Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis de Paul and Saint Peter Penitent, seventeenth century, oil on wood, Wellcome Library, London/courtesy Wellcome Library/Art UK

Recent links of note:

“Liberalism and Modernity”
Adam Garfinkle, The American Interest
Whatever one makes of Donald Trump’s collection of stances on foreign policy issues, it’s not difficult to see why he’s gotten so much traction by blasting the track records of the past two administrations. By this point, most Americans agree that our forays in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria were all bungled in their own unique ways by Presidents Obama and Bush, and the distrust for our policy mavens that arose after that losing streak has also dampened support for immigration and even free trade. Appealing to all those who are baffled by our two decades of ineptitude, The American Interest has launched a four-part essay series entitled “The Nadir of Modernity and the Disorientation of U.S. Foreign Policy”—which might have simply been called “Where Did We Go Wrong?: A Long and Thorough History.” This week TAI’s editor Adam Garfinkle produced his entry in the series, tracing the process by which American foreign policy, and liberalism itself, emerged from the Whig Protestantism of the Enlightenment era, incorporating a set of assumptions about individualism and progress that much of the world has long tolerated but never really shared. Just maybe, Garfinkle suggests, the trouble with American policy boils down to our failure to grasp the uniqueness of our views, and our quickness to presume that we can bring nations in the Middle East and elsewhere around to those views with just a bit of time and effort.

“How Anamorphic Paintings Represented the Miracles of the Saints”
Allison Meier, Hyperallergic
The iconography of saints in pre-Renaissance paintings is rarely recalled for boasting innovative techniques; rather, works such as Pietro di Giovanni d’Ambrosio’s St. Nicholas of Bari are often used to exemplify the limits of portraiture before the advent of perspective. Even still, there are examples within the genre that demonstrate the artists’ attempts to depict saintly subjects in new and engrossing ways despite the shortcomings of their technical toolkit. Writing in Hyperallergic, Allison Meier illuminates one method of this type: “anamorphasis,” in which parallel, angled wooden panels (arrayed similarly to window blinds) are used to create paintings that display up to three separate images of saints, with only one visible at a time depending on the viewer’s position. Meier refers in particular to an unattributed masterpiece from the seventeenth century that depicts Saints Peter, Francis of Assisi, and Francis de Paul, currently on display at London’s Wellcome Library. The painting is among the first batch to be featured in Art UK, a new virtual gallery and database that intends to eventually showcase every publicly owned collection in Britain.

From our pages:

“Recast relics”
Mario Naves
On “Waste Not: The Art of Medieval Recycling” at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

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