23 January 2018

A reminder that ancient statuary was often painted

The painting is by Jean-Léon Gérôme - Painting Breathes Life into Sculpture, 1893. 
Although it was initially thought that Greek statues were mostly unadorned white marble, by the early 19th century the systematic excavation of ancient Greek sites brought forth a plethora of sculptures with traces of multicolored surfaces. Some of these traces are still visible to the naked eye even today, though in most examples the remaining color has faded or disappeared entirely once the statues were exposed to light and air. In spite of this overwhelming evidence for painted statues, influential art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann so strongly opposed the idea of painted Greek sculpture that proponents of painted statues were dismissed as eccentrics and their views largely dismissed for several centuries. It wasn't until published findings by German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann in the late 20th century and early 21st century that painted Greek sculptures became an established undeniable fact. Using high intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, special cameras, plaster casts and certain powdered minerals, Brinkmann was able to scientifically prove that the entire Parthenon, including the actual structure as well as the statues, was in fact painted. He furthermore was able to reveal the pigments of the original paint and has created several painted replicas of Greek statues that are currently on tour throughout the world. Also in the collection, are replicas of works from other Greek and Roman sculptures showing that the practice of painting sculpture was wide spread and in fact the normative practice rather than the exception in Greek and Roman culture.
More at the Wikipedia entry.  Image found at Miss Folly, via.

Reposted from 2010 to some text and add two images from BBC Culture:
Even bronze statues would have been much brighter than their dark brown appearance suggests today: bronze acquires a patina over time. What we see as a uniform greenish-brown head would once have been gleaming bright, almost golden. Hair would have been painted dark and the flesh might well have been painted too. The eye sockets of ancient statues are often empty, because the eyes were made separately, and they have been lost over time. There is a magnificent pair of Greek eyes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York [above], made of bronze, marble, quartz and obsidian...

And the Greeks are not the only ones whose statues were painted: the Romans were similarly enthusiastic about brightening up their marble. Paolo Liverani, of the University of Florence, has worked on a project to recreate the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta [below]. The emperor’s statue was discovered in 1863, and showed traces of the paint which once decorated it. A cast of the statue, its polychromy restored (and, in part, imagined), now stands in the Vatican Museum.

And finally this interesting tywk:
Winckelmann was a particular fan of Roman marble copies of Greek bronze statues: the Romans often copied Greek originals in marble. You can tell it is a marble copy of a bronze if a figure is leaning on something: a tree trunk, or a staff, for example. Or perhaps there is a little chunk of marble joining the two legs together.  Marble lacks the tensile strength of bronze, so it requires extra support to keep the figures stable.

"I scream, you scream..."

Via the Funny subreddit.

LIke THIS !!

Via the Eyebleach subreddit (lots of soothing pix there).

Very challenging cryptic puzzle

This was the cryptic in this month's issue of Harper's.  Each of the numbered clues contains two cryptic clues, with no indication of where one ends and the other starts, and with no guidance as to whether the answer goes on the right or left side of the grid.

You can download a printable pdf here.

Trevally vs. tern. Trevally wins.

Yesterday evening I watched the first episode of Blue Planet II.  You read about nature and watch movies and videos for a lifetime and think you've seen it all, and then... wow.

Hey! No problem!

source: an old file folder in my desk, with clippings from 30 years ago.

22 January 2018

"Kanyon" and the North American "Pole of Inaccessibility"

A "pole of inaccessibility" is a location that is most remote from access points.  For continents those poles are at the furthest point from any ocean or sea.  The map above shows the location for North America.
The location of the North American POI was determined to be at the northern section of Bennett County of South Dakota, about 6 km SW from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and 25 km SE from the Badlands National Park.
For the other poles (Eurasia, South America etc) visit the Wikipedia link or this excellent article (whence the map).

The reason I looked this up is that today I learned that the Russians are developing a "doomsday torpedo," dubbed "Kanyon."
Kanyon is reportedly a very long range autonomous underwater vehicle that has a range 6,200 miles, a maximum depth of 3,280 feet, and a speed of 100 knots according to claims in leaked Russian documents.

But what really makes Kanyon nightmare fuel is the drone torpedo's payload: a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons, or the equivalent of 16,000 tons of TNT. Kanyon’s nuke would be the equivalent of 100,000,000 tons of TNT...

Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years...

Kanyon is designed to get around American ballistic missile defenses, primarily the Ground-Based Interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California.
You have to admit this is a fiendishly clever way to bypass the missile defenses.

And since the Kanyon wouldn't be deployed to impact southern Hudson Bay, the pole of inaccessibility would shift more toward Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

Hexagonal paper

Via the DesignPorn subreddit.

20 January 2018

Billy Joel - "She's Got a Way"

Two skiing videos

The top one features Candide Thovex.
Candide Thovex (born 22 May 1982) is a French professional skier, filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is notable for his creative movies to the sport of freestyle skiing, and professionally has won numerous contests and accolades... He is widely considered to be one of the best freeskiers in the history of the sport.
It's artificial in the sense that several downhill runs have been stitched into one sequence, but my  understanding is that all of the tricks are real, not CGI.

The second is more conventional and arguably more enticing.  Kudos re the choice of Claire de Lune for the musical background.

via Boing Boing.

I recommend clicking the fullscreen icon to view both videos.

Texas judge says God told him defendant not guilty

"A state district judge in Comal County said God told him to intervene in jury deliberations to sway jurors to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Buda woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex.

Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption, but defended his actions by telling them “when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” according to the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels.
The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.
Best comment at the Reddit discussion thread:
"Wouldn't it make more sense for God to tell this to the jurors?"

Nice car

It's a Bugatti.  "The Type 57SC Atlantic... 1 of 4 produced and 1 of 3 still known to exist."  Belongs to Ralph Lauren.  Valued at $40 million.  Via the CarPorn subreddit.

More fancy cars at Jalopnik.

A Biblical reference to Minnesota

It's in John 21:3: -

"Simon Peter said to them, "I'm going fishing." They told him, "We are also coming with you." They went out, and entered into the boat.

That night, they caught nothing."
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