Prince Albert’s Philanthropic Project of the South Kensington Museum

South-Kensington-Museum

Prince Albert owned the worlds largest collection of Raphael reproductions with over 50 unique portraits. Albert commissioned a photographer to go into the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy and take photographs of all Raphael works. These photographs of course lacked color being a product of their time and technology, so hand painted versions were made using chromolithography technology. The intention of the collection was not simply to collect but rather to draw people into Windsor Castle to teach them about art history, which is actually the format in which modern day art historians teach artwork to students; in a photo library. Unlike most monarchs, Albert and Victoria wanted to feed the public with knowledge, art, and science. Albert believed that industry could place great works of art into the hands of the masses using manufacturing techniques which would cut costs dramatically. Albert was especially interested in batteries and their connection to various metals in different solutions. This borderline obsession was sparked when Albert seen a real rose turned to gold by dipping it into a chemical solution of chemicals which coated the rose, permanently changing its outer layer. This process is referred to as “electroforming” and involves dropping a dried rose into an electrically conductive material and attached to a battery. A solution of precious metal is prepared, typically gold, after which the rose is left to sit within the solution for a few moments. The rose attracts metal particulate within the solution because of its coating. Albert put on a great exhibition entitled the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851 which cost £335,742 which equates to £46,482,000 as of 2019 when accounting for inflation. The revenue from this project was £522,000 which equates to £72,269,000 as of 2019. Over 6,000,000 (6 million) people attended and exhibits from 25 countries were featured. Albert took the profits from this endeavor and purchased South Kensington Museum, a building which would be used solely for art, science, and industry to be displayed for the public. Because of Alberts involvement and enormous success, South Kensington Museum started to become referred to as “Albertopolis” meaning “City of Albert” in Greek. South Kensington Museum is the embodiment of Alberts enlightened belief that culture and learning should be at the very heart of any successful nation. South Kensington Museum opened on 1857 and is referred to during the modern day as the “Victoria and Albert Museum” or the abbreviation “V&A”. South Kensington Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design and sculpture and houses a permanent collection of over 2,270,000 (2.27 million) pieces. Alberts favorite place to get away in Buckingham Palace is the Print Room where his collection of Raphael’s are stored. Victoria could not bear to even enter the room for months after Alberts untimely death at age 42 in 1861

The Turin Shroud of Christianity

Turin-Shroud

The Turin Shroud which is believed by Christians to have been wrapped around Jesus Christ after his death and to have been left behind by Christ post-resurrection, is approximately 14’6” long by 3’6” wide and bears the mysterious image of the full front and back of a man, a person who appears to have met a violent death. The Turin Shroud negative image was stumbled upon by amateur photographer Secondo Pia in 1898 whilst taking the first archeological photographs of the shroud. Today, the Turin Shroud is kept within the royal chapel of the Turin Cathedral in Italy, under lock and key in a climate controlled, bulletproof encasing. The Catholic Church allowed scientific examination of the Turin Shroud in 1978 and in 1988, but the piece is rarely placed on display for the public, with the last showing drawing over 2,000,000 (2 million) people in 2015. Blood samples found upon the Turin Shroud found that whoever supplied it had blood type AB, a rare blood type found only in 3% of the population, however more common in the Middle East. Much of the skepticism related to the Turin Shroud stems from the fact that it was not historically documented and recorded until nearly 1400 years after the death of Christ, during the Medieval period in 1349. It is suspected that the Turin Shroud could have belonged to the last grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. After being arrested by Philip IV, the then king of France, de Molay was tortured, had a crown of thorns placed upon his head, and was then crucified in 1314. Scientists have theorized that because de Molay was wrapped in a long piece of cloth, the lactic acid built up during torture as well as de Molay’s own blood mixed with the frankincense which was used to keep the cloth white, provided an imprint after his death. The last known historical description and image of de Molay actually matches quite well with the image on the Turin Shroud, both images depicting a male with a large nose, shoulder length hair parted in the center, a crown of thorns, and a full beard

The Defiant American Natural Landscape Art Form and Luminism

Albert-Bierstadt-Among-the-Sierra-Nevada-California-American-landscape

Artists in the America’s who continually pushed further west, pioneered the technique of “luminism” which used light effects and concealed brush strokes to create paintings which were considered so overwhelming detailed that opera glasses were needed to fully appreciate their true beauty. The American landscape was psychologically bore out of feelings of inferiority and competition with the European continent, as the Americas at this time were not the industrialized indomitable power they are today, but rather a fairly poor country still developing itself and not yet having reached the same milestones which Europe had already accomplished. During the 18th and 19th century, those living in the Americas rejected the notion that Rome, Italy was the center of art and that the best landscapes with the highest and most spectacular mountains were only found in places like France and Switzerland, as the west had its own mountains and its own unique monoliths and animals which could be depicted and celebrated to create American pride within the American landscape

Ancient Stained Glass Manufacturing

ancient-stained-glass

The manufacturing of stained glass is an ancient technology which dates back so far that the ancient Egyptians knew how to do it 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval Europe inherited this form of technology but did not invent it as is common belief. Deep, rich blue glass was very difficult to make and therefore needed to be imported from southern Italy. The deep blues which the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France is so famous for can historically be traced through documentation to fragments coming from the Byzantine Empire as well as the Roman Empire. These imports were melted down and used to create new glass. Most colors and dyes came from the natural world in the forms of roots, berries, barks, leaves, minerals, and crushed insects, but the most prized colors were imported into Europe from the east, specifically India and China using Ottoman trade routes. The simple luck of geography made Venice, Italy an incredibly wealthy city as it acted as a nexus between the east and west. The blue hue referred to as “ultramarine” was the most expensive color to acquire and therefore it was almost always saved for depictions of the Virgin Mary, typically in her cloak or some other form of clothing, as Mary was depicted as the focal point of every painting she appeared within. Ultra Marine came from the mineral of lapis lazuli and when it was ground up into powder, some parts would inevitably become smaller than others which allowed these particles to reflect more light and provide a deeper, richer color to work with and appreciate. Vermillion Red was almost as precious as ultramarine, and has been used in Europe for hundreds of years in various illuminated manuscripts. Made from the mineral cinnabar, vermillion was adopted in places outside of Europe like meso-America for painting, India for bindi dots, and China to create lacquerware

The Bubonic Plague

Black-Plague

The Bubonic Plague killed off approximately 66% of Europe during the 1350’s with the exception of Milan, Italy and Kraków, Poland. This was due to the people of Milan understanding that quarantining the city was a necessary requirement to help aide in the cessation of disease proliferation. Quarantining was performed despite physicians not properly and/or fully understanding the mechanics of viral and bacterial infection. The citizens of Milan also burned down the home of any person or family suspected of having recently contracted the Black Plague. Kraków was a prominent refuge for people of Jewish descent, as Jewish people were used as scapegoats as to the reason why the Black Plague occurred in Europe in the first place. Due to the fact that Jews frequently bathed as it was not in conflict with their religious beliefs, unlike most others in Europe, the Black Plague was barred from having as great of an effect as it did across the rest of Europe. Milan and Kraków were left virtually unscathed with most of their populations surviving the catastrophic epidemic

Seasoning

seasoning

The people of Gaul which is modern day France, part of Belgium, western Germany, and northern Italy, discovered that various foods could be improved by aging them using a process referred to as “saisonner” which means “passing of the seasons” in German. After being conquered by the Normans in 1066, the British adopted this new aging process and referred to it as “seasoning”. With the introduction of Middle Eastern spices brought by returning Crusaders during the 13th century, seasoning took on the meaning of “anything which embellishes the taste of food”