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University of Aberdeen

A Medieval Bestiary That Once Belonged to Henry VIII Has Been Digitized

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University of Aberdeen

For nearly four centuries, the University of Aberdeen has housed one of the best-preserved medieval illuminated manuscripts in existence. The "Aberdeen Bestiary" depicts birds, bats, and other colorful creatures painted against backgrounds of brilliant gold leaf. Having once belonged to King Henry VIII, it was long believed that the book was published exclusively for the wealthy elite. Details revealed by high-definition digitization suggest that the manuscript was instead created as a teaching tool, Live Science reports.

The bestiary was published in England around the year 1200, and was first documented in the royal library of King Henry VIII in 1542. Recent digital enhancement provides several clues as to the book’s original purpose: On one page, dirty fingerprints indicate a spot where the teacher turned the book around to show his students. Accent marks throughout the text are believed to signify emphasis when read out loud. The high-definition photography also uncovered notes and sketches left in the margins by the manuscript’s creators.

So if the Aberdeen Bestiary came from such humble beginnings, how did it end up in the hands of royalty? Researchers from the university now believe it was ransacked from a monastery during the Reformation. Illuminated manuscripts were originally used by priests and monks, with the earliest copies dating back to the 5th century. It wasn’t until the 12th century that they gained popularity with more secular crowds.

Now, after remaining largely inaccessible for centuries, the book is being used for teaching once more—this time online. Every detail of the newly digitized publication, from the imperfections to the brushstrokes, is available to view through the university’s website.

[h/t Live Science]

All images courtesy of the University of Aberdeen.

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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