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Posts from the ‘History’ Category

Trench Art: Creativity in an Unexpected Place

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing War and Peace.  I think you’ll find some really interesting articles on this topic, so take a look at the bottom of the page for them all.

French World War I trench art

The diverse collection of French World War I trench art at the Musee de Somme 1916 includes painted, cut, shaped, and hammered pieces.

Artists across cultures, time, and place have depicted war, from the vases of ancient Greece to the romanticized paintings of Napoleon’s campaigns.  However a common thread is that these images of battle were created by those not involved in fighting, or were done years after the fact for patriotic or sentimental reasons.  What we don’t often see is art created by soldiers in the midst of battle and experiencing the brutality of conflict.  When they do create, often as a means of distraction, these pieces constitute a tiny genre called Trench Art.

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4 Places to Discover World War I History

This year, Veterans Day is particularly poignant as we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I.  While many of us recognize the startling images of World War II, the Great War from 1914-1918 remains a little more distant.  To gain some new understanding on this centenary, here are four of the best destinations for discovering World War I history.

World War I, High Wood cemetery, France

A poppy among the British and French graves from the Battle of the Somme at the High Wood Cemetery, France (Photo)

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Somme American Cemetery and Memorial

It’s actually pretty hard to find the World War I battlefields in Northern France.  Infamous for the bloody stalemate that lasted there for years, the land has now returned to tranquil fields.  While contemplating this change driving through the Somme Valley, I happened across the American Cemetery.  The front gate and chapel door were unclosed, but there was not a single person to be seen.  I thought it fitting on Veterans Day (also known as Remembrance Day in the UK and Canada, and Armistice Day in France) which commemorates the November 11, 1918 end of World War I, that we visit this quiet cemetery in the French countryside and think about these forgotten battles that took the lives of these soldiers.

Memorial Monument - Somme American Cemetery

The Somme American Cemetery and Monument seems to pop up out of nowhere, interrupting miles of French farmland.

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Ancient Jewelry I’d Like to Own

It always amazes me to see historic jewelry in museums.  I’ve just assumed items so valuable and fragile would not have survived the centuries, but then there they are, neatly lined up in the display cases.  Once again proving that everything old is new again, there’s a lot of ancient jewelry that I’d wear today.  Here are some of personal favorites!

Egyptian bead jewelry

Gorgeous Egyptian necklace from the Oriental Institute in Chicago.  (Photo: Daydream Tourist)

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Normandy American Cemetery

Normandy American Cemetary

This past weekend, Americans celebrated Memorial Day and spent some time remembering all those who gave up their lives in service to our country.  This last March I had the chance to visit the D-Day Beaches in Normandy, France.  I learned a lot in my visit and was struck at several points by the incredible difficulties faced by the Allies in leading such a massive and risky invasion.  But what I returned to this Memorial Day were the individuals interred at the Normandy American Cemetery on the Landing Beaches.  The cemetery was impressive in its size but also its reverence and honor of those buried therein.

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