Friday, 13 April 2012
Edvard Munch's masterpiece The Scream goes on display in London for a week from today, before it's sold at auction in New York. A Sotheby's spokesperson has suggested the artwork's price tag could exceed £50m. Sue Prideaux, biographer and author of Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream discussed the great artist on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, explaining that Munch was hitting 30 when he painted the work and "incredibly unsuccessful as an artist". "He had insanity in his family," she explains, "his sister had just been committed to a madhouse" and he too feared he would go mad. Prideaux's latest biography Strindberg: A Life is available now.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power is the first book to examine the cultural products and production methods of the Stalin cult. Jan Plamper reconstructs a hidden history linking artists, party patrons, state functionaries and ultimately Stalin himself in the alchemical project that transformed a pock-marked Georgian into the embodiment of global communism. This interview with the author is part of joint project with Russian History Blog. Please visit the blog to join a discussion among several scholars on the significance of the Stalin cult (beginning 28 March 2012).
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Were the ancient Olympic games anything like the competitions we know today? Neil Faulkner's A Visitor's Guide to the Ancient Olympics transports us to the games of 388 B.C., providing a lively guided tour of the ancient Greek Olympics and bringing to life the sights and sounds (and smells) of the competition. Reading from his book, Neil Faulkner describes boxing at the ancient olympics, a far more violent and gruesome spectacle than its modern equivalent.