A Middle-Earth Traveller: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor by John Howe

When it comes to the visual interpretations Middle-Earth, there are three artists whom I rank as personal favorites.  First, there is Tolkien himself, whose illustrations accompanied the original editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  And then there is Alan Lee and John Howe, whose magnificent illustrations informed Peter Jackson's cinematic versions … Continue reading A Middle-Earth Traveller: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor by John Howe

The Pre-Raphaelites: Inspiration from the Past by Terri Hardin

1848.  Uprisings were happening all across Europe.  In Victorian England, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was formed.  It's self-proclaimed purpose was to reintroduce the lofty principles of the art of the Italian Renaissance as practiced prior to Raphael and those inspired by him.  This high-minded group consisted of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman … Continue reading The Pre-Raphaelites: Inspiration from the Past by Terri Hardin

The Story of Civilization, Vol. V: The Renaissance by Will Durant

"Don't be so gloomy. After all, it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and … Continue reading The Story of Civilization, Vol. V: The Renaissance by Will Durant

The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev

1499.  Clad in battle armor over her noble finery, a woman looks down from the ramparts of the fortress at Forli.  Her surrender is demanded in exchange for the life of her son, a prisoner of the enemy army.  In an act of legendary defiance, she hikes up her skirts, grabs herself, and announces that … Continue reading The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev