Essays

Essays

Mar 26th 2018
In 1815, 69-year old Francisco de Goya painted a small self-portrait. Today it hangs in Madrid’s majestic Prado Museum. Next to it are the two enormous paintings of the uprising of May, 1808, in which Madrid’s citizens had been slaughtered by Napoleon’s troops, that Goya had painted in 1814 for King Ferdinand VII, to be hung in Madrid’s Royal Palace. One of these, of the execution of Spanish civilians by a French firing squad, is now among the most famous images in the history of Western art.
Mar 15th 2018

Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen Hawking.

Mar 3rd 2018

A lack of essential nutrients is known to contribute to the onset of poor mental health in people suffering from anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and

Feb 27th 2018

Mindfulness is big business, worth in excess of US$1.0 billion in the US alone and linked – somewhat paradoxically – to an expanding range of must have products.

Feb 23rd 2018

Reverend Jonathan Arnold, dean of divinity at Magdalen college, Oxford, has written about the “seeming paradox that, in today’s so-called secular society, sacred choral music is as

Feb 16th 2018

Orson Welles was a flamboyant showman: Andrew Sarris observed that “Every Welles film is designed around the massive presence of the artist as autobiographer…The Wellesian cinema is the cinema of magic and marvels, and everything, especially its prime protagonist,

Feb 8th 2018

Almost all of us have experienced loneliness at some point. It is the pain we have felt following a breakup, perhaps the loss of a loved one, or a move away from home. We are vulnerable to feeling lonely at any point in our lives.

Feb 6th 2018

NEW YORK – Chuck Close is an American artist, famous for painting large portraits. Severely paralyzed, Close is confined to a wheelchair. Former models have accused him of asking them to take their clothes off and of using sexual language that made them feel harassed.

Feb 1st 2018

There is a widespread perception that mental ill health is on the rise in the West, in tandem with a prolonged decline in collective well-being.

Jan 24th 2018

People over the age of 65 make up a larger percentage of the global population than ever before.

Jan 21st 2018

Donald Trump has been under constant fire from critics since he began his campaign in the summer of 2015, and his presidency has so far been perhaps the most chaotic and bizarre in recent decades.

Jan 17th 2018

PRINCETON – Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced Laura Plummer, a 33-year old English shop worker, to three years in prison for smuggling 320 doses of tramadol into the country. Tramadol is a prescription opioid available in the United Kingdom for pain relief.

Jan 9th 2018

Two American academics who lost relatives in the liquidation of Western Ukrainian political prisoners in World War II have compiled the first exhaustive account of this little-known Soviet killing spree. What happened?

Jan 9th 2018

When people experience stress, the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys release a steroid hormone called cortisol.

Jan 7th 2018

It’s January, so it’s likely that you have set yourself goals to be more physically active and less stressed in 2018. Paradoxically, better goals would be to stop worrying about how much exercise you’re getting and to stop worrying about being too stressed.

Jan 6th 2018
Paul Valéry met Edgar Degas in 1896, and the two were friends for the two decades that remained in Degas’ life – the poet, almost 30 years younger, was in awe of the older painter, whom he considered a genius, and the painter was clearly flattered by the interest of the brilliant young poet. Valéry early had the idea of writing a book about Degas, but Degas was too cantankerous to agree to the project. In the event it was not until 20 years after Degas’ death that Valéry published his reflections and recollections in a small book he titled Degas Dance Dessin. Now, on the hundredth anniversary of Degas’ death the Musee D'Orsay honors the painter with an exhibition of his art seen through the lens of his relationship with Valéry, and the themes of the poet's book.
Jan 4th 2018

Whether you get mesmerised by Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night or Albert Einstein’s theories about spacetime, you’ll probably agree that both pieces of work are products of mindblowing creativity.

Jan 3rd 2018

Ever since we learned that eighty percent of self-described "born-again" Christians supported Donald Trump's candidacy for president, there has been a discussion about how these Christians define their faith.

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