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Culture

Essays and videos on the arts, literature, travel, rituals and celebrations
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Life stages

What Michelangelo’s late-in-life works reveal about his genius – and his humanness

13 minutes

Intricate artwork of robed women with long, flowing hair in a forest, surrounding a glowing, veiled woman adorned with flowers.
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Beauty and aesthetics

All aquiver

The Decadent movement taught that you should live your life with the greatest intensity – a dangerous and thrilling challenge

Kate Hext

Two wooden chairs with a unique, organic design stand in a lush garden surrounded by green plants and yellow flowers. A small tree in the background appears to be pruned in an artistic manner, enhancing the natural aesthetic.
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Design and fashion

Sitting on the art

Given its intimacy with the body and deep play on form and function, furniture is a ripely ambiguous artform of its own

Emma Crichton Miller

Ancient cave painting depicting bison and other animals, primarily in red and black hues, on a textured stone surface that shows visible cracks.
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Archaeology

Why make art in the dark?

New research transports us back to the shadowy firelight of ancient caves, imagining the minds and feelings of the artists

Izzy Wisher

Watercolour painting of a landscape with a vivid yellow sky, a band of orange clouds, and a purple mountain. The foreground is dark with indistinct foliage.
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Music

The peculiar beauty of a song caught between composition and improvisation

3 minutes

Artist painting vibrant, abstract artwork on large canvases in a studio, with paint buckets, a stool, and a folding chair nearby.
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Art

‘If you’re creative, why can’t you create a solution?’ One artist’s imaginative activism

17 minutes

Painting of a nude woman standing on a seashell, with two figures blowing wind from the left and a woman offering a cloak on the right.
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Art

More than breathtaking, ‘The Birth of Venus’ signalled an aesthetic revolution

19 minutes

Detailed beaded artwork depicting two figures with dark hair and cheerful expressions, adorned with vibrant blue and gold beads.
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Rituals and celebrations

The spectacular Mardi Gras artworks born of a unique New Orleans tradition

16 minutes

Marble statue depicting two figures, one reaching upward with flowing hair, set against a detailed, ornate ceiling in a classical style room.
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Art

The overlooked polymath whose theatrical oeuvre made all of Rome a stage

30 minutes

Two people stand beside a sign that reads “What is the line between us?”, gesturing towards a partition with another person’s hand visible.
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Art

The irreverent duo who thumbed their noses at the Soviet Union and the US art world

11 minutes

A rich Tudor-era outfit with elaborate brocade, fur trimming and jewellery, featuring ornate sleeves, a belt, and a robe with intricate patterns.
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Art

Why a forcefully phallic portrait of Henry VIII is a masterful work of propaganda

6 minutes

A man in an apron operates a large wooden printing press wheel in an artisan workshop filled with tools, shelves, and a table.
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Design and fashion

From spark of inspiration to final press – how William Blake built a book of poetry

8 minutes

Close-up of a leafcutter ant cutting a vibrant green and pink leaf with distinct veins, showcasing the intricate patterns and the ant’s detailed body.
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Animals and humans

An artist and ants collaborate on an exhibit of ‘tiny Abstract Expressionist paintings’

5 minutes

Abstract painting of four figures with black hair and blue clothing, each with red marks on their faces, framed by a beige background and white clouds.
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Art

Inside the unique creative space where ‘outsider’ artists find their form

14 minutes

A lively medieval village scene with men and women dancing and socialising in colourful traditional clothing on a grassy area.
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Art

Why European artists shifted their focus from power to peasants in the 16th century

5 minutes

A person observes a large, abstract red painting in a gallery with a red gradient background and a small arrow sign to the left.
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Art

Negative capability

When it comes to our complicated, undecipherable feelings, art prompts a self-understanding far beyond the wellness industry

Aparna Chivukula

“Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ triptych depicting paradise, earthly pleasures, and hell with a multitude of intricately detailed figures.”
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Art

Earthly delights

Noticing first one then many parrots, peacocks, owls and more birds in Old Master paintings taught me to truly see the world

Leanne Ogasawara

Person carving angel figures in stone with various chisels and brushes on a dusty table.
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Art

From a pencil sketch to cherubs dancing in stone – recreating a Donatello work

7 minutes

Ancient Greek marble relief of a centaur engaging in combat with a human, displaying intricate muscle details and dynamic movement on a stone background.
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Art

All those naked Greeks…

Men in ancient Greek art exercise, fight battles, pursue lovers and mourn lost friends, all without their pants on. Why?

Sarah Murray

A sepia sketch of a pensive person with the words “happy” and “for ever” overlaid in red and blue text.
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Stories and literature

What makes John Keats’s ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ so enduringly powerful?

10 minutes

A traditional Noh theatre mask lies on a table, surrounded by pottery and art supplies in a workshop. A person works in the blurred background.
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Dance and theatre

How a Noh mask-maker summons a lifelike face from a single block of wood

16 minutes

Three figures are visible through dense fog, with two figures raising their arms and the middle figure standing with hands at sides.
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Art

The art of rules

Conceptual art often confounds. The key is to understand the rules of the artwork and the aesthetic experiences they yield

Sherri Irvin

Black and white portrait of an elderly man sitting next to a child with a hat, who is holding fingers to their face. Both are looking directly at the camera.
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Art

David Goldblatt captured the contradictions of apartheid in stark black and white

15 minutes

A man with glasses and a beard, smiling and holding up a sketch of a person, seated outside near a brick wall and an open door.
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Love and friendship

When drawing your muse hundreds of times becomes an exercise in love

7 minutes