Recent links of note:

“A New Perspective on Westminster Abbey”
Richard Cork, The Wall Street Journal

The architects at McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA) knew they had a monumental task on their hands when they signed the contract for the first new tower at Westminster Abbey since 1745. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, which opened this summer, carried a $29.5 million price tag, but the payoff promises to be even greater: the tower hosts more than three hundred artifacts from the abbey’s history, including England’s oldest surviving altarpiece and funeral effigies of royals such as Catherine de Valois and Henry VII. Even the walls themselves tell the history of the Abbey. The architectural designs and the materials that make them are from different times and places in England, with sixteen kinds of stone throughout the star-shaped building, which is based on a seventeenth-century tower. Westminster Abbey has never been seen this way before: sunlight graces the triforium, seven stories above the nave, for the first time, never touching the precious artifacts, but illuminating the visitors and the Abbey below.

“Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi: expert uncovers ‘exciting’ new evidence”
Alison Cole, The Art Newspaper

Unless Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi possesses the powers of bilocation, art historians have some explaining to do. When the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought the painting for $450 million last year, art historians believed it was commissioned in ca. 1500 for King Louis XVII of France and then transported to England after the French princess Henrietta Maria’s marriage to King Charles I in 1625. But Jeremy Wood found another trail as he traced the painting’s sixteenth-century whereabouts. James, third Marquis, later the first Duke of Hamilton, has a record of the painting from the same time period. The search for the true Salvator is the focus of multiple forthcoming books as art historians look for clues in its many sketches and etchings: who was copying da Vinci, when, and where? For more on the mystery, check out the art historian Margaret Dalivalle’s website, which includes articles, interviews, and documentaries about the painting since its rediscovery in 2011.

“What Follows the End of History? Identity Politics”
Evan Goldstein interviews Francis Fukuyama, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Francis Fukuyama made a name for himself by declaring the “end of history” in a 1989 article for The National Interest. A professor of political science at Stanford who was a student of such disparate thinkers as Allan Bloom and Paul de Man, Fukuyama claimed in his article and his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, the triumph of Western liberal democracy was the “final form of human government.” Now, in a forthcoming book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Fukuyama argues that his thesis has been misinterpreted in light of recent political upheavals. The material peace and prosperity made possible by liberal democracy have actually cleared the way for a global surge of identity politics, whose apologists often seem dissatisfied with the fundamental freedoms of democracy. For Fukuyama, the end of history is less about political movements than about the ideals of the governments that house them. Evan Goldstein and Fukuyama discuss the upcoming book, the current political climate, the state of higher education, and more. Read more on Fukuyama and the dangers of declaring a Hegelian “end” of anything from our own Roger Kimball.

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Salt & silver
James Panero

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