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Detail from Little Big Woman: Condescension, Debra Keenahan, 2017. Designed and made by Debra Keenahan, Photograph by Robert Brindley.

Friday essay: the female dwarf, disability, and beauty

For centuries, women with dwarfism were depicted in art as comic or grotesque fairytale beings. But artists are challenging these portrayals and notions of beauty and physical difference.
The Robert E. Lee statue for which the ‘Unite the Right’ rally was organized to protest its removal in Charlottesville, Virginia. EPA/TASOS KATOPODIS

From Charlottesville to Nazi Germany, sometimes monuments have to fall

The violence sparked by the removal of Confederate statues in the US shows the ideas that collect around historical monuments. Sometimes it's better to remove them; yet they can be an important way of remembering trauma.
Is there a geometry lesson hidden in ‘The Last Supper’? Wikimedia Commons

Did artists lead the way in mathematics?

Mathematics and art are generally viewed as very different. But a trip through history – from an Islamic palace to Pollock's paintings – proves the parallels between the two can be uncanny.
‘Maus’ and ‘Watchmen’ are two of the most well-known graphic novels. Ken Whytock/flickr

How the graphic novel got its misleading moniker

The graphic novel has become a literary phenomenon, but the name doesn't adequately describe the medium's flexibility, diversity and potential.
Watercolour painting of a Haida painted wooden mask. Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford 2014.89.1a

Here’s why you should care about the scrapping of A-level anthropology

With the refugee crisis, Brexit, and the rise of populist extremism, we must defend the teaching of anthropology. And in doing so, we might expand and rethink ideas of "the humanities".
Detail of Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with monkeys 1943. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art © 2016 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico DF

Here’s looking at Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait with monkeys

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo kept monkeys as pets and painted them often. They symbolised the children she couldn't have and were worshipped as gods of fertility in Aztec times.
Detail of ‘The Morteratsch Glacier, Upper Engadine Valley, Pontresina,’ by Albert Bierstadt, 1895. Wikiart

Using computers to better understand art

A new field of research aims to deepen, and even quantify, our understanding of artistic style. We use mathematical techniques to help discover novel insights, even in well-studied paintings.
Visitors look at the painting The Visit from 1939 by Paul Delvaux during the 2011 exhibition Surrealism in Paris. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Explainer: Surrealism

As the longest-running avant-garde movement of the 20th century, Surrealism's scope and richness is perhaps unparalleled in its influence of modern art and culture.

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