The Cornaro Chapel at the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome sports many beautiful works of art, but I'm especially taken by the skeletal figure set into the floor tiles, whose upraised arms seem ready to snatch sinners into the underworld. The photo above was taken by Chris and memorialized in a fabulous post on Roman Patina, which also includes photos of many of the other works in the chapel.
Here's John E. Hill's translation of "The Peoples of the West," Yu Huan's third century account of ancient Rome. Of significant interest is the list of items the Roman Emperor has in plenty, which includes "divine tortoises" "poison-avoiding rats" and many other wonders.
The Italian scientific community was stunned when Italian scientists, seismologists, were recently sentenced to years of prison for manslaughter, for failing to predict the lethal earthquake in Aquila in 2009. Other scientists have resigned to their jobs in protest, and even some relatives of the victims condemned the sentence as ridiculous.
The world press was reporting on the dark ages of inquisition in Italian courts and labs. But then, journalistic investigations discovered political scandals that implied a plot to downplay earthquake dangers in Aquila, involving Berlusconi and his cabinet. Silvio Berlusconi can't control earthquakes any more than seismologists can, but he's always been keen on controlling media.
That is the graffiti in one of the destroyed streets in this Saturday’s “indignati” demonstration. It ended in violence against the police, city security, and last but not least the pacifist organizers of the manifestation, in tune with the world wide movements OCCUPY.
A UNC team has written an engine that scours Flickr for photos of a city, figures out which ones are images of the same place, analyzes them, and uses the results to build amazingly detailed 3D models -- all in less than a day, using a single PC.
The current amount of importance placed on "originality" is a fairly recent phenomenon which I will discuss at some point. Back in the day, by which I mean Roman antiquity, imitation was indeed the sincerest form of flattery. Thank goodness, too. Because the Romans admired the Greek aesthetic, talented artists spent a great deal of time creating hand-made replicas of notable Greek art, particularly sculpture. In some cases, the originals are now lost to time, and the only reason we know what they look like is because of the talented copyists of old.
Perhaps the best-known example is the Diskobolos by Myron. The bronze original was remarkable enough to be discussed by a number of ancient playwrights and historians who saw it first-hand, but what a shame it would be if their descriptions were all we had to go by.