More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple. However, while admiring another line intricacy and allusive painting theme, bear in mind that beneath the plot of glossy surface, as per usual, stand painfully familiar disputes with an impatient client, unpleasant surprises from nature and damaged health of painters-executants.
The Sistine Chapel, according to original project of Pope Julius II, resembled quite unelaborated composition: central image of Jesus surrounded by twelve disciples located in triangles on the periphery of the ceiling. Michelangelo Buonarotti, who was charged with the task of depicting something in his comprehension so poor, put it mildly, was not thrilled. And at times it is hard even for pontifices to argue with a stubborn genius… So, after an eternity spent in longstanding blandishments, the Pope approved iconography amplification in the discretion of the maitre. Thus, Old Testament themes were added to the project of the future Chapel and prophets and prophetesses took places of disciples.
However, these were only first difficulties. Unlike Julius II, nature turned out to be a less cooperative lady. It is hard even for great frescos to resist moistness that was spreading its grey spot on the plaster. Michelangelo’s assistants had to be fixing the problem all the time. Without their help a quick-tempered artist would have dropped his work after another conflict with the Pope. Say what you will, but relations between the two were both dramatic and humorous. Payment delays, regular preponement of the due date (perennial problem, isn’t it?) and hasty tempers of both pontifex and Buonarotti turned the process of the Sistine Chapel designing into a farce tragicomedy with continuous impingement upon ambitions of the both parties.
The fact that the master was lying around the clock in his “flying” scaffolding with his head thrown aback is a matter of common knowledge. But there are hardly many people who know that due to his outrageously fanatic nature, Michelangelo also strictly forbade anyone at all to enter the premises in his absence. He couldn’t shake concerns about intruders and it was keeping him on the alert. Once he even decided to waylay them. By virtue of the genre, the worst suspicions proved true: there was a stranger in the chapel. The master, furious because of the fact that his prohibition against entering was ignored, started pelting wood blocks and anything that had a slightest ability to fly. And even the fact that it was the pontifex himself withdrawing from the crime scene (he decided to bribe security guard and get an eyeful of the half-finished order) didn’t daunt on the pissed off Buonarotti. It was this exchange of pleasantries and panels that had an impact on the final cut of the temple. Michaelangelo forbade gold-plating of the ceiling reasoning it with pretended complicacy of repeated scaffolding installation. Then again, even without precious metals the Sistine Chapel cannot be denied elegance and splendor. And all this owes to so called illusionistic architecture – a peculiar network of ribs, shields, angels images and nude bodies. Pictures of shells (symbol of Mother Mary) and acorns with oak leaves – the symbol of papal family della Rovere were no rarity as well.
Sad to say, but despite the good offices of renovators and guardians, the chapel’s present look brings across its grandeur only in part. During renovation of 1980s frescos gained fresher view. But due to discrepancies in painting techniques a very special feature of the frescos was lost – their talking glances. Thus, many shapes that came out from under Michelangelo’s brush closed their eyes on the visitors forever.
However, those willing to have a squint at Buonarotti’s works have no intention to do the same. The interest is stirred up by the fact that photo shooting of the chapel is forbidden. You bet that the most fearless and desperate judges of the beauty manage to steal a picture of paintings but disappointment is expecting them anyway. Rumor has it, even best-heeled photographers with all necessary equipment and lighting fail to make good pictures of the chapel. It is hard to say right off the bat where the element of truth is in all the mysticism and what contributes to sagacity and pragmatism of local tour guides. But it very much looks like master Michelangelo created a real wonder: something capturing that can be captured neither on a screen nor on a film.
Where to look for Clementin, the narrowest hotel in Czech Republic merely 3.28 meters wide, how to chose between Pilsner Urquel, Krušovice and Gambrinus, when to feed gold-colored carps and why tram 91 has no peer? Elvira Matrosova learned about these and more. And despite the fact that this city stands on Vltava (Wilth-ahwa – literally means Wild water), it is aristocratic, consistent and calm yet far from Puritanism. Aroma of hop, buns and coffee all around is an unmistakable sign of Prague being glad to indulge all touristic weaknesses of yours – so get ready!
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in Outlook.
The eccentric elder Katsushika Hokusai was the real star of the Edo period, the creative genius and the brutal debtor of the half of his city. He used at least 30 names, changed 93 houses and created a lot of prints, drawings and paintings. His internationally recognized print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is mesmerizing. But only a few people know that this block printing, as well as many other works, was created by Hokusai with assistance of his daughter - artist Katsushika Ōi, lost in time and overshadowed by her genius father crazy about art.
Outlook often tells about the kitchens of the peoples around the world, but when it comes to Italy, writing about the country should be a crime. Each of its twenty regions has its own culinary world with the subtleties and specialties. Let the title of gastronomic capital of Italy be Bologna, its official capital - Rome, too, has something to boast about. We are telling you what is remarkable about Roman cuisine and what dishes are worth trying in the Eternal City.
Ancient Rome, full of beauty and attractions, welcomes more than 30 million tourists annually. To see with your own eyes the Coliseum, to put your hand in the Mouth of Truth and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain is the dream of any traveler. But few people know that just 30 kilometers from the capital there is not less attractive and not yet occupied by tourists Ostia...
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
"Dali in a skirt", "The greatest provoker of the last century", shocking and inspiring confidence in the almost limitless potential of man, Frida Kahlo surprised contemporaries and continues to admire the admirers of her work today. The people of Kiev can now look behind the scenes of the life of the Mexican genius. With the support of the Embassy of Mexico in Ukraine in the National Museum named after Taras Shevchenko an exhibition of photographs devoted to the relations between Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera was opened.
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
American Detroit was until recently known as the automotive capital. But nowadays it is more often than not mentioned in the context of decline and population outflow. Outlook decided to figure out why ghost cities emerge.
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life. Twilight land of legends always have a shelter for a weary traveller: no one is alone on the paths of spirits.
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
They become the place for the coolest parties, source of extraordinary ideas and unpredictable discoveries. Nowadays whole houses, temples, gardens, pools and stadiums reach peaks of their popularity – all of them on tops of buildings.
"A small territory with a great mission" is the motto under which on February 11, 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See recognized Vatican as a sovereign territory. It was an agreement which opened doors for curious patrons who for centuries had been trading gossip about "What is kept inside Vatican castles?". Evil tongues grumbled that the walled enclave protected magic books of how to seize the world, the castle’s cellars hide torture chambers for sinners, and after liturgies alchemists are busy inventing the Philosopher's Stone. But when museums welcomed visitors, both guests and the Romans gasped with delight. Collectors estimated that the cost of all the works of art featured by almost the smallest country in the world, is 150 times more than the world's GDP.
In every art there are formats and rules – once in “mainstream” an Artist won’t have to starve. Even more so in totalitarian times when every sphere of people’s life is controlled and affected and selfhood has to be forgotten as such. It is probably in the face of a system natural talents emerge for their work to become immortal. Today Outlook recalls one of them, artist Kateryna Bilokur.
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
Seoul of South Korea that blisteringly turned from an ancient city of a poor country into a prospering capital of an advanced state over 20th century, definitely deserves respect; as much esteem is earned by those municipal officials and patriots who, in times of explosive industrialization, managed to preserve glorious heritage of the past – royal palaces of Joseon dynasty.