A mesmerizing 3-minute journey through 500 years of female portraits.
Detail - The Moneylender and his Wife (1514) by Quentin Massys
Watch a (mesmerizing) painting demonstration to learn about the different properties of green pigments bound in egg tempera and those mixed with oil, and see how these were used to achieve very different effects in masterpieces from the National Gallery’s collection.
This film accompanies the National Gallery exhibition ‘Making Colour’ (18 June - 7 September 2014).
The heart-shaped book this sitter holds is probably a prayer book; he is depicted before a view of the church of Sainte Gudule in Brussels, where a mass is performed by a priest in the background.
The man’s identity is unknown, but he may have been a member of a confraternity or guild with a particular devotion to Saint Augustine, whose symbolic attribute was a heart surmounted by a flame.
It is possible this formed the right wing of a devotional diptych; as such, the shape of the book would echo the open form of two joined, arch-shaped panels.
Edmund Blair Leighton, The Shadow, Circa 1909
The poignancy of the moment captured in EB Leighton’s painting, “The Shadow” is immediately apparent: a knight, in full chain mail, stands in profile before a castle wall, absolutely still and unhurried, while his beloved traces the shadow he casts with a piece of charcoal vine.
The presence of a ship in the harbor, though distant, creates the sense of his impending departure - likely to battle - and gives significance to her drawing as possibly the only remembrance she may have of him for some time to come.
The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, 1503-1504
The Uninhabited Garden, José Manuel Ballester, 2008
Bosch in flesh
View of the gallery with Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych of The Last Judgement in the Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna
Photo: Gisela Erlacher
La Reine Berthe et les fileuses
by Albert Anker 1888
*Bertha of Swabia (907 – 966) was Queen consort of Burgundy
Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1435 Lady wearing a gauze headdress and a fur lined brown houppelande.
The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople (Eugène Delacroix, 1840)
/click to zoom/
The most infamous action of the Fourth Crusade was the sack of the Orthodox Christian city of Constantinople.
'Who is Sylvia? What is She, That All the Swains Commend Her?', 1899-1900
A German historian named William Pehle, asserted that bowling began in Germany around 300 AD. Monks would set up pins called kegels, which represented human sins or temptations. They would then throw stones at the pins, thus conquering sin. Kegling is another term for bowling, even today. There are records indicating that some variation of bowling has been played throughout history all over the world.
Jeune fille tressant une couronne, Hans Süss von Kulmbach (detail)
How did people keep meat fresh in the Middle Ages?
One of the techniques was to dig cellars in the ground, inlay them with large stones covered with straw and put massive blocks of ice specially transported from the mountains, for example. This could preserve food for even a year.
Also, farmers used to put meat in large barrels filled with lard.