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Mystery over Christ’s orb in $100m Leonardo da Vinci painting
The Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) portrays Jesus gesturing in blessing with his right hand while holding a crystal orb in his left hand.Crystal sphere in Salvator Mundi artwork lacks optical exactitude, prompting experts to speculate over motive and authenticity. “In one respect, it is rendered with beautiful scientific precision … But Leonardo failed to paint the distortion that would occur when looking through a solid clear orb at objects that are not touching the orb.“Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images. Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it.”A Christie’s spokeswoman said: “Leonardo’s paintings are known for their mystery and ambiguity. He was intimately familiar with the technicality and qualities of optics and light. If he had recreated the image with optical exactitude, the background would have been distorted.“It is our opinion that he chose not to portray it in this way because it would be too distracting to the subject of the painting.”
Guardian  arts  debates  controversies 
yesterday by thomas.kochi
Man Booker prize goes to second American author in a row
The book is based around a real event: the night in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln buried his 11-year-old son Willie in a Washington cemetery. Imagining the boy trapped in the Bardo – a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo – Saunders’ novel follows the fellow dead, also trapped in the graveyard and unwilling to accept death, who observe the boy as he desperately waits for his father to return.Written almost entirely in dialogue, the novel also includes snippets of historical texts, biographies and letters, some of which contradict each other and others that Saunders, 58, created himself.ccepting the prize, athe 58-yearold Texan-born author made an eloquent defence of the importance of culture. “If you haven’t noticed, we live in a strange time, so the question at the heart of the matter is pretty simple,” he said. “Do we respond to fear with exclusion and negative projection and violence? Or do we take that ancient great leap of faith and do our best to respond with love? And with faith in the idea that what seems other is actually not other at all, but just us on a different day.“In the US we’re hearing a lot about the need to protect culture. Well this tonight is culture, it is international culture, it is compassionate culture, it is activist culture. It is a room full of believers in the word, in beauty and ambiguity and in trying to see the other person’s point of view, even when that is hard.”
Guardian  awards  books 
2 days ago by thomas.kochi
Bacon and eggs for every meal: absurd diets of the rich and famous
“Coffee is a great power in my life,” wrote Honoré de Balzac in 1830, “I have observed its effects on an epic scale.” Indeed he had. When in the grip of one of his “orgies of work”, the French novelist and playwright would get up at 1am and write until 4pm, with a 90-minute nap in the middle. To fuel himself, he imbibed as many as 50 cups of coffee a day. He also dabbled with “a horrible, rather brutal method” which involved eating pure coffee grounds on an empty stomach. When he did this, he wrote, “Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages.” For Balzac, the battle raged until his death at 51: he wrote 91 long and short works of fiction in the space of just 16 years.
food  celebrities  Guardian 
3 days ago by thomas.kochi
Man Booker prize 2017: from Abraham Lincoln to Brexit Britain
Taste and judgment aside, the other intractable dimension of the Booker conundrum is its annual rendezvous with the marketplace. As in farming, or finance, there are good years and bad years. 2015 and 2016 were good years with excellent winners (Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings; Paul Beatty’s The Sellout).This year, Booker’s panel is up against it. Before we discuss the shortlist, we have to note that, for whatever good reason, the judges decided to exclude some powerful contenders: Sebastian Barry (Days Without End), Arundhati Roy (The Ministry of Utmost Happiness), Zadie Smith (Swing Time) and, perhaps most surprising of all, Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad).When Lola Young, as chair, summarised the shortlist as “unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention”, she articulated a mission statement for a final session that promises to be an excruciating visit to the third circle of a literary critical inferno.
lists  awards  books  Guardian 
3 days ago by thomas.kochi

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