Ancient Jewish scroll now legible


This video says about itself:

How to open an ancient scroll without touching it | Science News

21 September 2016

Researchers describe the digital steps it took to unwrap a charred, roughly 1,700-year-old scroll and read its ancient Biblical text.

Credit: Seth Parker, Univ. of Kentucky.

From Science News:

Digital rehab exposes Biblical roots of ancient Israeli scroll

Virtual unwrapping reveals Hebrew text inside fragile artifact

by Bruce Bower

2:00pm, September 21, 2016

Researchers have digitally unwrapped and read an ancient Hebrew scroll that’s so charred it can’t be touched without falling apart. It turns out the document contains the oldest known Biblical text outside of the roughly 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, the investigators say.

Archaeologists discovered the scroll’s remnants in a synagogue’s holy ark during a 1970 excavation in Israel of En-Gedi, a Jewish community destroyed by fire around 600.

In a series of digital steps, slices from a 3-D scan of the En-Gedi scroll were analyzed to bring letters and words into relief on a pieced-together, virtual page. Those images revealed passages from the book of Leviticus written in ink on the scroll’s disintegrating sheets. Radiocarbon results date the scroll to approximately 300, making it the earliest copy of an Old Testament book ever found in a holy ark, scientists report September 21 in Science Advances.

This computerized recovery and conservation process can now be used to retrieve other ancient documents “from the brink of oblivion,” the researchers say.

Colours in painting, video


This is a September 2016 video in Dutch, with English subtitles.

In it, Dutch artist Monica Rotgans discusses paint and other material used by visual artists.

According to Ms Rotgans, the colours in many old paintings have deteriorated through the ages, as, eg, paint decayed.

Eg, the painting The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh now looks grimy and dark; while, just after Van Gogh had painted it, there was much more light in it.

The cause, Ms Rotgans says, is Van Gogh’s use of Prussian blue paint, which makes paintings darker as it decays eventually.

New Hercules Segers paintings discovered


This video shows the painting by Hercules Segers: View of Rhenen.

Music: Bach: Pastorale BWV 590.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Rijksmuseum discovers six new paintings by Hercules Segers

Today, 00:48

A team of specialists from the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has discovered during the preparation of an exhibition on Hercules Segers six new paintings by the seventeenth-century artist. Segers’ work is very rare. Until this discovery art historians ascribed ten to twelve paintings to the painter and graphic artist. The total number of known works by Segers is now sixteen paintings and two oil sketches. …

Segers had his own technique for etching and printmaking. Art historians call him a pioneer of colour printing. Rembrandt owned eight of his paintings.

Between October 7 and January 8, 2017 a complete overview of Segers’ works will be in the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition consists of 18 paintings, 110 print outs and 54 prints. After January 8 the collection will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

See also here.

Seventeenth-century poetess’ wedding ring discovered


Maria Tesselschade's wedding ring

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Experts agree: diamond ring is Maria Tesselschade’s wedding ring

Today, 15:34

A diamond ring and a shoe found during archaeological research in Alkmaar belonged “with probability bordering on certainty” to 17th century poetess Maria Tesselschade.

Her father, the ship owner Roemer Visscher, named her Tesselschade (“Damage on Tessel/Texel”), because he had lost a ship near Texel island on Christmas day 1593, three months before her birth.

Experts have established this. Almost certainly the ring was her wedding ring.

Maria Tesselschade [Roemer’s] Visscher (1594-1649) was part of the Muiderkring group, to which famous writers like Huijgens, Bredero and Vondel belonged. She is often described as the muse of the group.

The ring and shoe were found along with engraved glass fragments which had been previously established as Maria Tesselschade’s property.

Large fire

The finds were made in the Langestraat in Alkmaar, where she lived. The archaeological research there, where in the seventeenth century were the most expensive houses of the city, began in 2015 after a major fire during the New Year. …

From the shape of the cut [the experts] could conclude that the diamond ring was made in the 1620s. This corresponds to historical data: Maria Tesselschade married Allard Crombalch in 1623. …

‘Historic sensation’

Alkmaar Alderwoman Van de Ven today publicized the new discoveries. She calls the findings a historical sensation. “Apart from her preserved hand written correspondence so far no personal belongings of her had been found. The discoveries make a tangible picture of a very special woman.”

The archaeological finds will be on display from February 2017 at a temporary exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.

Maria Teselschade’s most famous work is a 1642 poem about a nightingale. It concludes by saying how wonderful it is that such a small bird can sing so beautifully.

Dutch philosopher wins Spinoza Prize


This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

10 June 2016

Professor L.W. (Lodi) Nauta is the first philosopher to receive the Spinoza Prize since its introduction in 1996, another reason to celebrate for the laureate. ‘I consider this to be not merely the recognition of my own work, but also of the importance of philosophy and its history.‘

The Spinoza Prize award ceremony will be today.

As Spinoza was a seventeenth century Jewish Portuguese Dutch philosopher, it looks a bit surprising that all other laureates so far of the prize named after him were and are non-philosophers. Most of them were natural scientists, including biologists.

17th-century painting found again after 200 years


This 24 August 2016 Dutch video shows how five seventeenth century paintings, depicting local militia officers of Delft city, are brought together for the first time in over 200 years for an exhibition in the Prinsenhof museum in Delft, which will open to the public on Friday 26 August 2016.

Until recently, one of these five paintings was missing. It was the 1648 portrait by Jacob Delff II of the officers Willem Reyersz de Langue and Daniel Fransz van der Brugge. That work of art had disappeared at the end of the eighteenth century.

After more than 200 years, last year it suddenly turned up at an auction in Paris. The Prinsenhof museum was able to buy it. Then, they restored it.

This 24 August 2016 Dutch video shows the restoration of Jacob Delff II’s painting at the Prinsenhof museum.

This video shows that restoration as well.