Author Archives: hickson1

About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist

Perpetuity: And then some

Just a thought Perpetuity is defined as a state of continuing forever – isn’t that wonderful? I have missed my blog – more anon – Advertisements

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Herman Posthumus: What’s Left Behind

The word ‘discard’ is a Renaissance invention, related literally to gaming and the notion of de-carding, or throwing a card away, but also used figuratively from at least 1580 and perhaps earlier in its earlier form, and perhaps even earlier, … Continue reading

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Titian’s Sisyphus: An Eternity of Doubt

I have a fondness for words with repeated soft aspirants that make them satisfying to pronounce (favourite is ‘aspidistra’).  ‘Titian’s Sisyphus’ is not only wonderful to say, it’s incredibly wonderful to look at, which, as an art historian, makes me … Continue reading

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An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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Daguerre, Dioramas and Deceptions

diorama (n.) 1823 as a type of picture-viewing device, from French diorama (1822), from Greek di- “through” (see dia-) + orama “that which is seen, a sight” (see panorama). Meaning “small-scale replica of a scene, etc.” is from 1902. Most of us are familiar with the notion of ‘diorama’ … Continue reading

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Goat-Songs: The Real Meaning of Tragedy

tragedy (n.) late 14c., “play or other serious literary work with an unhappy ending,” from Old French tragedie (14c.), from Latin tragedia “a tragedy,” from Greek tragodia “a dramatic poem or play in formal language and having an unhappy resolution,” apparently literally “goat song,” from tragos “goat” + oide “song.” The … Continue reading

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