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General relativity isn’t only a powerfully descriptive theory, but there’s a beauty in its elegance.

The art and beauty of general relativity

Einstein's theory of general relativity is a triumph of reason and imagination, of art and science, with a profound beauty of its own.
The exhibition includes the kind of art not held in any Australian collection. Sir Edwin Landseer, Rent-day in the wilderness, 1868. Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland

Masterpieces from Scotland is easily the greatest exhibition of old master works to visit Sydney

Anyone who has even a passing interest in art exhibitions or how culture can define a country should allocate a good few hours to contemplating these riches from the National Galleries of Scotland.
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Trace fiber from Freud’s couch under crossed polars with Quartz wedge compensator (#1), 2015, unique jacquard woven tapestry, 2.9m x 2m. © Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin

Forensic analysis of skin dust from Freud’s couch leaves much to be desired

In the middle of a rose garden, on a leafy road in northwest London, nestles the Freud Museum – though the petals, in October, are tumbling. The house, at 20 Maresfield Gardens, is the proud bearer of…
It may seem like photographer Greg Marinovich captured a bare landscape in his photos of Marikana, but the dreary photos are filled with haunting memories of the massacre that took place there. © Greg Marinovich

Marikana artwork provides a tool for conscientisation

The Marikana tragedy has dominated recent South African memory and produced many different aesthetic responses.
Who, exactly, was Catherine II, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia? Catherine II by Fyodor Rokotov. The Hermitage/ Wikimedia Commons.

Why Catherine the Great’s ‘greatness’ doesn’t grate

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The legacy of Catherine the Great is currently on show at the National Gallery of Victoria. But who, exactly was Catherine II, the Empress of Russia?
White painter William Gilbert Gaul’s To the End (1907-1909) uses the loyal slave trope. Wikimedia Commons

Exploring how black and white artists depict race

Black Like Us? – a new exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art – looks at how blackness has been portrayed in American art through the years.
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), by James McNeill Whistler (1871). Wikimedia Commons

The extraordinary life of Whistler’s mother

The famous portrait, usually resident in France, is on a rare tour in the US. From looking at it, one might assume its subject had a tranquil, even monotonous, life. But one would be wrong.
Socrates: not going gently.

Why I teach poetry and opera to medical students

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I usually begin my end of life ethics lecture with one of Dylan Thomas' best-loved…

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