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About the British Museum blog

This blog aims to share some of the things going on behind the scenes here at the Museum and offer a platform for discussion. Please join in by leaving your comments.

Before you do, please read our comment guidelines.

Also, please be aware that while the majority of British Museum blog posts are written by authors at the Museum, occasionally they will be written by guest bloggers. The views expressed by guest bloggers here (and elsewhere) are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Trustees of the British Museum or their staff.

Comment guidelines

We have a short list of guidelines that all participants on any British Museum online public forum are expected to follow.

By submitting a comment on the British Museum blog, you are confirming that you have read, understood and agreed to these guidelines. The Museum may revise them from time to time, so, please check them regularly.

The British Museum is the sole arbiter of the content of its blog, and therefore retains the right, though not the obligation, to place, edit, classify, or remove any content posted here.

  1. Comments must contribute to the discussion taking place within the thread and be written in a civil and dispassionate manner. Content or a user name which is obscene, defamatory, offensive, harassing, off-topic or otherwise objectionable or unlawful is not acceptable.
  2. No spamming.
  3. No repeated submission of the same (or very similar) contributions.
  4. Content submitted to advertise or promote goods and services is not allowed.
  5. All blog contributions must be in the language used in the original post.
  6. No impersonation of someone else.
  7. Blog submissions must not include URLs (web site addresses), unless directly relevant to the blog topic and part of a longer contribution.
  8. Repeated complaints about a single issue or the vexatious use of the complaint facility are not permitted.

Any user who feels a posted message violates these guidelines should contact web@britishmuseum.org

Comments which are perceived to be breaching the guidelines will be removed.

To keep discussions fresh and topical, comment facilities on individual posts will normally be closed two weeks after the date of publication.

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Napoleon Bonaparte died #onthisday in 1821. See his death mask in our free exhibition #BonaparteAndTheBritish
#history #BritishMuseum #Napoleon Karl Marx was born #onthisday in 1818. He wrote Das Kapital in the Museum's Reading Room. Here's his portrait on a badge from the 1980s.
#Marx #history #museum #BritishMuseum May the fourth be with you! Here’s a chocolate coin from the collection featuring Darth Vader #StarWarsDay
#StarWars #DarthVader #museum Machiavelli was born on #onthisday in 1469. Here’s a portrait of the notorious writer.
#art #portrait #history #BritishMuseum Born #onthisday in 1360: the Yongle emperor of China. This beautiful blue-and-white moon flask was made during his reign
#China #art #porcelain #history Leonardo da Vinci died #onthisday in 1519. Here's his drawing of the Virgin and Child (& cat!) This drawing shows the seated Virgin holding the Christ Child on her right knee. The Child in turn grasps a cat which struggles to escape. The forms twist and turn within the space defined by the thin line of an arch. The moving figures form a triangle or pyramid, in a geometrical composition that is typical of Leonardo. At the top left of the sheet, the outline of a clock suggests that the sketch was a study for the Virgin and Child in a domestic setting.

This sheet shows how Leonardo rapidly developed his compositional ideas. First he drew the Virgin's head in the centre, tracing through the thin paper from a similar composition on the reverse of the sheet. Leonardo then placed the Virgin's head looking out to the left. Finally, he settled on the Virgin looking down to the right, to balance the heads of the Christ Child and the cat who face left. He then painted a thin brown wash over the final composition and strengthened his figures with thicker lines.

Leonardo made a number of drawings of this theme, but no painting of the Virgin and Child with Cat survives. Instead, the geometry and balance of the composition and sense of movement became characteristic of his High Renaissance style.
#art #history #drawing #Leonardo
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