Magazine Cover Preview: The Economist – August 7

New Art Books: ‘Vermeer – The Complete Works’

In his lifetime, however, the fame of Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) barely extended beyond his native Delft and a small circle of patrons. After his death, his name was largely forgotten, except by a few Dutch art collectors and dealers. 

TASCHEN

Despite numbering at just 35, his works have prompted a New York Times best seller; a film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth; record visitor numbers at art institutions from Amsterdam to Washington, DC; and special crowd-control measures at the Mauritshuis, The Hague, where thousands flock to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic and enchanting Girl with a Pearl Earring, also known as the “Dutch Mona Lisa”.

Outside of Holland, his works were even misattributed to other artists. It was not until the mid-19th century that Vermeer came to the attention of the international art world, which suddenly looked upon his narrative minutiae, meticulous textural detail, and majestic planes of light, spotted a genius, and never looked back.

This 40th anniversary edition showcases the complete catalog of Vermeer’s work, presenting the calm yet compelling scenes so treasured in galleries across Europe and the United States into one monograph of utmost reproduction quality. Crisp details and essays tracing Vermeer’s career illuminate his remarkable ability not only to bear witness to the trends and trimmings of the Dutch Golden Age but also to encapsulate an entire story in just one transient gesture, expression, or look.

The author

After completing his studies of art history and archaeology at the University of Vienna, Karl Schütz joined the staff of the Gemäldegalerie of the city’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, serving from 1972 as a curator and from 1990 to 2011 as its director. His particular scholarly interests include Netherlandish and Flemish painting, early-16th-century German painting, courtly portraiture, and the history of the Gemäldegalerie collection.

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Ecology: Scientists Breed Plants With Fast-Growing Roots To Revitalize Land

Humanity faces major challenges. Could roots hold the answers? It’s possible: Research shows that roots have the potential to provide food for the world’s population, stop climate change and help extract resources in an environmentally friendly way. Plants must withstand periods of drought and heat, as well as flooding, and they use their roots to do this. Roots also help them actively search for nutrients in the soil, while warding off dangers such as pathogens and toxins.

Now, scientists at the research institute Forschungszentrum JĂĽlich are investigating root growth using high-tech methods. The goal is to breed stress-resistant seeds for plants with robust roots. They are not alone: In Sweden, Professor Linda Maria MĂĄrtensson is conducting research on a perennial wheat variety that will ensure higher yields while protecting the soil. Along the world’s coasts, too, roots are a lifesaver.

Coastal ecologist Professor Tjeerd Bouma has discovered that if special grasses are planted in front of dikes, they create a salt marsh that acts as a natural breakwater. Meanwhile, geochemist Dr. Oliver Wiche of the Technical University of Freiberg is researching something known as “phytomining.” He wants to know which plants are best suited for mining metals from the soil. Could this root research give rise to a new, environmentally friendly branch of industry?

Met Museum Exhibit Tour: The Medici – Portraits And Politics, 1512-1570 (Video)

Join exhibition curator Keith Christiansen and Renaissance art historians Linda Wolk-Simon and Davide Gasparatto in conversation about the exhibition “The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570,” and the development of the Florentine identity through portraits under Cosimo I de’ Medici’s rule. Film made possible by the generous support of The Brownstein Family Foundation, a Patron Member of The Friends of the Bargello. Learn more about the exhibition “The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570” on The Met’s website: https://www.metmuseum.org/MediciPortr…

Education: How Common Core Failed In U.S. Schools

First implemented in 2009, Common Core was an ambitious initiative to revolutionize the American education system. National leaders from Bill Gates to President Obama supported the idea and it cost an estimated $15.8 billion to implement. Years later, research showed the new curriculum had minimal impact on student performance. So why did Common Core fail? Can a common curriculum be successful for all students? Watch the video to find out.

News: Top 5 Stories For August 5, 2021 (Reuters)

August 5, 2021: COVID-19 cases, California wildfire, Texas van crash, U.S. landlord groups, Sydney

1. The United States hit a six-month high for new COVID cases with over 100,000 infections reported, according to a Reuters tally.

2. A rapidly spreading wildfire burned homes and forced thousands to evacuate in two heavily wooded counties northeast of Sacramento in Northern California.

3. A van overloaded with 30 people, many of them believed to be illegal immigrants, crashed in southern Texas, killing 10 occupants and critically injuring many of the others, police said.

4. Landlord groups asked a U.S. judge in Washington to immediately lift a new eviction moratorium that was put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying the new order was “unlawful”.

5. Sydney reported a record daily number of new coronavirus cases and the state of Victoria announced a one-week lockdown as Australia tried to contain the highly infectious Delta variant.

Views: Sally Lightfoot Crabs Face Eels & Octopus Off Coast Of Brazil (BBC)

In their search for food, these crabs must leap from rock to rock, dodging the predators that lie in wait.

Sally Lightfoot crabs are brightly-coloured coastal scavengers, found in the Galapagos Islands and across the western coast of South and Central America.

Cinematic Travel: Republic Of Indonesia (4K Video)

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea.