Art in The Week That Was

A selection of creative current affairs and events which have hit the headlines…


Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ has gone on show this week at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

This week the provenance of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvatore Mundi’  has again been under debate.  Previously thought to have been brought over from France by 17th-Century Princess Henrietta Maria when she married Charles I in 1625, it is now suggested that it was in fact brought over by James – 3rd Marquis of Hamilton – between 1638 and 1641.  Period specialist Jeremy Wood posits the new idea in his essay – ‘Buying and Selling Art in Venice, London and Antwerp c. 1637 – 52′ which was recently published by the Walpole Society.  The work includes a detailed inventory of art found in the Marquis’ apartments.   The suggestion is backed by leading expert Margaret Dalivalle who stated that the inventory entry…

‘… sounds feasible to me… given the company it kept; it was placed among paintings of prestigious Della Nave and Priuli provenance.’.

The timber panel sculpture was constructed with the help of structural engineering experts, Ramboll. Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud described the piece as a ‘fine emblem… of a healthy, creative, compassionate mind.’.

It was announced yesterday that a giant head is to be constructed on London’s South Bank in order to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Entitled ‘Head Above Water’, the 9m-high sculpture was designed by Brit Steuart Padwick as a symbol of hope and compassion for those coping with the struggle associated with such emotional challenges.  It will be set in place during London Design Week (September) and will be lit up at night with various iridescent colours to represent mood changes.

British industrial designer Sir Kenneth Grange stated:-

‘At last one of the major issues of our times, so often swept under the carpet, gets to be shouted from the rooftops and that cheers me greatly.’.


The rainbow steps at the Batu Temple, Malaysia, which still require official consent according to some quarters.

A furore broke out concerning the recently-facelifted staircase of the Batu Caves Temple, Kuala Lumpur.  The steps have been painted in a glorious technicolour rainbow palette, drawing captivated tourists and worshippers alike.  Unfortunately, the various temple conservation organisations are at odds over whether the amendment is, in fact, legal.

Whilst Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple Devasthanam committee chairman Tan Sri Nadarajah insisted the necessary approval had been sought and granted, the country’s National Heritage Registry (JWN) is not so sure.  Due to the paintwork not being ‘in keeping’ with the temple’s surroundings, the centre could be delisted as a heritage site.


The ‘Selfie of the Year’ taking risky self-promotion to new heights!

Dubbed the ‘Selfie of the Year’, an image of a pilot apparently taking his own selfie – whilst hanging out of the plane he is flying – has hit social media of late.  In recent years the selfie craze has gone to increasingly risky extremes to capture ‘that’ shot.  Infact, some unfortunate selfie subjects have found themselves listed in the Darwin Awards as a result of their drastic media actions.  Be careful, people!

During her interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy this week, TV presenter and actor Jameela Jamil stated: ‘Airbrushing and changing my ethnicity is bad for my mental health – it’s not just bad for the mental health of the girls looking at it.’.

TV presenter and actor Jameela Jamil spoke out this week on the negative effects of photographic retouching.  During an interview with Channel 4‘s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the frank celebrity lambasted certain magazines for making her skin tone appear lighter.

‘People have made me look white in so many of the magazines and campaigns I’ve shot for… People change my nose to make it look more like a little Caucasian nose, and they’ve changed the colour of my skin to make it lighter and to make me look more acceptable perhaps to a Caucasian audience.  It hurts my feelings.’. 

Debate around airbrushing has previously concentrated on the negative emotional effects this can have on the viewer and their self-image.  Little has been discussed on the resulting impact on the subject’s own self-perception.


The Weekend at The Asylum (aka Lincoln’s Steampunk Festival) featured events at Lincoln Castle, as well as the ‘Bazaar Electica’ – the world’s largest Steampunk market…

Thousands of visitors have attended the Lincolnshire Steampunk Festival this week.  Steampunk is a mixture of Victorian costumes and vintage science fiction.  Festival organiser John Naylor commented:-

‘Imagine 19th Century history with science fiction – such as Jules Verne and HG Wells – mashed up with modern culture, modern values and loads and loads of imagination…’.

Hosted by The Victorian Steampunk Society, the largest such event in Europe ran the gamut of creative genres via art, literature, theatre, comedy, and dazzling fashion!  The highlight of the festival was the Annual Empire Ball, where attendees went all out with their full-on Steampunk costumes.


Tilda Swinton appeared at the Venice Film Festival this week to promote new film ‘Suspiria’ by critically-acclaimed director – Luca Guadagnino.

The Venice Film Festival which started this week gave rise to some innovative fashion creations shown on the red carpet.  Notable for her unusual choices, Tilda Swinton wore a scarlet, frill-collared gown with thigh-high splits.  The colour also proved popular for 50 Shades of Grey and Suspiria actress Dakota Johnson.  Model Alek Wek sported a voluminous, strapless peach number, and actress Chloe Moretz (‘Suspiria’ co-star) stood out for her interesting prints teamed with Afghan footwear.  Textural elegance was teamed with feminine rose pink by actress Naomi Watts in her Abito Armani, strapless gown.

It has also been announced that The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress – along with a replica of Prince Harry’s Household Cavalry (or ‘Blues and Royals’) wedding uniform – will go on display at Windsor Castle from 26th October to 6th January.  The exhibition will then travel to Holyrood, Edinburgh from 14th June to 6th October next year.  The display – entitled ‘A Royal Wedding’ – will also showcase the duchess’s 5-metre-long veil which is made from silk tulle and embroidered with the floral symbols of every country in the Commonwealth; along with the tiara which was loaned by The Queen especially for the occasion.




[Credits:  Feature image – ‘Head Above Water’ sculpture by Brit Steuart Padwick (Evening Standard);;; Evening Standard;;;;;;;;;;]



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