Report on a high-power conference at an Italian institute for the history of economics, where art was subjected to intensive archival, numerical and tabular scrutiny.
Impressions of museums and monuments in Hangzhou and Wūzhèn, China, in November 2011. Continue reading “324 Some new museums in the east, part 1”
Schwartz is a museum junkie. Wherever he travels, the art museum is his first stop. During the second half of 2011, he got to lots of new destinations, and he found new museums almost everywhere he went. This installment is about Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Belgium. In a following column it will be the turn of China. Continue reading “318 Some new museums in the west”
The first exhibition on the Arabian peninsula of original work by Rembrandt took place in Muscat, Oman, from 19 August to 19 September 2009. Schwartz made a brief film on Rembrandt and Amsterdam to introduce the master to the Omanis. He attended the opening and the first week of the show. His impressions.
Cleaning up his desk is a luxury Schwartz cannot well afford. Doing it anyway, he came across a note from a Swede he met last year. The story behind it, concerning mysterious stone patterns in the brick tower of Strängnäs Cathedral, is told here, with an appeal to the reader to solve the mystery they pose.
On the road, especially in faraway places, Schwartz is known to succumb to an upwelling of Jewish sentiment that he never acts on at home. In Isfahan, he attended Friday-night services in the synagogue of a 2,500-year-old community and got a powerful dose of tribal feeling. Continue reading “282 Reading the prayer book in Isfahan”
No one who has been educated under the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran has heard of Rembrandt, according to research carried out by Schwartz in Shiraz, Tehran and Isfahan. Being kept in the dark not only about him but about Western culture in general adds to the discontent of the Iranians, who nonetheless treated Schwartz to an exclusive, tourist-free introduction to some of their greatest cities and monuments.
An eloquent new essay in what is called contemporary history, a book by the Dutch author Geert Mak on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, brings back memories of the predecessor of the present bridge, which Schwartz first crossed in August 1961. It was a pontoon bridge that opened every night for shipping to the Golden Horn. Every time it was reopened for land traffic, a race took place that now seems like a clue to the creation of human values.
The historical museums of Europe ignore minorities and therefore lend implicit support to xenophobic national self-images. The rise of high-quality Jewish museums serves as an excuse for historical museums to eliminate the Jewish dimension of European history from their displays. A campaign to redress the balance is called for. Continue reading “276 Non-Jewish museums”