Showing posts from April, 2014

An Easter celebration for Vlad the Impaler of the House of Dracula

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, son of Vlad II Dracul of the Order of the Dragon, was not a forgiving man.
"I have not the forgiving vein," said he to himself, when he succeeded to the princely throne ten years after his father's assassination.
"Now that I have my throne, my father's aristocratic killers will feel the full force of my wrath and vengeance. But in what devilish way shall I kill them? I know, I will skewer them alive on stakes like I saw in Turkey during my long exile there."

He slated his revenge for Easter Sunday 1457, as on that holy day the whole of the nobility would be gathering at the royal palace to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.

The day duly arrived, and with the religious ceremony over, the 200 guests made their way to the banqueting hall to glut their appetites on the food and wine graciously provided by their host.
"I like the chicken on sticks," remarked one of the guests, unconscious of the dramatic irony in his choice…

Tintoretto and the St. Mark paintings

'Beautiful colours can be bought in the shops on the Riato, but good drawings can only be bought from the casket of the artist's talent with patient study and nights without sleep.'  Tintoretto.
Born Jacopo Robusti in Venice in 1518, and called Il Tintoretto because his father was a dyer by trade, Tintoretto was part of the triad of great 16th century Venetian artists, along with Titian and Veronese. 

Tintoretto trained in the workshop of Titian and was first mentioned as a master in 1539.

Between 1548 and 1563, he painted several large-scale pictures of the Miracle of St. Mark. According to the painter and engraver Marco Boschini, he would use small wax figures to create the scene that he envisaged in his mind, and then experiment with light sources.

This picture was one offour St. Mark subjects that Tintoretto was commissioned to paint in the Scuola de S. Marco, the others being St. Mark's Body Brought to Venice; Finding of the Body of St. Mark; St. Mark Rescuing a Sarac…

Charles Gallo : Anarchist !

"Long live the Republic! Long live anarchy! Death to the bourgeois magistrature! Long live dynamite!"
Such was the defiant cry of Charles Gallo at his arraignment before the Court of Assizes in Paris on 26 June 1886 following his failed bomb attack on the Paris Stock Exchange almost four months earlier.

"I refuse to be judged by a tribunal of bourgeois!" he hurled at the court after being told he would stand trial three weeks later.

Gallo's life had an austere beginning. His young mother abandoned him at birth, and he spent his first ten years with a family of poor peasants. 
As a young man, though studious, he was not academically gifted, and turned to forging counterfeit money to make an income. But all he got for his pains was five years imprisonment.
Upon his release from prison he searched out the haunts frequented by anarchists, and began to formulate in his head a daring act in one of the shines of the hated bourgeoisie. "What shall …