The Infill: 25 June 2015

Out of touch? Out of the loop? Let us fill you in…

The supermodel edition

Just in time for summer, we’ve got a bevy of beauties for you. But if you’re thinking ‘swimsuit edition’ then you’re going to be sorely disappointed, because these lovely ladies are old. Very old. Some are quite ancient, in fact, like the 2,500-year-old Amazon discovered on a Greek vase (yes, that chap sat on a horse is apparently an Amazon), the 2,000-year-old Ethiopian ‘Sleeping Beauty’ striking a pose for all eternity in her newly unearthed grave, and the similarly somnolent sarcophagus-topping Ariadne, all 1,700 pounds of her having been – head scratchingly – stolen from Italy and taken to the US some thirty years ago. Nearly adolescent in comparison are the medieval-era ‘sex-crazed nuns of Oxford‘ – who may or may not have been of supermodel calibre, but they certainly seemed to be popular with the boys – and the nearly perfectly intact 350-year-old corpse of the charming Louise de Quengo, Lady of Brefeillac. Rounding out the gallery are some 19th-century Japanese courtesans photographed in colour performing audacious acts like (gasp!) brushing their hair.

Times are tough

What’s a former banker to do when he’s run up over three quarters of a million pounds in debts and has to file for bankruptcy? Refuse to sell his Turner painting worth £20,000,000, for one thing. And then do something like flaunt it on television. Careless or brazen? We’re not quite sure.

It’s no secret that the world of academia suffers when the economy’s not great.* Yet an MIT professor recently found guilty of bank robbery did it not because he could no longer afford patches for his tweed jacket, but rather in the name of art. Perhaps he’s also got a £20,000,000 Turner under his bed?

*but certainly not as painfully as bankers do, poor dears

We still can’t get enough of light and colour

We continue to celebrate the fact that 2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies and, if we’re honest, we’ll probably do so for the rest of the year. What can we say? We’ll take any excuse for a party. And in honour of the colour that will characterise our skin after one day on a foreign beach this summer, we serve you up the lovely shades that can produced through dyeing with safflowers, covered with a rich layer of cochineal, all lightly dusted with rose petals from the dome of the Pantheon. Enjoy!

Well now, that’s a bit embarrassing

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: this is why you don’t visit museums after boozy lunches on sun-soaked islands. We can only hope the Hayward Gallery, with its robotic beds, hasn’t got any ancient artefacts perched precariously on rickety wooden tables in the middle of the room.

Another piece of sage advice we’re wont to dispense is this: keep close tabs on your knickers. But when someone cavorts with an evil mass murderer, perhaps she deserves to have her big pants go on sale in a small town on Ohio and subsequently get plastered all over the internet.

Now, we’re going to turn the spotlight on you for a moment. We know there’s a deep, dark secret you’ve been hiding. In fact, we noticed it a while back and have been meaning to talk to you about it, but have been waiting for the right moment. Look, there’s no shame in admitting it – we’re all friends here. So take a deep breath, close your eyes and repeat after us: ‘I don’t know what a microfading tester is.’ There! Don’t you feel better? Wasn’t that cathartic? Indeed it was, and to reward you we’re going to let the Getty relieve you of your ignorance on this matter. Who knows, you might even end up wanting to submit it as your own ‘My Favourite Tool‘ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

They’re ba-ack!

No, not supernatural beings, but rather those pesky felines we’ve been actively trying to avoid in recent Infills. But luckily these cats are in blog name only and they’ve tapped out a very instructive post on the always tricky subject of tracing paper conservation. Keen to read another cat-related report on a conservation treatment? Believe it or not, we’ve got one. Sort of. It’s about the conservation of woodblock prints from the country that allegedly domesticated cats. We admit we’re reaching a bit with that one (nobody manipulates information to force it into a theme like The Infill!), but this one is 100% pure cat conservation: it’s Tigger!

Speaking of what’s ba-ack: remember long ago in 2001 when the Taliban destroyed those massive Buddhas carved into a cliff face in Afghanistan? (Oh, if we only knew then what madness was yet to come…) In the last Infill we reported on the ‘restoration’ of lost Iraqi art, and now the Bamiyan Buddhas have been temporarily ‘restored’ using, yes, our favourite substance of the year: light.

Your video treat

There were so many goodies since our last Infill we couldn’t decide on just one, but we’ve whittled it down to two from which you can take your pick (but only one now – one mustn’t be greedy when it comes to treats!): a 360-degree tour of the recently restored stained-glass windows in the Sainte-Chapelle chapel in Paris (make sure you view in full-screen mode for the complete, dazzling effect), or a fascinating look into the little-known process of Japanese collotype. Oh, what the heck? We’re feeling generous, so go ahead and watch them both!

The final word…

… goes to Jewish studies scholar Dr. Siam Bhayro. We all love a good palimpsest discovery, but never more so than when the article includes a quote like Dr Bhayro’s: “The Galenic system is completely bonkers”… and the accompanying photo says it all!

That’s it for now, kids. Get out there and enjoy your summer! Or get back to work if you’re slacking at your bench. Hugs, The Infill

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