Category: history

In this issue, we celebrate the lives, achieve…

In this issue, we celebrate the lives, achievements, and contributions of medieval women. From the poetry of early sixteenth century Korean muse Hwang Jini, to the bravery of Maria Comnena in the crusader states, to the magic of Iceland’s Þorbjǫrg, the myth of “Queen Maker” Melusine, and the piety Saint Bridget of Sweden, we criss-cross the globe to learn more about women’s lives, and challenge the myth that they lived in an age where they were viewed solely as second class citizens. We also examine the ways in which women navigated work in fourteenth century France, how the changing definitions of witchcraft impacted women’s lives, and how perceptions of women evolved in medieval literature. Last but not least, we talk to the Five-Minute Medievalist, and share a book excerpt with you! We hope you enjoy this exciting, jam-packed issue!

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Degenerate Art

Degenerate Art

The art scene during the Weimar Republic was one that was flourishing. Many engaged in the radical Modernist culture which was exploring the limits of art. When Adolf Hitler came into power, however, he launched an essentially immediate assault on what the Nazi party deemed “degenerate art.” What constituted as degenerate art included a number of racial, ideological, political, and philosophical reasoning. For example, Jewish artists were a natural target. The only approved art was work that pushed Nazi propaganda. Artists that were a threat were exiled, forbidden from creating work, or sent to camps; left to die.

“For the Nazis, modernism was not just an inferior or distasteful style. It wasn’t even just non-Aryan. Modernism was a swindle – a dangerous lie perpetrated by Jews, communists, and even the insane to contaminate the body of German society.”

Jason Farago, The Guardian

The most famous example of this was the 1937 Munich exhibition, which was created solely to publicly shame any art that had fallen under this category. This was of course not the first or only shame event, but it had an enormous attendance. During this exhibition, the artworks were accompanied by Nazi slogans ridiculing them. One of the most famous quotes included Hitler’s description of Modernist works as “filth for filth’s sake.” The setting did everything to bring about a dislike to the art: hanging it unevenly against graffitied walls, covered in insults directed at the works. Creating connotations to that of a freak show.

Surrealists, Dadaists, Cubists, Expressionists, and so on, were targets. To name just some of the artists that had their works stolen and shamed included that of Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Salvador Dalí (1904, 1989), and those part of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke (The Bridge), such as Emil Nolde (1867-1956). The effect of Nazi rule on many artists’ lives is a tragedy. Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) was marked as a “degenerate,” his works taken from museums and displayed in Degenerate Exhibitions. He committed suicide in 1938. Avante-garde artist Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler (1899-1940), was forcibly sterilized and then murdered under the Nazi euthanasia program. Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944) documented his fear of living under Nazi rule within his works. He was sent to Auschwitz and murdered.

Is it important to remember this act of destruction during Nazi Germany, because not only did this destroy the artworks itself, it destroyed lives. This art was part of the livelihood and heritage of so many people. By stealing, destroying, and humiliating these works, the Nazi party aimed to systematically erase the very memory and ideas of so many individuals.

Above: Works by artists that were considered “degenerate.” The Blue Window, 1913, by Henri Matisse l Self Portrait, c. 1930, by Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler l The Burial, 1915, by Emil Nolde l Descent from the Cross, 1917, by Max Beckmann l Street, Berlin, 1913, by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner The Dance of the Skeletons, 1944, by Felix Nussbaum

Death of Francesca da Rimini and of Paolo Mala…

Death of Francesca da Rimini and of Paolo Malatesta, 1870, by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889)

The tale of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta is a romantic tragedy, and has been portrayed in paintings, sculptures, and even Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy.’

In the 13th century, Francesca da Rimini was forcibly married to Giovanni Malatesta, by her father, in order to keep the peace between the two families. It was Giovanni’s brother, Paolo Malatesta, that she fell in love with. Their affair was discovered by her husband, however, and they were murdered in his fit of rage.

Cabanel’s painting here portrays the lovers in the moment of their death.

Sea-lion suckling her young, Paris, Jardin d’a…

Sea-lion suckling her young, Paris, Jardin d’acclimatation, early 20th century

(source: Charles Victor Alexander Peel, The Zoological Gardens of Europe)

Markhor, or screw horn goat, Jardin des Plante…

Markhor, or screw horn goat, Jardin des Plantes, Paris, early 20th century

(source: Charles Victor Alexander Peel, The Zoological Gardens of Europe)

Read about Yde and Olive’s love story and thei…

Read about Yde and Olive’s love story and their determination to be together. I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS STORY

Chanson d Yde et Olive

Help us unearth one of England’s last survivin…

Help us unearth one of England’s last surviving Tudor gardens enjoyed by Elizabeth I:

You can support here: DigVentures – Sudeley

I will be attending this dig (if fully funded) in May! So I will be sharing live digging on here. 

The February issue of The Medieval Magazine is…

The February issue of The Medieval Magazine is out. We don’t go lovey dovey this time, we look at real relationships in the Middle Ages. We explore sexuality, marriage, court love, same-sex romance within the court setting and a handy guide on marital sex for the medieval couple. WARNING – it be a bit racy in there (image wise haha)

The Medieval Magazine – Love, Marriage & Friendship

Matisse Cat, by Niaski

Matisse Cat, by Niaski

arthistorycq: On the twelfth day of Christma…


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….12 issues of The Medieval Magazine! No wait!  17!!! Get your loved ones (or yourself!) the gift of the Middle Ages with the best of 2018 in one bundle. All 17 magazines, stuffed full of fascinating medieval articles, and tidbits to keep you happy over the holiday season and into the New Year!

Get the complete set here for just $50 here: The Medieval Magazine – Complete 2018 Collection