force, in 1929. The primacy he gives to his own specialty appears fully justified by the anecdotes accompanying the 18 images he made that are on exhibit on the mezzanine of The Gallery Store (724 Broadway).