Category Archives: Reviews

New Museum Exhibitions: “Van Eyck – An Optical Revolution” At MSK Ghent

Worldwide, only approximately twenty works by Van Eyck have been preserved. Quite exceptionally, over half of these will travel to Ghent in 2020 for the exhibition ‘Van Eyck. An optical revolution’ at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK). In what promises to be an unmissable, tour de force of an exhibition, the world of Van Eyck and his revolutionary gaze will be brought to life like never before.

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon, c. 1428-30 (Muzeul National Brukenthal, Sibiu, Romania)
Jan van Eyck, Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon, c. 1428-30 (Muzeul National Brukenthal, Sibiu, Romania)

The pinnacle of Late Medieval art
Van Eyck distinguished himself from his peers and triggered an optical revolution. With his matchless technique, scientific knowledge and unrivalled observational skills, he elevated oil painting to unprecedented heights and determined the future course of Western art. Never before had a painter made reality so tangible: all that seems to be missing from his portraits is his subjects’ breath, while his landscapes reveal the world in all its facets. Van Eyck trained his eye on the tiniest details before casting it wide again to create unforgettable panoramas.

His masterpiece, ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ (1432, St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent), bears witness to all three of these qualities. The restoration of the outer wings of the altarpiece will play a central role in the exhibition. Undertaken by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK), the project commenced at the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent in 2012. Visitors will have the opportunity to get close to the work and admire the spectacular results.

 

MSK Kent LogoIn dialogue with Van Eyck’s contemporaries
In order to contextualise Van Eyck’s optical revolution, his paintings will be shown alongside works by his most talented contemporaries from Germany, France, Italy and Spain. These artists also moved in exalted circles and received prestigious commissions. The exhibition focuses on the artistic similarities and differences between their works, thus delving deeper into the historical context in which they were created.

‘Van Eyck. An optical revolution’ unravels the myths about the artist and considers his technique, his oeuvre and his influence from a fresh perspective. This exhibition will awaken a sense of wonder among visitors, comparable to that which people would have felt when they saw his works for the first time: a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Italian Cars: “1952 Siata Daina Farina Cabriolet”

1952 Siata Daina Farina Cabriolet Classic DriverThe Siata Daina is an Italian car produced by Siata from 1950-1958. The Daina was available as a coupé or a convertible and had custom bodies by Stabilimenti Farina, Bertone and other coach builders.

From 1950 to 1958 there were approximately 50 Daina Series cars produced. However, only a few of the Series were produced after 1953. About 20 Daina Sport (coupes) are thought to have been built, only six are known to exist today. A cabriolet version called the Gran Sport comprised most of the Daina Series cars. The Gran Sport had a steel body with an aluminum hood designed by Stabilimenti Farina (3 all aluminum bodied Gran Sports 1952 Siata Daina Farina Cabriolet trunk Classic Driverwere made as well) but when they closed in 1953, Bertone took over production with a coupe model of their own design called the “Sport”.

The most well known Dainas were the Gran Sport (convertible) versions used in racing, with many calling it the “little Ferrari”. The car was built to take part in the International Grand Prix and the Mille Miglia. The Daina’s most notable finish was at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952 when Dick Irish and Bob Fergus piloted a 1,500 cc Daina Gran Sport to first in class and third overall.

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Medical Procedures: How “Gamma Knife” Surgery Treats Brain Tumors

It’s called gamma knife surgery, but there’s no cutting involved. It’s been used at Mayo Clinic for 30 years as an alternative to open brain surgery.

The patient’s head is held still during the procedure with a headframe, which also serves as a map for the radiation. Using 3D imaging — typically an MRI — as a guide, the gamma knife is targeted directly at the tumor. And with no hospital stay and minimal side effects, it’s a procedure that is efficient and can be lifesaving.

Podcast Interview: JJ Corry Irish Whiskey Founder Louise McGuane On Whiskey Bonding

Monocle 24 The EntrepreneursLouise McGuane launched Irish-whiskey label JJ Corry in 2015 after spending more than 20 years working in marketing for premium drinks brands. She has revived the practice of whiskey bonding, a popular practice in Ireland before the industry was decimated in the 1930s. McGuane sources, matures and bottles her own blends and single malts from her family farm in County Clare.

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Rare Classic Cars: “1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic” By Ghia

1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia Interior RM Sotheby'sThe Fiat 8V (or “Otto Vu”) is a V8-engined sports car produced by the Italian car manufacturer Fiat from 1952 to 1954. The car was introduced at the 1952 Geneva Motor Show. The Fiat 8V got its name because at the time of its making, Fiat believed Ford had a copyright on “V8”. With 114 made, the 8V wasn’t a commercial success, but did well in racing. Apart from the differential the car did not share any parts with the other Fiats (but many parts were made by Siata and they used them for their cars). The 8V was developed by Dante Giacosa and the stylist Luigi Rapi. The engine was a V8 originally designed for a luxury sedan, but that project was stopped.

Ghia Supersonic

Ghia designed and produced a limited run of cars named ‘Supersonic’, with special ‘jet age’ bodywork. Ghia had recently been sold by Boano to Luigi Segre, and a one-off Alfa Romeo 1900 had been built for a wealthy entrant in the 1953 Mille Miglia race. The car was displayed at the Turin show same year and the reaction inspired Segre to plan a limited production of cars based on the Otto Vu, aimed at the American market. Only eight were completed, after mechanical issues ended the project. Several of the cars were purchased by Americans; some were heavily customized and received engine transplants. An original un-restored car sold at a Scottsdale, Arizona Gooding and Company auction in January 2011 with a gavel price of US$1.55 million ($1.7M including buyer’s premium). Ghia would later use its basic body shape on Jaguar XK-120–based vehicles as well as Aston Martin. Design of ‘Supersonic’ is credited to Giovanni Savonuzzi.

From Wikipedia

History Of Food: “How The New York City Bagel Was Born” (NYU Video)

Bagels have roots in 17th-century Poland, but it’s American wheat—along with Jewish immigration to New York, labor organizing, and an epic battle between bakers—that made them what they are today. Jacob Remes, a clinical associate professor at NYU’s Gallatin School who has studied this history, says nobody has had a real New York bagel since 1967.

Performing Arts: “The Letters Of Cole Porter” (New Yorker Review)

From a New Yorker online article review:

The Letters Of Cole Porter Yale University Press November 2019Beneath his smooth, genial, almost inhumanly productive and evasive surface, there were turbulent waters. His very name, for all its air of Ivy League ease, represents a burdened legacy. The Porters were his difficult, scapegrace father’s family; the Coles were his mother’s rich and ambitious Indiana family. He was a Porter by birth but, if his mother had anything to do with it, would be a Cole for life.

Certainly, Porter’s ghost could not ask for better care than he has been given in “The Letters of Cole Porter” (Yale), edited by Cliff Eisen, a professor of music history at King’s College London, and Dominic McHugh, a musicologist at the University of Sheffield (and the editor of Alan Jay Lerner’s letters). Laid out with a meticulous scholarly apparatus, as though this were the correspondence of Grover Cleveland, every turn in the songwriter’s story is deep-dived for exact chronology, and every name casually dropped by Porter gets a worried, explicatory footnote.

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