Music & Arts

Italy gets back looted mosaic from Emperor Caligula's ship

ROME (Reuters) – A floor mosaic from one of Roman Emperor Caligula’s opulent private ships, which was stolen after World War Two, is on its way back to Italy from the United States where it has been recovered from a private collection. The first century AD marble, serpentine and porphyry mosaic came from one of Caligula’s ceremonial vessels, which was found at the bottom of Lake Nemi, near Rome, in the 1930s. The artifact, stolen from Italy’s Roman Ship Museum after the war, was seized by the New York district ...

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Harry Potter exhibition blends wizardry with history

LONDON (Reuters) – A new exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book’s publication is offering ‘muggles’ with an interest in magic the chance to view rare memorabilia, combined with historic artifacts referenced in the popular series. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic,” held in the British Library in London, features Potter memorabilia including author J.K. Rowling’s first annotated sketch of Hogwarts school, as well as her handwritten list of its teachers and subjects. As well as the items associated with Rowling and the book series, the ...

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George Saunders' 'Lincoln in the Bardo' wins 2017 Man Booker prize

LONDON (Reuters) – American author George Saunders has won the 2017 Man Booker Prize, a high-profile literary award, for his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” – a fictional account of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln burying his young son. In his acceptance speech, Saunders, 58, noted that “we live in a strange time,” adding he saw the key question of the era being whether society responded to events with “exclusion and negative projection and violence,” or “with love.” Saunders was the second consecutive American writer to win the prize, after ...

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Too racy for Louvre, sex sculpture finds home at Pompidou Centre

PARIS (Reuters) – In the end it was just too kinky for the Louvre. The world’s most visited museum shied away from displaying a sculpture that some have labeled as too sexually explicit, but the nearby Pompidou Centre on Tuesday decided the world needed to decide for itself. Standing 12 meters tall, Domestikator, a creation from Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, was originally expected to stand in the 13th century Tuileries Gardens adjacent to Paris’ Louvre museum as part of a contemporary art fair this month. But the geometric sculpture, ...

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We are closer than ever to 1930s-style totalitarianism: Atwood

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The world is closer to the dark days of the 1930s than at any time since, Canadian author Margaret Atwood said on Saturday in Frankfurt, where she was due to receive a prestigious German literary award. Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, first published in 1985, has shot back up the bestseller lists after being made into an award-winning TV series depicting a totalitarian future in a United States where women are forced into sexual servitude. [nL2N1HD17K] Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president has, for some critics, ...

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Copyright restored to poor family of Australian Aboriginal artist

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The impoverished family of Australia’s most famous Aboriginal artist, Albert Namatjira, has been given copyright to his works after years of fruitless campaigning triggered the intervention of a philanthropist. Namatjira’s vibrant water colors are internationally celebrated for the way he captured the hues of the Western Desert in the center of the country. One of his paintings was given to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 1947 on her 21st birthday and he met the queen during her 1954 coronation tour in Canberra. Dick Smith, the Australian businessman whose ...

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World's largest pink diamond expected to fetch up to $30 million at auction

LONDON (Reuters) – “The Pink Raj”, an intense pink diamond described by experts as the world’s largest, is expected to fetch up to $ 30 million when it is auctioned in Geneva next month. The stone, which weighs just over 37 carats, was displayed by auction house Sotheby’s in London this week. “It is a wonderful shape. It is a cushion modified diamond, with a lot of brilliance, a lot of facets, when you move it around and sort of have it on your finger,” Sotheby’s senior jewelry specialist Daniela ...

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Stars of British art world donate works for Grenfell fire survivors

LONDON (Reuters) – A group of Britain’s most successful contemporary artists has donated valuable works to sell at a charity auction for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed about 80 people at a London social housing block in June. Home to a close-knit, multi-ethnic community, the 24-storey tower in a deprived housing estate was reduced to a charred ruin by the inferno that engulfed it in the middle of the night. Many survivors have yet to be rehoused and are still living in hotels. The charity auction, ...

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Da Vinci portrait of Christ expected to fetch $100 million at auction

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting and one of fewer than 20 by the Renaissance artist known to still exist is hitting the auction block, Christie’s announced on Tuesday. “Salvator Mundi,” an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500, is expected to sell for about $ 100 million at Christie’s in November, making it among the most highly-valued works ever to be sold at auction. “This is truly the Holy Grail of art rediscoveries,” said Alan Wintermute, Christie’s senior specialist for ...

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Paris exhibition charts Picasso's 'year of wonders'

PARIS (Reuters) – Some of Pablo Picasso’s greatest works go on display in Paris this week, in an exhibition that charts a pivotal year in which he cemented his status as a titan of 20th-century art. “Picasso 1932: Erotic Year”, chronicles the Spanish artist’s prolific creativity over those 12 months, referred to in the art world as his “year of wonders”. Picasso produced more than 300 works of art in 1932 and the exhibition at Paris’ Musee Picasso features over 100 of them. They include the masterpiece “The Dream” – ...

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