December 24, 2012

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 24

I have chosen another of my very favourite Christmas-related fifteenth-century works for the final entry in this advent calendar: Larger version here And this is the whole thing: Adoration of the Magi Gentile da Fabriano 1423 From the Strozzi Chapel, the Church of Sta. Triniata,...

December 23, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Arsole

Today, it’s time for something a bit silly. ” This is the second-best pun in the whole of chemistry: arsole, pronounced exactly the way you think. Arsole is actually its correct systematic name. I mean, it wasn’t called that for a joke. If you apply...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 23

The Circumcision of Christ Master of the Tucher Altar c.1440-50 Mixed Media For the day before Christmas Eve, I bring you a very naked baby Jesus indeed, and a subject that we might not today expect anyone to have painted. But it was an important...

December 22, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Nicotine

We’ve covered two popular recreational drugs, ethanol and caffeine, so let’s look at a third. Nicotine is the major active ingredient in tobacco, and is usually ingested by burning tobacco leaves and inhaling the smoke. The nicotine is absorbed through the membranes of the mouth...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 22

Presentation at the Temple Master of the Polling Panels 1444 Mixed technique on wood This painting has the same subject as the scene from Melchior Broederlam’s Dijon Altarpiece that I used for the first day of this calendar. The painter’s name is unknown, and so...

December 21, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Silicon Dioxide

Yesterday we took a whirlwind tour through liquid crystals. Today, let us consider another strange phase of matter – glass. Technically speaking, ‘glass’ is actually the name of a phase just like ‘solid’ and ‘gas’ are phases, but in common usage glass means a mixture...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 21

The Virgin of the Rose Garden Stephan Lochner c.1448 51 x 40cm This is a very courtly image, where the Virgin and Child are surrounded by musicians, in a reflection of the kind of entertainment available to contemporary royal women. Another courtly touch is her...

December 20, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Communication

Communication is a big thing in roller derby. Skaters in each team tend to shout quite a lot at each other, or make signals to tell their team-mates what tactic to do so the other team don’t understand it. Referees have special hand signals for...

Advent Chemistry: Liquid Crystals

This is 4-cyano-4′-pentylbiphenyl, and it’s a liquid crystal. Now, to cover liquid crystals properly would take up another Advent’s worth of posts, so I’m not going to. I’m going to simplify things horribly. I’m going to tell you lies-to-readers, in the same way that teachers...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 20

Virgin and Child Enthroned Hans Memling c.1480-1490 Oil on panel, 81 x 55 cm For a closeup, click here and then click on the image. This is one of Hans Memling’s lesser known works, probably because it isn’t kept with the canon of his great...

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