Witches, how Bruegel, other artists, depicted them

This video is about the exhibition De heksen van Bruegel (Bruegel‘s witches), in the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht, the Netherlands; 19 September 2015 till 31 January 2016.

Translated from the site Museumkaart.nl:

Witches are ugly women, who fly on brooms or make magic potions in a big pot on a stove. That is the image we have today of witches. But who knows that this originated in the work of the famous Brabant artist Pieter Bruegel?

Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht presents the first exhibition about witches in art.

For just one time you can see a unique collection of witch scenes from the turbulent period of witch persecutions in the Netherlands (1450-1700).
The Witches of Bruegel is a journey through the most beautiful and impressive depictions of witches produced the Low Countries. From the first images of witches in legal treatises and precious manuscripts, to the matchless prints by Pieter Bruegel and the spectacular depictions of sabbaths by his followers. A journey through the evolution of the witch image. From fear to fantasy, from nightmare to fairytale figure.

British King Charles II used child soldiers, archaeologists discover

This video, recorded in Scotland, says about itself:

The Battle of Dunbar

27 August 2010

On a hill in Scotland, I remember the distant relative whose ill fate became my good fortune.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Skeletons of Scottish prisoners provide evidence of child soldiers in Britain’s civil wars

Troops at the brutal Battle of Dunbar in 1650 may have been as young as 12

David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent

Wednesday 02 September 2015

Physical evidence that children were used as soldiers in Britain’s mid-17th century civil wars has been discovered by archaeologists.

Investigations in Durham have identified the remains of up to 28 skeletons as Scottish prisoners of war including a dozen teenage soldiers, five of whom were aged 12 to 16.

They were taken prisoner after English parliamentarian forces defeated the pro-Charles II Scottish Presbyterian army at the Battle of Dunbar on 3 September, 1650.

Scientific and other investigations carried out by the Durham University show that they almost certainly died of malnutrition, disease and dysentery.

One 13-15 year old boy who may have been suffering from scurvy had infections in his leg and foot bones.

A 14-15 year old appears to have been suffering from malnutrition for several years – and had had severe tooth decay and a leg infection.

A 12-16 year old had leg and foot infections – and probably also suffered from rickets.

The Battle of Dunbar was short and brutal. After less than an hour, a 12,000 strong English parliamentarian army, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, defeated the 11,000 strong Scottish covenanting army who supported the claims of Charles II to the Scottish throne.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 Scottish soldiers were killed by Cromwell’s forces who only lost 20 men.

The Scottish army had suffered from desertion, political purges and a severe lack of fighting age recruits. That almost certainly explains the presence of child soldier prisoners-of-war, unearthed in Durham.

Around 6,000 Scots were taken prisoners after the Battle of Dunbar. A thousand were immediately released because they were sick or wounded. The remainder were marched 100 miles south towards Durham where they were to be incarcerated in the castle and cathedral. Around a thousand died on the march – from hunger, exhaustion and dysentery. A few were executed. Some others escaped.

Around 3000 finally arrived in Durham, of who some 1700 then died of dysentery or disease at the rate of around 30 per day.

The identification of the Durham skeletons as Scottish prisoners taken at the Battle of Dunbar has involved detailed scientific and historical research – including isotopic tests showing that the individuals came from Scotland.

“Taking into account the range of detailed scientific evidence we have now, alongside historical evidence from the time, the identification of the bodies as the Scottish soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar is the only plausible explanation,” said Dr. Andrew Millard, Senior Lecturer at Durham University’s Department of Archaeology.

Hieronymus Bosch painting back to the Netherlands after 450 years

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Haywain‘ by Jeroen Bosch for the first time to the Netherlands

Today, 14:19

The Haywain, one of the masterpieces of Dutch painter Hieronymus (Jeroen) Bosch, is coming to the Netherlands. For the first time in 450 years, the triptych is leaving Spain, where it usually hangs in the Prado museum in Madrid.

The painting will remain in the Netherlands for half a year and will this autumn be part of the exhibition From Bosch to Bruegel – Uncovering everyday life in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam.

500th anniversary of his death

In early January the masterpiece will move to Den Bosch, the birthplace of the painter. There will be until the beginning of May in the North Brabant Museum an exhibition with 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the artist expected, the largest retrospective to date.

The exhibition is the culmination of the National Event Hieronymus Bosch 500 years which will be celebrated in 2016 and will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the painter.

Everyday scenes

Jeroen Bosch was actually called Hieronymus van Aken. Bosch he used as his artist’s name after the town where he was born and where he painted his masterpieces.

Around 1516 he painted the Haywain, one of the first paintings in art history in which everyday scenes are depicted.

The painting depicted a procession of people behind a hay wagon, a metaphor for materialism. The procession leads directly to hell.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

In the foreground medieval scenes are depicted with drunken monks, tooth pullers, musicians and gypsies.

Hieronymus Bosch, the Haywain, detail

On the hay wagon sits a couple in love with on each side an angel and a devil.

The Spanish King Philip II bought the triptych in 1570 for his private collection and since then it has never left Spain. According to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen the work of art is in an excellent condition after it was restored some years ago.

William Shakespeare and the English language

This video says about itself:

Shakespeare – The History of English (3/10)

1 July 2011

Frpm daily The Independent in Britain:

These are all the words that William Shakespeare is credited with inventing

by Evan Bartlett

24 August 2015

Despite passing away nearly four centuries ago, William Shakespeare has left an indelible mark on the English language.

The likes of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth have seen Shakespeare regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.

While those plays are still widely read and celebrated, the Bard has arguably left a far greater legacy in all the words and phrases that he is credited with inventing, or at least first popularising through his work.

Here is a list of 117 words credited to Shakespeare (just try and having a conservation without using any of them):

  • academe
  • accused
  • addiction
  • advertising
  • amazement
  • arouse
  • assassination
  • arch-villain
  • backing
  • bandit
  • barefaced
  • beached
  • bedazzle
  • bedroom
  • besmirch
  • bet
  • birthplace
  • blanket
  • bloodstained
  • blushing
  • bump
  • buzzer
  • caked
  • cater
  • champion
  • cheap
  • circumstantial
  • cold-blooded
  • compromise
  • countless
  • courtship
  • critic
  • dauntless
  • dawn
  • deafening
  • discontent
  • dishearten
  • drugged
  • dwindle
  • elbow
  • embrace
  • epileptic
  • equivocal
  • excitement
  • exposure
  • eyeball
  • fashionable
  • fixture
  • flawed
  • frugal
  • generous
  • gloomy
  • gnarled
  • go-between
  • gossip
  • green-eyed
  • grovel
  • gust
  • hint
  • hobnob
  • honey-tongued
  • hurried
  • impartial
  • impede
  • inauspicious
  • invulnerable
  • jaded
  • label
  • lacklustre
  • laughable
  • lonely
  • lower
  • luggage
  • lustrous
  • madcap
  • majestic
  • marketable
  • metamorphise
  • mimic
  • monumental
  • moonbeam
  • mountaineer
  • negotiate
  • nimble-footed
  • noiseless
  • obscene
  • obsequiously
  • ode
  • olympian
  • outbreak
  • panders
  • pedant
  • premeditated
  • puking
  • radiance
  • rant
  • remorseless
  • sanctimonious
  • savagery
  • scuffle
  • secure
  • skim milk
  • submerge
  • summit
  • swagger
  • time-honoured
  • torture
  • tranquil
  • undress
  • unearthly
  • unreal
  • varied
  • vaulting
  • vulnerable
  • well-bred
  • worthless
  • zany

Citations for where the majority of these words can be found in Shakespeare’s plays can be seen here.

British rock music history and the New Musical Express

This video from Britain says about itself:

The Original Johnny Kidd and the Pirates – Shakin All Over with RARE photos

Definitive British Rock and Roll track with photographs of the original 1959 line up of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.

All photos courtesy Brian Gregg, the original Pirates Bass player. Thanks Brian.

Dedicated to Johnny’s lasting memory and immortal legacy.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Know Your NME

Wednesday 19th August 2015

Rock ‘n’ roll history is bound up with one iconic magazine now facing obscurity, writes PETER FROST

THE NME, once the Accordion Times and Musical Express, then the New Musical Express, is changing. The weekly publication, which currently sells about 15,000 copies, will be distributed free at train stations, shops and student unions around the country. Its content will expand to cover film, fashion, TV, politics and gaming.

Few believe that that it will last long, even if it outlived its rivals Sounds and Melody Maker. The title, once full of critical reviews and good writing, is likely to become another freesheet repository for slick self-serving PR handouts.

It is just one more indication that the world of popular music, always a battle between those who want to make music and those who just want to make money, has suffered another setback.

Today, when bands so often seem to be created by a team of smooth marketing people or cynically put together to win the latest TV talent show, it’s hard to believe just how many bands and groups there were in the late 1950s and ’60s scrabbling to make music and, if truth be told, to make it big in what would become the world of rock ’n’ roll.

Back in July ’57 a skiffle group called The Quarry Men entertained at St Peter’s church fete, Woolton, Liverpool. They went on stage after the election of the rose queen and a police dog display.

The Quarry Men, with Ivan Vaughan on tea-chest bass and Ron Davis on banjo, had been formed just a few months before and their repertoire included such Lonnie Donegan standards as Railroad Bill, Cumberland Gap and Maggie Mae as well as Be Bop A Lula. Lead guitar and vocals was a 15-year-old named John Lennon.

Another young musician had ridden his bike the couple of miles from Allerton to the fete. With drainpipe trousers and a quiff, Paul McCartney looked like a real musician — far more sophisticated than the check-shirted teenager fronting the Quarry Men.

Bassist Ivan introduced Paul to John across his tea chest and the world of music changed forever.

I grew up in Harlesden, north London, where Freddie Heath’s skiffle group became Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. In 1960 their Shakin All Over reached number one.

Barney Davis, who would become national secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL), drove the Pirates to gigs.

Barney himself won a place in the final of a contest for singers at the State Kilburn. Sadly the final clashed with a YCL committee meeting. Barney chose the final but was pipped for first prize by Dave Sutch, who would later become Screaming Lord Sutch.

Other young communist friends in north London were deeply involved in the ’60s R&B scene. I was secretary of Willesden YCL and just up the road the Wembley YCL Branch opened its own R&B club at the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone.

At Christmas time 1963 Wembley YCL organised a dance at the Railway with local band the Bo Street Runners. The event was such a success that the band were approached by two YCLers, Gus Brain and Paul McCloughlan, with the idea of setting up a weekly R&B club at the Railway. Door takings would be split equally, half for the band and half to fund the revolution.

The club was up and running by February 1964 and the venture was an instant success. YCLers and Mods from all over north London danced to the music.

For legal reasons it was run as a membership club. Membership was just sixpence (2.5p) and admission 3/6 (17.5p). Within a month the numbers turning up had reached the 200 mark, creating an incredible atmosphere. Vespas and Lambrettas filled the pub car park.

The YCL monthly magazine Challenge told its readers: “Soon the group announces its arrival with a vigorous tuning-up session, with amplifiers booming, humming and screeching and the electric organ erupting with cascades of chords that vibrate around one’s head.

“A hypnotised crowd fills the floor in an incredibly short time; Skip-dance, floog and good old fashioned shake are demonstrated to the full.”

Sorry: even Frosty doesn’t know what the floog was.

Willesden YCL member Barney Barnes, who became Dick Barnes and finally rock journalist Richard Barnes, opened his own weeknight club at the Railway, following on from pioneer British blues musician Cyril Davies’s own club here.

Barnes booked people like Long John Baldry and a band called The High Numbers, who had also been known as the Detours. One of their members was himself a YCL member.

There was a certain swapping of acts between the two clubs and at one stage the YCL Sunday club considered changing their resident band to The High Numbers. George Bridges remembers the High Numbers wanted £13 for the gig, the Bo Street Runners £2 more.

In the end the YCL club decided to stick with the Bo Street Runners as they had just won TV’s Ready Steady Win competition.

YCL member Pete Townsend and Dick Barnes renamed The High Numbers The Who and the rest is history.

The very history you could once read in the pages of NME, but alas no more.

‘Ten thousands of Dutch war crimes in Indonesia’, new research

This 2012 video about the 1945-1949 Dutch-Indonesian war is called War memory of Indonesian freedom fighter.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Leiden research confirms: structural and excessive violence in Indonesia

Dutch troops were using structural and extreme violence against the Indonesians, according to new research. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië (published end of October) historian Gert Oostindie, basing himself on other sources, draws the same conclusion. He presents new findings and makes clear what moved the soldiers.

100,000 Indonesians were killed

The question of whether Dutch were guilty of structural and excessive force during the period 1945-1950 was never properly answered. The conclusion of historian Remy Limpach, who will get his PhD this fall at the University of Bern, was front page news in the run-up to the commemoration of 70 years of independence in Indonesia. In his book Soldaat in Indonesië Gert Oostindie, Leiden Professor and Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), describes the war on the basis of testimony from Dutch soldiers. In the struggle for independence, roughly estimated, 100,000 Indonesians and nearly five thousand Dutch soldiers died, in addition to a higher but unknown number of European civilians.

What is your reaction to the conclusion of Remy Limpach?

“I largely agree with his conclusion that ‘excessive violence’ was not as exceptional as has long been asserted also by the Dutch government. It is good that Limpach has thoroughly investigated the context of this violence. He relies, I understand, especially on government archives. … From my research together with KITLV colleagues about personal documents of Dutch soldiers and veterans also emerges the picture that frequently war crimes were committed.”

Where do you rely on?

“We examined 700 published testimonials, together by about 1,400 soldiers, diaries, correspondence, memoirs and biographical sketches. We found in these personal documents about 700 individual cases of war crimes. That is staggering. Especially if you extrapolate this, then I fear that one, though one should be cautious, should think in terms of tens of thousands rather than in thousands of cases. Indeed, over the period there were 220,000 soldiers on the Dutch side. ”

“Some explain the violence with an attitude of ‘better safe than sorry’, saying it is better to deal ruthlessly with the opponent than becoming a victim oneself. Others write that also purely out of revenge war crimes were committed.”

“But most soldiers do not write about violence, and there are those who explicitly state that they oppose brute force, or afterwards regretted the actions of the armed forces.” …

Oostindie conducted the research with colleagues from the KITLV, especially Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey. Also Leiden students and trainees worked on this.

You call for more investigation into the violence in Indonesia. What questions are there?

“In 2012, the KITLV, the NIOD and the NIMH (Dutch Institute for Military History), called for a broad investigation into this war. The argument has not changed: this is the biggest war ever fought by the Dutch armed forces, but a balanced view of it is not there. We want to understand the war and come to a balanced judgment on how the armed forces acted. That includes questions about war crimes and the manner in which the military leadership and ultimately the politicians coped with it. It’s not moralizing. But the Netherlands owes it to its own position and foremost ambitions to allow unprejudiced research: for we are often the first to let others know how important respect for human rights is“.

Soldaat in Indonesië, 1945-1950 1945-1950 Getuigenissen van een oorlog aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis
Gert Oostindie m.m.v. Ireen Hoogenboom and Jonathan Verwey
(Prometheus, Bert Bakker, 2015)

The book will be presented on October 31 during History Night at the Rijksmuseum.

(August 18, 2015 – LVP)

Peterloo massacre remembered in Manchester, England

This 16 August 2015 video from Manchester, England is called Maxine Peake Reads Shelley‘s Masque of Anarchy for Peterloo Massacre Memorial.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Hundreds gather to mark 1819 Peterloo Massacre

Monday 17th August 2015

HUNDREDS of people gathered in central Manchester yesterday to mark the 196th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

On August 16 1819, 60,000 people from Manchester and its surrounding towns gathered in St Peter’s Square in the city to hear radical speakers calling for democracy.

The crowd was charged by sabre-wielding cavalry who slaughtered 15 people and injured between 400 and 700.

The outrage sparked protests across Britain, resulting in a vicious and draconian clampdown on pubic gatherings, which were outlawed.

In 2009 five friends got together to walk into Manchester to commemorate the anniversary of the event. It has been held ever since.

Sixty people were present in 2011, this year it was well over 600.

The commemoration included presentations from actors Maxine Peake and John Henshaw.

Maxine read versus from Shelley’s epic poem Masque Of Anarchy, inspired by the massacre.

It was named Peterloo after Saint Peter’s Square and the Battle of Waterloo a few years earlier.

Yesterday’s event included songs from the open-voice choir.

Banners were carried, mirroring those original demonstrations bearing words such as “equal representation or death.”

Among those taking part were two of the founders from 2009, Martin Gittens and Bob Ashworth.

Mr Ashworth said: “Martin had the idea seven years ago when five of us went to the site of the massacre. That was in 2009 and it’s grown from that. By 2019 we hope there will be tens of thousands.”