Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
marilena: Raphael sketch fetches record $48 million at Sothe...: The rare drawing went for double its pre-sale expectations One of the greatest drawings by Renaissance master Raphael still in privat...
The rare drawing went for double its pre-sale expectations
One of the greatest drawings by Renaissance master Raphael still in private hands sold for £29.7 million ($47.9 million), an auction record for the artist in sterling terms and double pre-sale expectations.
Sotheby's auctioneers had high hopes for the 16th century "Head of an Apostle", a study for Raphael's last painting "Transfiguration" which is on display at the Vatican Museum in Rome.
When the artist died in 1520, his body was laid out in state in his studio with the Transfiguration hanging at his head.
Measuring roughly 15 inches by 11 inches (38 cm by 28 cm), the picture drawn in black chalk went on a mini-world tour prior to the London auction in a bid to drum up interest from Asia as well as Europe and North America.
"If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along," said Gregory Rubinstein, head of old master drawings at Sotheby's.
"A number of the world's greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing with its exceptional provenance."
According to Sotheby's, only two other Raphael drawings of the same calibre have been auctioned in the last 50 years - in 2009, Raphael's black chalk "Head of a Muse" sold for 29.2 million pounds at Christie's in London.
In dollar terms, that picture narrowly trumped Head of an Apostle due to fluctuating exchange rates, but since both were sold in pounds in London, Sotheby's is claiming the crown.
Head of an Apostle was from the collection at Chatsworth, the ancestral home of the 12th Duke of Devonshire who is also deputy chairman of Sotheby's. It is expected the proceeds of the sale will go towards the upkeep of the estate.
It was the last lot of the Old Master and British Paintings sale at Sotheby's which raised 58.1 million pounds overall.
The auction had been expected to total 35.6-52.9 million, although hammer prices include buyers' premiums meaning that the final tally was in line with the upper estimate.
The buyer was not identified, but the winning bid went to a member of Sotheby's staff who often represents Russian clients.
The sale extends a string of strong results by leading auction houses in recent months as wealthy collectors, including those from emerging markets like Russia, China and the Middle East, defy broader economic gloom to snap up rare treasures.
Dutch master Jan Steen's interior scene "The Prayer Before the Meal" dated 1660 sold for 5.6 million pounds, or at the lower end of expectations between 5.0 and 7.0 million.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles confirmed it had acquired "Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies", a 15th century illuminated manuscript from Flanders by Lieven van Lathem which sold for 3.8 million pounds.
There were disappointments on the night, however.
Philip the Good's finely illuminated copy of the drama "Mystere de la Vengeance" dated around 1465 had been expected to fetch 4.0-6.0 million pounds but failed to find a buyer.
Πέμπτη, 6 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
Τετάρτη, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
marilena: Cancer testing – yes or no? Either way, screen out...: To screen or not to screen, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to [refuse to] suffer The slings and arrows of o...
To screen or not to screen, that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to [refuse to] suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous over-testing,
Or to [sensibly] take arms against a sea of [diagnosed] troubles, And by opposing [hope to] end them?
With apologies to Shakespeare, his words rather lend themselves to opposite ends of an argument gathering momentum among the medical fraternity.
Is screening for early identification of the symptoms of “the Big C” vital for your health? Or is it a slippery slope to potentially damaging and invasive treatments for something that might never develop?
There’s a rapidly growing chorus of voices deeply concerned about over-testing and over-treatment. This includes Reuters health editor Ivan Oransky and, physician-author and Dartmouth Professor of Medicine, Dr H. Gilbert Welch – author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Research co-led by Professor Welch, just published in theNew England Journal of Medicine, is “the most detailed look yet at overtreatment of breast cancer”.
Their message is clear: over diagnosis is a medical misstep that can tragically do more harm than good.
The press often carries contradictory stories about preventative action. For example, an interview with Sharon Osbourne – confiding to a national daily about her “precautionary” double mastectomy – followed close on the heels of a first-person account of a routine test leading to a similar, but now deeply regretted, operation.
Schoolteacher Miriam Pryke, who regrets following medical advice, said she had since researched treatments and statistics and realised “screening finds many cancers that are not progressive and aren’t life-threatening, even if they are classed as ‘invasive’”.
She added: “I felt as if I had effectively been railroaded into a brutal treatment which may well have been unnecessary.”
“…screening prevents about 1,300 deaths per year in Britain but can also lead to about 4,000 women having treatment for a condition that would never have troubled them. This means that for every death that is prevented, three women are over-diagnosed.”
As The Lancet concludes, “information should be made available in a transparent and objective way to women invited to screening so that they can make informed decisions.”
Often missed in the “routine testing” culture is the important consideration of how different mental states might exacerbate disease. Such an impact on cancer cases was highlighted in a recent “What is Psychology?” articlerecounting three exceptional examples that “illustrate the critical role of psychological factors in physiological health.” Patients, who believed the treatment they were receiving would produce positive effects, actually experienced real health benefits, even though “the ‘treatment’ they received was nothing more than a medical sham”. Patients “who had little faith in the treatment and who felt their situation was hopeless, experienced rapid deterioration of health, even in the absence of any obvious medical cause”.
A more recent case also demonstrates the power that thoughts can have on health. But this time the patient, who had been solemnly informed by her oncologist “it was time to get her affairs in order”, experienced a full recovery from a Stage 4 cancer after deciding to forgo further treatment.
Reflecting on that decision, after 13 years of defining herself by her disease, Karen Dennissaid: “I didn’t see the point in all these scans and diagnostic work when there’s no remedy. There’s anxiety that accompanies all this testing – not only for me, but for my family and friends. I told [my family doctor], I’m feeling pretty good right now and I just want to be that way for as long as I can.”
Two years later, however, another scan found no trace of the cancer on her. Sharing what she learnt, Dennis spoke of “transcending fear”, adding she had simply resolved to “have a lot of fun and do all the things that make my heart sing…
“I never dreamed it would have any impact on my outcome, but it did.”
Following her recovery, she was convinced healing comes “from within” whether “influenced by me”, down to “luck” or a result of “divine intervention”.
Still other cancer survivors unreservedly attribute their recovery to the divine as a source of spiritual strength by which they could overcome their fear. One of the more common phrases in the Bible is “fear not”, usually associated with divine Love’s reassurance to those seeking comfort or healing in prayer.
This was certainly a message Anne Morin wanted to hear when, living under the shadows of a family history of breast cancer, she found a painful lump. For two years she prayed daily and gained spiritual insights from sacred texts, which helped her calm her fear before sleeping each night. Then there finally came a time when she found herself completely unafraid. Coincidentally, the recurring pains disappeared from then on and have not returned.
Karen and Anne present two examples among many which prompt questions about the part each of us can play in addressing disturbing diagnoses – not by rose-tinted thinking, blind faith or misplaced optimism but through identifying whatever helps us to lessen our fears.
So, back to the original question: “To screen or not to screen?”
Health professionals on both sides of the argument agree screening can spot early symptoms of a potential cancer. But if the same symptoms appear in many who will never develop the disease it makes sense to ask if it’s wise to subject so many people to invasive treatment that can be deeply distressing, both physically and emotionally.
What should also be considered is whether the process itself might be fanning the flames of fear, actually hastening the very outcome the action is intended to forestall.
While scientists diligently research such concerns, perhaps each of us can ponder another Shakespearean paraphrase: “To fear or not to fear, that is the question”.
As his great rival Milto might have written: “He who reigns within himself and rules [his] fears is more [healthy] than a king.”Tagged in: cancer, Dr H. Gilbert Welch, Ivan Oransky, Miriam Pryke, Overdiagnosed, screen, Sharon Osbourne
Τρίτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
Δευτέρα, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
marilena: More babies were named Apple, Mac and Siri in 2012...: More parents named their children "Apple," "Mac" and "Siri" in 2012. ( Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/GettyImages ) By Salvador Rodriguez ...
More parents named their children "Apple," "Mac" and "Siri" in 2012. (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/GettyImages)
The Apple empire has extended to the baby crib.
A new baby name report released this week by BabyCenter, a pregnancy and parenting information website, shows more parents named their children after Apple-related products in 2012.
The name "Apple" was used for at least six girls in 2012, twice as many as in 2011. "Mac," meanwhile, was used for at least 49 boys, up from 25 a year ago. And at least 17 girls were named "Siri" this year, up from 11 last year.
"The smart phone may just be the best parenting tool since diapers, and some moms and dads are paying homage to industry leader Apple in their choice of baby names," the baby name report says.
The names are calculated based on the 450,000 babies born in 2012 to moms registered with BabyCenter. You can see all of this year's 100 top baby names for boys and girls here.
None of the three Apple-related names came close to cracking the top 100 for either gender, but still, 17 babies named "Siri" is about 16 more than we would have expected.
Los Angeles times
marilena: Royal baby: 'This child will come to the throne': 3 December 2012 Last updated at 16:42 GMT Help The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, St James's Palace has announced. Mem...
3 December 2012 Last updated at 16:42 GMTHelp
The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, St James's Palace has announced.
Members of the Royal Family and the duchess's family, the Middletons, are said to be delighted.
A spokesman said the duchess has been admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with very acute morning sickness and is expected to stay for several days.
Royal historian Kate Williams said whether boy or girl, the child will be next in line behind Prince William in the line of succession to the throne.
marilena: Greek artists fight back against economic crisis: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20571655 2 December 2012 Artists in Greece are fighting back against cuts to arts funding,...
2 December 2012
Artists in Greece are fighting back against cuts to arts funding, as the country struggles to solve its debt crisis and impose tough austerity measures.
The lack of funding has inspired people working across a range of the arts, from theatre and music to street art.
Some artists' work is becoming more political while others are using humour to deal with cuts of up to 30%.
Mark Lowen reports from Athens.
marilena: Inside an embattled Syrian city, CNN's Arwa Damon ...: http://edition.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c1#/video/world/2012/12/02/children-fight-for-food-in-aleppo.cnn cnn
Inside an embattled Syrian city, CNN's Arwa Damon finds children scraping the bottom of pots for scraps and eating burnt food as neighborhood volunteers are swamped by hungry kids.
Κυριακή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
By Mark LowenBBC News, Athens
It may not have the grandeur of Paris or Vienna but Athens has its own oddly shabby beauty. Beneath the magnificent archaeological sites, tree-lined streets hide pockets of elegance.
However, the city is also drab and unsightly in large areas, buildings choked with the fumes of traffic and cigarettes. It is many of these walls - grey and crumbling - that have been transformed by a burgeoning trend in street art.
For as the financial crisis has transformed parts of the city for the worse - once-affluent areas now beset by crime and prostitution - it has also inspired a flourishing community of graffiti artists, brightening up the capital with their acerbic and colourful creations.
Among them is the mysteriously named Bleeps.
Often compared to the British artist Banksy, he keeps his identity secret.
On a driving tour of his work, he points out an image that shows a woman holding a sign that reads "hopeless", next to words such as "monetary system", "capitalism" and "corruption".
Another depicts a banker clutching a safe, pursued by a figure representing death. A third, entitled "Greece's economic model" shows a girl with an amputated leg.
"I was in a sense lucky to live in this difficult era, although it's difficult for me as well," he says.
"It gave me the opportunity to discuss it and create images about it. If there weren't this crisis, my art would be like a voice in the desert. Nobody would listen to it."
While Greece is strangled by the worst financial crisis in its modern history, an alternative cultural scene seems to be fighting back.
Continue reading the main story
Sofia PaschouTheatre directorWe're going to continue living and working and solving and dancing”
State funding for the arts has been slashed by 30% in the past two years but the experience of living through today's Greece has spawned new and exciting cultural ideas.
In a small theatre in the capital, a young group performs their new show called 10 Centimetres Up. They, like many, have done away with props and scenery as budgets are tightened and so they rely on their impressive physical expertise and wit.
The play portrays three eras of Greece: the 1930s, the 1960s and the modern day. It is a visual feast: the actors play different roles and brilliantly act out inanimate objects.
References to the crisis are clear: a scene from today depicts tear gas-filled protests. In another, a homeless person is shown begging for small change "because I'm hungry".
At one point, the actors form the figure of the pro-austerity German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hated by many Greeks.
"Ich liebe Griechenland, ich liebe Deutschland," says the fictional chancellor, before repeating: "No hospitals, no education, no pensions, no, no, no."
At the end, a character from the modern day decides to remain in Greece while others leave.
"The crisis gave me a push to come back to my country and do something," says director Sofia Paschou, "because I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to say.
"It's that whatever the very bad situation that we're in, we are going to stay and survive. We're going to continue living and working and solving and dancing."
She says the crisis has brought together like-minded people who want to respond through their art.
"Instead of being angry on the streets breaking things, let our anger make something more positive, interesting and useful," she says.
That anger has spread into music too.
Hip-hop has become the sound of the crisis, with groups such as Psychodrama hitting out against the status quo in their lyrics.
The lead singer, Giorgos Siatitsas, has released a track that criticises the government and the media for spreading fear. The video contains strong images of street demonstrations, heavy-handed police action and poverty.
"With the crisis, my music has become angrier," he says.
"That helps my fans to express the rage they feel too. Before, music was for entertainment. Now it has a political message. Music could inspire people to overthrow the system."
The recession has of course made things tough. Many galleries now struggle to sell their art. Big museums have cut back on security staff, leading to two major robberies this year and spending cuts have stunted important archaeological projects and excavations.
But Maria Vlazaki from the ministry of culture believes the arts scene can continue to prosper.
"This ministry always had limited funding," she says.
"Of course we have far more problems now but in difficult times, culture survives. We have a wonderful cultural heritage but we don't rely on that. We will continue to be not just a country of ancient culture but of an exciting modern one too."
With the theatre of Sophocles, the philosophy of Plato and the epic poetry of Homer, Greece's cultural legacy to the world is unrivalled.
Today, from the street to the stage to the studio, money is scarce but ideas are abundant and a new crisis culture is being born.