Tag Archives: Art

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime

Living Room Cigarettes by Corinne May Botz Credit: Phaidon

I’m the proud owner of the complete Poirot DVD box set. It’s pretty addictive watching a moustachioed David Suchet (as Hercule Poirot) solving crimes with his little grey cells in overdrive. However, I’m under no illusions that real crime is anywhere near as neatly solved as Agatha Christie would have us believe.

Whilst Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime is Poirot-less, it does contain more than enough genuine artefacts and stories to keep whodunit fans in suspense. I’d already read crime writer Val McDermid’s book (of the same title), which acts as the official companion to the exhibition, so I had an inkling about some of the displays and their place in the history of forensics. If you haven’t already bought the book and don’t have time to read it beforehand, try to get your hands on a signed copy from the Wellcome shop. read more

Madrid’s Best Art Museums: Prado vs. Thyssen

Artwork from the Prado and the Thyssen including Bosch and O'Keefe

The Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum are two of the main attractions in Madrid’s Museum Triangle and they’re featured in every decent guidebook to the city. I was lucky enough to spend a few hours in each one during a trip to Madrid, but I know not every tourist has the opportunity to do this, especially on a tight schedule or budget. That means it’s time to weigh up the options and compare the two, from their collections to their visitor experiences, and the nitty gritty of opening hours and ticket options. read more

Temple Touring, Cave Diving and Turtle Spotting: The Best Things to Do in Mexico

Mexican street scene with colourful buildings and stalls. Credit Richard Cawood via Flickr

It’s a country with beaches, tropical rainforests, mountains and deserts, dotted with Mayan temples and vibrant cities; yes, Mexico is anything but one-dimensional. One minute you could be listening to a mariachi band in a zócalo (town square), the next you could be wandering through a national park or getting to grips with water sports.

With so much to see and do, it can be hard to build your perfect itinerary. So, to kick-start your Mexican holiday inspiration, I’ve narrowed down some of the best things you should do during your trip. read more

A Surreal Trip to Rome’s Wax Museum

Head sections of historical figure models in Rome museum

Imagine a world where the Mona Lisa is placed next to Stalin and Oscar Wilde jostles for space alongside Pope John XXIII. Nearby, poor old Christopher Columbus is lumped beneath Adolf Hitler. This weird state of affairs is the norm inside Rome’s Museo delle Cere, or Wax Museum.

My sister, who’s been to both Madame Tussaud’s and the lesser known (but much more laughable) Louis Tussaud’s, knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into when she suggested we step inside and hand over €9 each. However, I wasn’t quite so prepared for the comedy value ahead. read more

Horst: A Global Photographer

Perspolis Persia image of bull and palace 1950

Think a fashion photographer has nothing to do with travel? Think again. A new exhibition at the V&A pays tribute to one of the best international photographers of the 20th century, known for his eye-catching fashion images such as Mainbocher Corset (1939), but with a wealth of travel experience under his belt too.

The German-born artist known as Horst P. Horst mainly split his time between the hectic cities of Paris and New York and managed to squeeze in quite a few breathtaking escapades during his 93 years. Here are some of the geographical highlights of Horst: Photographer of Style read more

Ravaged at M Museum, Leuven

Fernando Bryce Leuven

Start reading up on the history of Leuven and you’ll quickly realise this city is a survivor, with the scars of two world wars to prove it. Buildings like the university library, which I touched on in my previous post, have their own stories to tell, but it’s one of the newest additions to the city that has taken up the theme of conflict and explored it through art. Enter the M Museum Leuven and its Ravaged exhibition (referred to as Ravage in Flemish), ripping through scenes of destruction dating from the 15th to the 21st century. read more

A Sense of Brussels: From Magritte to Her Majesty

City skyline of Brussels

Last week I touched down in Belgium’s capital for a few days of much-needed culture, and I found Brussels to be the perfect mix of quirky art, intense architecture and intriguing history.

There’s so much that I took in during my time here that it’s hard to work out where to start, so I’m diving straight in with some of the key sights that I encountered during my visit, armed with a 24 hour Brussels Card to give me free access to a whole host of museums, along with free public transport. read more

Photo Essay: Bristol’s Graffiti Scene

You don’t need to be a fan of street art to enjoy Bristol, but it helps. In the homeland of the mysterious Banksy, who inadvertently brought graffiti chic to the masses (by way of the mechandisers who made money out of reproducing his designs), it’s only right that there should be a focus on the city walls as a canvas.

As some of these photos reveal, I spent a lot of time in Nelson Street, which – as I’ve recently discovered – is home to Britain’s largest street art project, called See No Evil. This project involved 72 artists from around the world contributing graffiti, which is permanently displayed here. read more

Photo Essay: The Unforgettable Sedlec Ossuary

“This place gives me the creeps,” said the American tourist next to me. “It’s so ghoulish. Don’t you agree?”

Let’s just say I didn’t. The Sedlec Ossuary, situated an hour’s train ride from Prague in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kutna Hora, was one of my main reasons for visiting the Czech Republic. This is the world-famous resting place for some 40,000 bodies, arranged artistically by a wood carver, at the orders of a local family back in 1870. read more

More Sauce, Please, We’re British: The Donald McGill Museum, Isle of Wight

Saucy seaside postcards might look a bit tame these days when compared to today’s pop culture references (Miley Cyrus’ twerking and sledgehammer licking antics, anyone?) but, back in the 1950s, the tongue-in-cheek images produced by artist Donald McGill were seen as risque and even borderline offensive. Most of the British public – readily stereotyped as sexually repressed and a bit dull – couldn’t get enough of his work and  they lapped up the puns, however the heavy-handed censors of the 1950s weren’t far behind. read more