Headlines: Fire, Dali and Darkness

1) Owner of Destroyed Zoffany Painting may be Fully Remibursed by National Trust

An 18th-century painting by Johann Zoffany


The government of the U.K. is likely to pay a record-setting £4 million in insurance money to cover the value of a painting that was destroyed in a fire. The painting was Johann Zoffany’s “The Mathew Family at Felix Hall, Kelvedon, Essex.” Painted in the 1760’s, the work pictured a young George Mathew, the descendants of whom were its owners. It had been insured against complete loss by the National Trust while on loan to Clandon Park mansion, a public country house that was destroyed by fire in April 2015. Several other valuable paintings were also destroyed in the fire, but did not have as extensive an insurance policy.


2) Toledo Museum Offers "Flashlight Tours"

A patron at the Toledo Art Museum viewing a piece during a flashlight tour


The Toledo Museum of Art held a series of novel flashlight tours on Wednesday, allowing patrons to view works of art in a whole new light. During the tours, all of the museum lights remained off and groups of visitors moved through the museum space with hand-held flashlights, under the guidance of a docent. According to museum staff, the goal of the tours is to educate visitors about the effect that lighting and environment has on the look of a painting. In many cases, the stark light of a flashlight can have a transformative effect on the look of a figure or the overall mood of a classical painting. The Toledo Museum offers these specialized tours on a seasonal basis.


3) A Look Inside Salvador Dali's Cookbook

The cover of Salvador Dali's cookbook Les Diners de Gala


Now that the holiday feasting is nearly over, enjoy this slightly cutting review of Salvador Dali’s surrealist cookbook “Les Dîners de Gala.” The book, originally published in 1971 and now enjoying a reprint, features bizarre recipes accompanied by equally strange collage works by Dali himself. The article itself looks into the relationship between the surrealist movement and food, noting that Dali perhaps missed the mark in creating a recipe book that merely made food seem bizarre, instead of provocative and truly revolutionary – as the surrealist movement hoped to be.


4) Museums Celebrate Anniversay of Decriminalizing Homosexuality

Marble busts of Antinous and Emperor Hadrian at the British Museum


On the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain, numerous museums and cultural institutions are taking the opportunity to showcase related works and artefacts. In celebration, the British Museum is showcasing items from its archives that shed light on hidden or overlooked gay histories, such as the same-sex relationships of Roman emperors. The Tate Britain will also be participating, and the National Trust will be sponsoring numerous events throughout the area. The 1967 Sexual Offenses Act decriminalized private homosexual acts between consenting adults in Britain and Wales, though Scotland and Northern Ireland did not follow suit until the early 80s.

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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