27 Oct

Horses of Nepal Book

The Royal Library of Denmark has a book catalogued as “Illustrated work with horses from Nepal”.  The book is mysterious in nature, given that the Library’s website does not feature any background information on it.

However, it does seem to be a copy or a derivate work of “A Treatise on the Nature and Illnesses of Horses”,  Asvasastra, Nepal, 18th Century.




13 Mar

Manuscript of the Triumphant Maximilian I

The Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519, elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1508) commissioned two works of art which had a considerable influence on court festivals generally in the Empire: the set of 192 woodcuts commissioned from Albrecht Dürer in 1515 which together make up the Triumphal Arch and the series of 136 woodcuts by Burgkmair, Altdorfer, Dürer and others which constitute the Triumphal Procession of 1517.

The Triumphs of Maximilian I inspired many images, including a series of beautiful manuscript images in around 1700, with captions in German.

It was probably originally commissioned by the Hapsburg Archduke Albert of Austria (d. 1621) and ended up in Spain through his successors, Philip IV and Charles II. The actual artist who created the manuscript is not known.


Discover pages from the 1700 manuscript: Read More

11 Mar

Representations of Political Power

Constructing power

In the course of history, power has always had one of the most important roles in arts and cultural products. The methods of framing and visually constructing power have been carefully created and developed. Even though we might think that the ancient Egyptians and Greeks had more naive ways of representing the idea of power, this is quite false. Even back in ancient times, artists had developed specific mechanisms to express the power of the leaders of their time.

It is of great interest to notice how power has usually been conveyed through some specific and consequent means.  Specific gestures, colors, clothes, objects and references constitute universal symbols of power in Western art. Upon a certain investigation in visual representations of power, one notices that artists usually mix two or three of these elements to express the strength of a leader.

Strong charcters have been for the most part of arts history real historic figures, but as the arts developed, more and more fictional characters have become ideals of power.

Read More

27 Feb

Opening Page

Great art picks up where nature ends.”  – Marc Chagall

The frontpiece of ‘Musurgia Universalis’ by Athanasius Kircher.

Musurgia Universalis is an exhaustive compendium of musical knowledge at the transition point between sacred renaissance polyphony and secular Baroque music. Much of Musurgia is dedicated to a survey of contemporary music, including the first published mention of the baroque ‘doctrine of the affections’ in which music is ideally analogous to human emotions. Many surviving compositions by Frescobaldi, Froberger and other baroque masters are due to Kircher’s extensive transcriptions and reproductions of scores in Musurgia.