London Roman age archaeological discoveries


This video from England is called The Roman gallery at the Museum of London.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Experts praise big City dig

An archaeological dig in the City of London that has unearthed thousands of Roman artefacts was hailed as “the most important excavation ever held in London” today.

Just yards from the Thames, in what is now the capital’s financial district, Museum of London archaeologists have found coins, pottery, shoes, lucky charms and an amber gladiator amulet which date back almost 2,000 years.

Experts excavating the site, which lies alongside a huge building project for new offices on Queen Victoria Street, have also uncovered wooden structures from about 40 AD around 40ft (12m) beneath the ground.

Sexism in British media


British historian Mary Beard, Photo: BBC/LION TELEVISION

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Things get ugly for journo after beauty comments

Wednesday 02 May 2012

Self-proclaimed “beauty” Samantha Brick sparked outrage today after claiming that some women were “too ugly for TV,” writes Louise Nousratpour.

Journalist Ms Brick, who was recently ridiculed for claiming “women hate me for being beautiful,” defended sexist remarks by TV critic AA Gill that BBC2 Meet The Romans presenter Mary Beard was too unattractive for television.

“While Ms Beard is a supremely intelligent woman…the plain truth is that Ms Beard is too ugly for TV,” she wrote in an article for the Daily Mail.

Do Ms Brick or her co-thinkers ever ask whether men on TV, intelligent or not so intelligent, are good-looking or not?

Ms Brick then argued that “savvy” presenters would realise their looks is key to success and consider undergoing complete makeovers, including cosmetic surgery.

But NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet slammed Ms Brick’s inflammatory comments.

She said: “Women working in the media continue to face double standards, yet we know the public want to see, hear and read contributions from a diverse range of presenters, journalists and actors, not just – thankfully – the beautiful.”

Historian Mary Beard, who has been branded “too ugly for TV” by self-proclaimed “beautiful journalist” Samantha Brick, has said she will not lose any sleep over a “silly fuss”: here.

What We Look Like: A Comic About Women in Media. Anne Elizabeth Moore and Robyn Chapman, Truthout in the USA: “‘What We Look Like,’ with Anne Elizabeth Moore and Robyn Chapman, is a follow-up to Ladydrawers’ look at women’s participation in the labor force. This time, we look at why the diminished economic status of women isn’t popularly considered, even beyond media’s gendered hiring practices. The representations of women that do result are a far cry from the reality – compare for yourself!” Here.

Think sexist advertising isn’t a big deal? Think again: here.

Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in the Video Game Industry; here.

Ovid’s poetry influenced visual arts


Titian, Diana and Actaeon

From daily The Guardian in England:

The transformative effect of Ovid’s Metamorphoses on European art

As a summer National Gallery exhibition will show, Titian was the greatest visualiser of Ovid – but he had some major competition

The National Gallery once put on an exhibition about the influence of the New Testament on western art. Seeing Salvation argued that if you don’t know the biblical story of Christ, you can’t comprehend such paintings as Titian’s Noli Me Tangere. But this summer the same gallery showcases another, very different book that has also exerted a vast influence on European art – Ovid‘s Metamorphoses.

Written in Latin in the reign of the ancient Roman emperor Augustus, who exiled Ovid for naughtiness, this epic poem retells the myths of ancient Greece for a sophisticated Roman audience. Ovid’s audience worshipped these same gods, giving the Greek pantheon Latin names (Zeus became Jupiter or Jove, Aphrodite became Venus, and so on) but found the antics of their deities by turns salacious, shocking, hilarious and tragic.

Ovid tells stories in verse about the crazed love life of Jupiter, driven by his lusts for various nymphs to take the forms of a bull, or a cloud, or a shower of gold in order to trick or seduce them. He tells of the courage of Perseus, who killed Medusa, and the folly of Phaethon, who tried to drive the sun’s chariot. He was the favourite source of classical myth for artists in the 16th and 17th centuries, and reading his book is like flicking through a series of descriptions of famous paintings, so copiously has he been illustrated.

The National Gallery is putting on its show Metamorphosis to celebrate the two great Titians it has purchased in partnership with the National Gallery of Scotland. Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon both depict scenes from Ovid. But if Titian was the greatest visualiser of Ovid he had a lot of competition. Such marvels of art as Correggio’s Jupiter and Io, Michelangelo’s Fall of Phaethon, and Carravaggio’s Medusa all draw heat from Ovid’s imaginative fire.

The exhibition Metamorphosis, an Olympic special tied in with new opera productions, involves works by contemporary British artists – including Chris Ofili and Mark Wallinger – that respond to Ovid’s myths. The gallery is also publishing newly commissioned poems after Ovid by writers who include Seamus Heaney.

Amazon statue of Herculaneum


This video is called Ancient Secrets of Herculaneum.

From LiveScience:

Ancient Amazon Warrior Statue Resurrected

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 13 January 2009

Laser-scanning and computer graphics are breathing virtual life into a 2,000 year-old statue of an Amazon warrior.

The Roman statue was discovered by the Herculaneum Conservation Project in the ancient ruins of Herculaneum, a town preserved in the same eruption that buried nearby Pompeii in AD 79.

Scientists think the statue represents a wounded Amazon warrior, complete with painted hair and eyes preserved by the ash that buried the town.

“The statue is an incredible find,” said study researcher Mark Williams of the University of Warwick‘s WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group). “Although its age alone makes it valuable, it is unique because it has retained the original painted surface, preserved under the volcanic material that buried Herculaneum.”

Pompeii a symbol of Italy’s sloppiness: here.

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum: Roman domestic lives frozen in time by disaster: here.

Plaster copies of Greek and Roman sculpture


This is a BBC video from Britain, about ancient Greek sculpture.

The antiquities museum says about one of its present non permanent exhibitions, Models of beauty. Masterpieces in plaster:

13 June through 16 November 2008

This exhibition shows beautiful 17th, 18th and 19th century plaster casts of the finest sculptures of Antiquity. The timeless beauty of classical sculpture is the focal point of this exhibition. Further attention is paid to the role played by plaster casts in science, art criticism and art education in the past four hundred years.

Today Dr Ruurd Halbertsma of the museum showed us around this exhibition.

He started with talking about Rome, as in that city, in the sixteenth century, were the origins of copying sculptures from antiquity. When, early in that century, visitors came to Rome, they might know from writings that during antiquity, there had been many sculptures in public places. However, when they visited the city, they saw only a few sculptures said to have survived from the Roman empire or earlier: the she-wolf of Capitol hill; the Marcus Aurelius statue; Trajan’s Column.

When, while building churches or other buildings in medieval Rome, sculptures or parts of them from antiquity had been found, they had been recycled as building material. After 1500, however, people found out that discoveries like these might add to knowledge about antique art. In this way, new sculptures which became famous, were found, like the Laocoön group and the Apollo of the Belvedere. They attracted many artists and other visitors from many European countries to Rome.

The popes and other élite people from the papal state sometimes, as a favour, started giving plaster copies of antique sculptures to princes in other countries. One example was Trajan’s column, a copy of which was given to King Louis XIV of France. In 1824, these plaster copies were found in a windmill in Leiden. the Netherlands. It is not known how they had ended up there. As, since the seventeenth century, in the open air of Rome, the original Trajan’s column has suffered much from pollution, these plaster copies are today valuable, as they show details which are no longer clear in the original.

In the exhibition are also cork models of ancient Roman buildings, which used to be sold to tourists. And reproductions of idealized paintings of ancient Roman remains, by the neo-classicist Giovanni Paolo Panini (1692 – 1765).

During the eighteenth century, drawing academies, based on neo-classicist views, arose in many countries. First, the students had to learn to draw skeletons and muscles for human anatomy. Then, they had to make drawings of Greek and Roman sculptures, considered as models of perfect human bodies. Only after that did they draw nude human models, with bodies not as perfect as antique sculptures.

Among the plaster copies often found in drawing academies were the Venus of Arles. And the “Borghese gladiator” which does not really depicts a gladiator, as gladiators did not fight while naked. The nude statue probably depicts a hero.

The Venus of Arles was considered the ideal female form, until 1820, when the Venus de Milo was discovered in Greece.

One of the drawings, depicting a statue of the Greek god Apollo, at the exhibition, is by nineteenth century drawing academy student, later famous painter, George Hendrik Breitner.

When female students had to draw plaster copies of statues, fig leaves were attached to prevent the women from seeing male genitalia.

Certainly since the 1960s in the Netherlands, neo-classicist ideas in art education became weaker. For the plaster copies, that often meant they were hidden away or even destroyed.

In the sixteenth century, mainly Roman sculpture and Roman copies of Greek sculpture had become known in western Europe. In the early nineteenth century, for the first time, classical Greek sculpture became widely known. Eg, after the Parthenon marbles arrived in London. People had difficulty in getting used to them. The poet John Keats was one of not very many people admiring the Marbles right from the start. While fellow poet Lord Byron attacked Lord Elgin for taking the sculpture from Athens. More about Byron: here.

When sculpture from the Aegina temple, still older than the Parthenon, became first known in Germany, famous author Goethe did not like it, as it did not conform to his preconceived ideas of what Greek art should be.

Bronze Horse Head Hints at Roman Ambitions in Germany: here.

MSU art professor’s theory about ancient decorating choices casts new light on Roman paintings: here.