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TALKING 'BOUT THE BAD GIRLS: REVIEW OF 'FATAL ATTRACTION' EXHIBITION, THE ATKINSON, SOUTHPORT

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TALKING ‘BOUT THE BAD GIRLS:REVIEW OF ‘FATAL ATTRACTION: LILITH & HER SISTERS’ EXHIBITION AT THE ATKINSONARTGALLERY, SOUTHPORTI never cease to be impressed by the way in which the Atkinson (a local authority-run museum and art gallery in Southport) consistently manages to deliver engaging and stylish exhibitions despite working with very limited resources.Highlights over the last few years have included shows on the ‘discovery’ of Egypt by Western tourists and archaeologists (Adventures in Egypt); the Grand Tour (The Ince Blundell Marbles); and the Vikings, as well as shows dedicated to the work of Robert Mapplethorpe and Vivienne Westwood.The Atkinson’s latest exhibition, curated by Dr Laura Eastlake from the English Department at Edge Hill University, draws on paintings, ceramics, sculpture, book illustrations (Aubrey Beardsley’s Salome) and film (Mata Hari, Cleopatra, Theda Bara as the ‘Vamp’)  to explore how the idea of the femme fatale found its way from ancient mythology int…

THE BELVEDERE TORSO: MAN OR BEAST?

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THE BELVEDERE TORSO: MAN OR BEAST?The Belvedere Torso was once one of the most famous sculptures in the world, despite being so badly-damaged that it is missing its head, both arms and both lower legs.It was held in such high esteem that the 1816 Parliamentary Select Committee, established to determine how much the British Museum should pay Lord Elgin for the Parthenon Marbles (the ‘Elgin Marbles’), asked its expert witnesses whether the sculptures from the Parthenon were in the same league as acknowledged masterpieces, like the ApolloBelvedere, the Belvedere Torso and the Laoco├Ân?

                      Plaster cast of the Belvedere Torso in the Ashmolean Cast Gallery, Oxford
In the 18th century this sculpture was so famous that art historians and Romantic poets could simply refer to it as ‘the Torso’ or ‘le Torse’ (always with a capital T), confident that their readers would be familiar with it through various media: engravings, drawings, paintings or plaster casts.It says a lot for th…

DISCOBOLOS GOES TO THE MOVIES: STATUE OF THE MONTH JUNE 2020

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DISCOBOLOS GOES TO THE MOVIES: STATUE OF THE MONTH: JUNE 2020
What did Scarlet Overkill from the 2015 Minions movie have in common with Adolf Hitler (other than a desire for world domination)?The answer is that they both managed to acquire the same statue: a marble copy the Discobolos (the Discus-Thrower).In the Minions movie we get a glimpse of Scarlet Overkill’s stash of looted art treasures, a hoard of instantly-recognisable cultural icons: Michelangelo’s David, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’sSoup Can, one of the Easter Island moai – and, representing the art of the ancient world, the marble Discobolos.

Unlike other pieces of ancient art, Discobolos doesn’t require any knowledge of the mythological or religious context in order to understand it.It’s obvious what’s going on here: it’s a nude guy (Greek athletic contests were held in the nude) in the process of throwing a discus.The statue is so widely-recognised by the public that it has been used in several adverts, including a watch adver…