History

London As You’ve Never Seen It Before

“The scale and drama of the largest of these works takes your breath away. This is art as theatrical spectacle.” The works so acclaimed are a series of monumental black-and-white paintings of the London cityscape by John Virtue (b. 1947), former Associate Artist of the National Gallery, London (2003-2005). These

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The Master of Landscape

The stunning retrospective of the works of Jacob Van Ruisdael and the accompanying catalog by Seymour Slive, Jacob Van Ruisdael: Master of Landscape, receive a substantial review in the most recent edition of The New York Review of Books. What Jacob van Ruisdael’s standing was in his own time is

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Chairman of the Fed

Ben Bernanke will take over next week as Chairman of the Federal Reserve for Alan Greenspan, who is stepping down on Tuesday after more than 18 years on the job. “An extraordinary act to follow,” says Princeton Professor Alan Blinder, the Fed’s Vice Chairman under Greenspan in the mid-1990s, on

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The First Great Woman in History

Called “the first great woman in history,” Hatshepsut reigned for two decades during Egypt’s early New Kingdom in the fifteenth century BCE. First acting as regent for her young nephew Thutmose III, in 1473 BCE she assumed the title Pharaoh and exercised the full powers of the throne as senior

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The New Lion of Damascus

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad has recently become the subject of intense international scrutiny. The United Nations probe into the assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik al-Hariri has stepped up its investigation of the Syrian regime in recent weeks, after the former Syrian vice president, in an interview on al-‘Arabiyya television, claimed

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Happy 300th Birthday, Ben Franklin!

This day marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a bestselling author, the

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Spies Like Us

Back when spies were spies, they spied by the rules—with the exception perhaps of those who did their spying for totalitarian regimes. The Constitution of the Soviet Union, for example, guaranteed the privacy of correspondence, but the government still read people’s private mail. By the end of the twentieth century,

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A Symphony of a Book

“An enthralling new book,” says the Boston Globe in its recent review of Composers’ Voices From Ives to Ellington: An Oral History of American Music, by Vivian Perlis and Libby Van Cleve. The book and the two-CD set that accompanies it present a host of interviews with and about the

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Who am I? What am I doing here?

In an Op-Ed piece for the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson writes about “the pervasive insecurity that is inextricably part of today’s capitalism.” Invoking Richard Sennett’s new book The Culture of the New Capitalism, Myerson writes: “In the absence of a more structured work life, what Sennett sees is a more

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Imagining America

Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art, will air on PBS this Wednesday, December 28, 2005, from 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET. The film is a journey through the transformations that took place in 20th-century America, told through the words and work of some of the century’s most significant artists. “Anybody

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