Great artists – truth or myth?

Dispelling myths about 5 great painters

Reading time 6 minutes

Art of the turn of XIX-XX centuries – what is it? Great? Breakthrough? Unexpected? Undoubtedly. But the word «different» better describes the art of this period.

The second half of the 19th and 20th centuries gave us many great artists and genres. And individual masters have become tightly associated with their directions in art. Does no one doubts that Kazimir Malevich – Suprematist, and Auguste Renoir – the pioneer of Impressionism?

But there were artists who did not identify themselves with those styles at all, as is commonly believed. Today we will tell you about five of the most famous of them.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí

What is the question? Obviously, he is surreal… however, stop. In fact, the most famous surrealist painter in 1939 was excluded from the group of surrealists, and for the next 53 years of his work he was not the official representative of this direction. From their conflict, by the way, was born the phrase of Dali «I am not a surrealist, I am surrealism!»

Dali discovered his own unique technique – the paranoid-critical method, which differs from the method of the surrealists. And despite the fact that Dali is now considered the greatest representative of Surrealism, for most of his career he formally belonged to a different style.

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet,  «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882
Edouard Manet, «А Bar at the Folies Bergere», 1882

In many sources, Édouard Manet is ranked alongside Claude Monet and the Impressionist company. In fact, Edouard was their predecessor. Of course, Manet communicated with the Impressionists and was interested in their work, but he himself denied any involvement with this style. On the contrary, throughout his career Manet strove for an official professional appraisal – that is, the recognition of the Salon, which the Impressionists opposed. And Manet never even once exhibited with them.

Edvard Munch

Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893
Edward Munch «The Scream», 1893

Next on our list is the author of the famous «The Scream» and other masterpieces. The direction of the artist, it would seem obvious – expressionism. But no! Expressionism evolved much later and independently of Munch. Meanwhile, the Norwegian master the young expressionists considered the ancestor of the direction and were inspired by his work.

But Munch himself created under the influence of Symbolism – a style of which he was a contemporary.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo (years of life: 1907-1954)

The Mexican artist was considered by her contemporaries to be a Surrealist (particularly André Breton). But Kahlo herself categorically denied it (although she actively exhibited with the surrealists). She said that she «painted only her own reality and was not into fantasies». Plus Kahlo had no special education, and in combination with her formal features her work is referred to as the direction of naive art.

Bonus

Leonardo da Vinci's drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)
Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings: Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (left) and Vitruvian Man (right)

Leonardo da Vinci – who was he?

The author of «Mona Lisa», «Vitruvian Man», «The Last Supper» and many other masterpieces which everyone knows for sure. However, the master never positioned himself as an artist. In the Renaissance, science and art were two sides of the same coin, and an outstanding man had to prove himself in different fields. Leonardo da Vinci referred to himself not as an artist but as an engineer (for example, in his resume, which he sent to the Duke of Milan in 1482). Another indication that painting was not his main occupation is how few paintings he painted.

Of course, the boundaries of styles in art are very conditional – everything is adaptive and subjective, each work of art is unique and combines many elements. But we have tried to dispel 5 common myths about well-known artists, based on generally accepted norms.

Почему мы много едим в Новый год?

Расскажем о трёх эволюционных и социальных факторах, вызывающих праздничные переедания

Reading time 6 minutes

Новогодние застолья позади, и мир по традиции охватывает проблема: как пережить праздничные застолья? Ведь затяжные праздники, обилие вкусной еды, родственники и друзья, собравшиеся за одним столом – в общем, у многих Рождество и Новый Год провоцируют переедание и сбои в пищевом поведении. Это стало своего рода культурной нормой не только в России, но и по всему миру.И не случайно: здесь играют роль физиологические и психологические процессы, которые заставляют нас много есть.
Мы расскажем о трёх таких причинах.

Sensory-Specific Satiety (сенсорно-специфическая сытость)
Это один из психологических феноменов, отвечающих за чувство насыщения во время еды. Об этой особенности рассказывает профессор Мэрион Хизерингтон (Marion Hetherington) из Лидского университета. https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/419/professor-marion-hetherington
Вы замечали, что первый кусочек любимой еды самый вкусный? И на протяжение трапезы она становится менее и менее приятной? При этом при появлении нового блюда его всегда хочется попробовать и даже сытость отступает.
Это вполне нормальное поведение для человека, а объясняется оно тем, что мы всеядны. Феномен ССС помогает человеку пробовать разную еду и получать полный спектр полезных веществ. Из-за ССС меняется удовольствие от вкуса еды во время трапезы (оно уменьшается к концу). Но при появлении принципиально нового продукта оно возвращается.
В обычной жизни феномен ССС хорошо нам служит и помогает питаться разнообразно. Но в особых случаях (например, в праздники), когда мы переполняем тарелку разными блюдами – это соблазн съесть слишком много, ибо чем больше вариантов, тем слабее чувство насыщения. И именно поэтому всегда есть место для десерта.
Таким образом, изменение удовольствия и чувство насыщения может относиться не в целом к трапезе, а к конкретному блюду, которое вы едите в данный момент.

Но то, ЧТО вы едите – это одна сторона медали. Играет роли и то, С КЕМ вы едите.

СОЦИАЛЬНАЯ СТОРОНА ПЕРЕЕДАНИЙ
Доктор Бирмингенского университета Хелен Руддок (Dr Helen Ruddock, https://fb.watch/2OtBWYKi7l/ ) рассказывает о социальных факторах, влияющих на количество съеденного.
На самом деле в каждой компании появляется мини-норма количества еды, и мы неосознанно корректируем свой выбор под эту норму. Поэтому, например, если ваши сотрапезники едят большие порции, то вы, вероятно, последуете их примеру и съедите больше.

Кроме этого, есть свидетельства https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/psychology/ebrg/projects/eating-together.aspx , что люди склонны есть больше, находясь с друзьями и семьёй (по сравнению с трапезой в одиночестве). Это называют «социальное содействие в еде» (social facilitation of eating). Возможно, этот феномен развился для того, что в моменты совместной трапезы (когда члены коммуны делятся едой) получить максимум пищи. Объяснение у этого самое простое: на протяжении большей части эволюции еда была в дефиците, а распределение ресурсов внутри группы помогало избежать голода отдельных индивидуумов. Но в то же время, способ делёжки всегда провоцировал конфликты. Поэтому единственным путём преодолеть разногласия было есть ровно столько же, сколько и остальные.
В современных условиях еда больше не является дефицитом, нам не надо делиться с родственниками и друзьями, чтобы они не голодали. Но это как раз тот случай, когда эволюционный механизм продолжает руководить нашим поведением. И в некоторых ситуациях (таких, как совместная трапеза) содействовать перееданию.

И ещё один фактор, влияющий на пищевое поведение в праздники – это эмоции. Рождество и Новый год вызывают у нас приятные ощущения, напоминают о детстве. А вкус любимой еды (тем более, если мы едим её только по праздникам) – это сильнейший психологический якорь, возвращающий нас к приятным моментам. И чем сильнее связь между едой и воспоминаниями, чем больше радости они вызывают, тем сложнее нам остановиться во время приёма пищи. В случае новогодних или рождественских блюд мы придаём еде гораздо больше значение, чем обычно.

Так что в силу эволюционных причин, а также из-за сложного психологического и физиологического устройства человека, еда – это не только источник питания. Еда – это процесс, который способствуют сближению и социальному взаимодействию, который формирует и поддерживает приятные воспоминания и ритуалы семейных сборищ.
Так что еда – это важная часть нашей культуры и нас самих. Но помните, что человеческая осознанность позволяет нам контролировать эти процессы. И в Новом году мы желаем вам чувствовать меру, но не ругать себя из-за перееданий, ведь это часть нашей природы. Главное, делайте выводы и заботьтесь и себе!

All that is known about the 2021 Grammys

Nominees, scandals, date, and new records

Reading time 5 minutes

The Grammy is the most prestigious music award in the world. Each year the National Academy holds an award ceremony. A jury of producers, sound engineers and musicians award the artists by voting. Each musician dreams about gaining at least a Grammy nomination. Here’s what you need to know about the 63rd Awards.

When and where?

The awards ceremony will be on 31of January at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It has been held there for 40 years, since the beginning of its broadcasting. It’s not yet clear what format the event will take: it all depends on whether the coronavirus situation in the U.S. worsens. «We will make a decision about the audience and the carpet closer to the date,» the Grammy website says. In addition, the names of the presenters and performing artists are unknown.

55th Grammy Awards, 2013

Beyoncé got the most nominations.

After the «Black is King» album released in July of this year the singer got 9 nominations. Now Beyonce has 79 nominations and 24 statuettes. If she wins 8 more, it will be the record-breaking quantity of Grammys. In addition to Beyonce Dua Lipa (5) and Billie Eilish (4) lead the way in the number of nominations.

A still from Beyoncé’s visual album «Black is King» 2020

BTS’s first serious nomination

BTS is a Korean boys band that continues to break records and conquer the West. The guys finally received Academy recognition and a nomination for «Best Pop Duo/Group Performance» for their song «Dynamite». Their hit topped the Billboard Hot 100 music chart for two weeks. BTS will compete for the statuette with other pop stars: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
The band did not receive a nomination for «Best Album», although their release «Map of the Soul: 7» was recognized as the best-selling album in the first half of 2020.

BTS on the carpet at the 62nd Grammy Awards, 2020

The Weeknd vs. the Grammys

This year’s announcement of nominees was not without scandal. The Weeknd did not receive any of the nominations and accused the Academy jury of corruption. There really is the reason for doubt: the album by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd’s real name) exploded all the charts and received critical acclaim. It’s all the more strange that the singer’s work has been ignored.
Abel shared his thoughts on his Instagram page. «The Grammys are still corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry in general», he wrote. Drake, Ariana Grande and Halsey supported the performer and agreed with his words

The Weeknd’s «After Hours» album cover, 2020

Russians in the West

Two musicians from Russia received nominations at once. Pianist Daniil Trifonov will compete for the award for «Best Solo Instrumental Classical Music Work» for his performance of Rachmaninov. The second, conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, was in the «Best Opera Recording» category. Leonid Agutin, who originally applied for five categories, received no nominations after the Academy vote.

Daniil Trifonov was nominated in the category «Best Classical Instrumental Solo Work»

How to be employed in 2030

What skills employers will need in 10 years

Reading time 5 minutes

It is not enough for today’s employers that a programmer knows how to create applications and a translator has a good grasp of texts. Potential employees must have not only professional but also «soft» skills.

Soft skills are supra-professional competences, which help to work more effectively in any sphere. For example, they include the ability to communicate with people and quick learnability. The value of these skills has increased in today’s world, where humanity’s opportunities are increasingly global. You need to adapt to technological changes and communicate with people of different nationalities.

According to Kontakt InterSearch Russia consulting company’s research for Forbes Woman employers already expect soft skills from potential employees. Creators of the  «Atlas of professions» project predict even more significant changes on the labor market.

What is worth getting better at today to be a sought-after specialist in 10 years?

1. Working with people

Communication with people is a skill worth learning

This skill has 3 components::

Multiculturalism and multilingualism. More and more companies are operating in the international market, so employees need to know foreign languages. Knowledge in the specifics of intercultural communication will be a plus.

Representatives of different cultures working together

Customer centricity. It is possible to win the battle with the competitors only if the product is created exactly for the client’s needs. That is why employers appreciate the ability to see the demand and to adjust to it.

Emotional intelligence. Empathy, the ability to feel another person is valued in today’s world. People with these qualities find it easier to find common ground with others, which helps not only in everyday life but also in work.

2. Flexibility

Quick learning curve helps you adapt to the demands of the modern world

Quick learning curve. In today’s world, new technologies often appear and you need to adapt to them in a minimum of time. The needs of the labor market are also changing, so you need to learn new professions quickly.

Working under uncertainty. The year 2020 showed that you can’t always be sure of tomorrow. It is necessary to be able to work here and now, to try to foresee the further development of events and not to be afraid of the unknown.

3. Project Management

Project management is no longer the task of the manager

The strict hierarchical structure of companies is replaced by project groups. Representatives of different professions have to show leadership and take responsibility for leading part of the work.

4. Green thinking

Businesses pollute the environment

Manufacturers of goods are thinking about the impact of their business on the environment. Therefore, modern professionals in any field must understand at a basic level how to reduce harmful emissions and the use of natural resources. In Russia this culture is in its infancy, but in Japan the environmental friendliness of production is already controlled at the legislative level.

To develop soft skills, you can join a discussion club, read books on the topic, watch professionals on TED, or take a course.

«Soft» skills are useful not only in work. In life, we communicate with people, learn, and set goals, each of which can be viewed as a project. Above-the-professional skills will help in these areas of life as well.

Hogwarts doesn’t exist, the Dursleys are good, and Dumbledore is Death

Recalling fan theories on the anniversary of the last Harry Potter movie

Reading time 6 minutes

The Wizarding World stories premiered exactly ten years ago. Over the course of the franchise’s existence, fans have come up with theories, some of which completely overturn the usual story of the magical world.

Neville is the Chosen One

One of the most argued theories is that Harry was never the Chosen One. The real savior of Magical Britain is Neville. Although bumbling loser Longbottom doesn’t look like a superhero, he could have been the Boy Who Survived. According to the prophecy of Voldemort’s demise, the wizard will be killed by a boy born in July. Also, the child must be part of a family that has defied the Dark Lord three times. Not only do the Potters fit the description, but also the Longbottom. Why Tom Riddle decided it was Harry who would destroy him is not clear. Perhaps the wizard wanted to deal with Neville and his family after but did not have time.

Further events of the story also make you doubt Harry’s selectivity. The prophecy says that the child has a special gift. Potter had no gift (the boy’s knowledge of the snake language was passed down from Voldemort), but Neville had a strong knowledge of herbalism.

Theory #1: Neville is the Chosen One

Harry, Severus and Tom Riddle are brothers in the «Deathly Hallows» tale

The tale is about three brothers. Death gives them the Elder Wand, the Cloak of Invisibility, and the Resurrection Stone. Harry, Severus, and He-Who-No-Name resemble the Peverell brothers. Voldemort wishes to get his wand so he can wield power like his older brother. Snape, the middle one, is obsessed with the love of a dead woman. Harry wields the Cloak of Invisibility, which makes him look like the younger brother.

If you follow this theory, Death is Dumbledore. The Professor is the only one who possessed all the Hallows. Also, when Harry is killed by the Dark Lord, it is Albus who waits for him and meets him as an “old friend.” – Another reference to the fairy tale.

Theory # 2: Harry, Severus and Tom Riddle are brothers in the «Deathly Hallows» tale

Draco is in love with Hermione

Many fans believe that Draco was in love with Hermione. He was always bullying the girl, calling her a «filthy dirty girl» following on the heels of the Golden Trio, all to get Granger’s attention. This behavior was caused by the fact that Malfoy grew up in a family where Muggles were considered the scum of society, but the boy himself thought otherwise. The version about the Slytherin’s crush is common among fans of movies because there Draco is shown as a deeper and more compassionate person.

Theory #3: Draco is in love with Hermione

Harry is to blame for the bad temper of the Dursleys

In the books, the Dursley family had a strong dislike for the Boy-who-survived. Harry lived in a closet, subjected to insults and hard labor. There is a theory: the character of the relatives was influenced by Potter, or rather by Voldemort’s Horcrux imprisoned in the wizard.

In «Deathly Hallows» Harry, Hermione and Ron wore a locket around their necks – part of the Dark Lord’s soul. The teenagers were negatively influenced by black magic: they argued, fought, were aggressive. The theory is that Harry’s presence had the same effect on the Dursleys. Although this assumption does not explain why the boy did not influence his friends and other wizards in his surroundings.

Theory #4: Harry is to blame for the Dursleys’ bad temper

Harry made up the world of magic

What if there is no magic world? That’s probably the saddest theory. Its proponents are certain that Harry never left the house on Tees Street, never received a letter from Hogwarts, and never fought Voldemort. The boy-who-survived- made it all up, and the fantasy is an attempt to escape the brutal reality. The writer believes this viewpoint fits into the original story.

Theory #5: Harry made up the world of magic

 

 

Russian sensation

"To the lake" - the most expensive Russian series on Netflix

Reading time 3 minutes

“To the Lake” is a Russian sci-fi thriller series directed by Nika Award nominee Pavel Kostomarov. It was added to the Netflix catalogue in October 2020. The platform bought the series for a record-breaking sum – $1,5 million. The Russian name of the series is “Эпидемия” (Epidemic).

Главный герой сериала
The main character moves to Karelia because of the epidemic

It is based on the novel ‘Vongozero’ by author Yana Vagner. The plot is literally repeating the events of the current pandemic. Life in Moscow has become life-threatening because of the new disease. The main character, accompanied by his family, ex-wife and neighbours, moves to Karelia, to a small island in the middle of a lake.They have a dangerous way to go. Netflix got interested in the series in January, when the pandemic just started.

“To the lake” was ranked the 4-th most watched series in the Netflix rating. Stephen King tweeted about the series: he called it “pretty darn good” and highlighted the excess of snow, cold and vodka in the show. There is even a fan-page of the series on the Internet.

Стивен Кинг написал твит об «Эпидемии»
Stephen King’s tweet

This is not the first time when Netflix wants to buy a project created by Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov. In their interview to Meduza producers said that they had already refused to sell their projects to Netflix because the terms weren’t beneficial. At first Netflix wanted to pay for “To the lake” less than the other streaming platform. When the offer was rejected, the company suggested releasing the series with a “Netflix Originals” mark. Products from this category are generally more expensive. After some consideration producers accepted the offer.       

Netflix has already purchased more than 40 Russian cartoons, movies and tv shows. Before “To the lake” was added to the catalogues, the most expensive Russian project on Netflix was “Better than us”. The series cost one million dollars. 

Seven Lives of Sherlock Holmes

The most famous images of the detective in cinematography

Reading time 7 minutes

Sherlock is a character created by English writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Consulting detective lives in Victorian London on Baker Street and helps Scotland Yard police in solving crimes. Works about the adventures of Holmes and Dr. Watson have become classics of the detective genre, and screenings are still successful.

The first film adaptation is considered to be a thirty-second silent movie «Sherlock Holmes Baffled». The short sketch was premiered in May 1900. The names of the actors are unknown. The only copy was lost until it was restored by cards in 1968. «Baffled» is the first detective in the history of cinematography.

«Sherlock Holmes Baffled» // Frame from the restored film of 1900

The most popular screen adaptation among the Russian public is the Soviet series with Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin in the lead roles. The series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson» was released in 1979-1986 and consisted of eleven episodes. The plot was based on stories «A Study in Pink», «The Final Problem», «The Hound of the Baskervilles».

The TV series was appreciated abroad: the film critic Alan Barnes in his book «Sherlock Holmes on the screen» (1999) wrote that the detective performed by Livanov is the best of all time.

Frame from the Soviet series «The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson»

In 1970 the American film «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes» was released. Oscar-winning director Billy Wilder worked on the picture, and the main character was played by British Robert Stevenson. Holmes and Watson visit the ball of Russian ballerina and bathe in women’s attention. Unlike his3 friend, Sherlock is not glad about this arrangement. At the same time, a standard detective line develops: the detective investigates the case of the disappearance of the man. The search brings the heroes to Loch Ness Lake.

Frame from «The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes»

«Sherlock Holmes» by Guy Ritchie was released in 2009, two years later – a continuation under the title «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows» . The characters of the detective and the doctor were performed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The friends save London from Moriarty’s plans and investigate terrorist attacks. Critics praised the screening, and the first film was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The third part of the franchise will be released in 2021.

Frame from «Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows»

«Sherlock» (2010) by the BBC is probably the most unusual of all. The action takes place not in Victorian England, but in the modern one. John Watson (Martin Freeman) blogs about his friend instead of notes. The image of Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, turned out to be extraordinary. Sherlock calls himself a «highly active sociopath», fights against drug addiction and denies the existence of feelings and emotions. The main antipode of the detective is James Moriarty.

At the moment, 4 seasons and a special episode  «The Abominable Bride» have been released. It is not known whether there will be a continuation.

Poster for the fourth season of «Sherlock» by the British company BBC

In 2012, CBS offered to the producers of the British «Sherlock» with a proposal to make a remake. The BBC refused to sell the copyrights, so the company created a TV series from scratch. «Elementary» was released in September of the same year.

Holmes comes to New York for treatment in a rehabilitation center and remains to work as a police consultant. Joanne Watson – in this adaptation the doctor became a girl – supervises the detective.

«Elementary» // Sherlock (John Lee Miller) and Joan (Lucy Lew)

«Enola Holmes» is an online platform project created by Netflix, released in autumn. Producer and main actress – 16-year-old Millie Bobby Brown. The focus is not on Sherlock, but his teenage sister Enola. The image of the detective turned out to be interesting, though not canonical. In the story Mycroft, Sherlock and Enola are looking for their missing mother.

«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)
«Enola Holmes» // Enola (Millie) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill)

There was also a scandal: Doyle’s heirs sued on Netflix. In their opinion, the producers used stories that are not yet in the public domain.

VR technology in contemporary art

What happens when science, technology and painting are woven together?

Reading time 5 minutes

On October 16 the M’ARS Center for Contemporary Art opened an exhibition of Evgeniya Maltseva‘s works «FLUIDS – a meta-connection of art and technology». The project was supported by «Art Dynamics» studio and musician Anastasia Martyanova. The exhibition will run until January 10, 2021.

«FLUIDS» is an experiment by Evgenia Maltseva. Her paintings are combined with holographic digital animation. The artworks are accompanied by music created by Anastasia Martyanova in the genre of expressionistic realism.

Work by Evgenia Maltseva, presented at the  «FLUIDS» exhibition (source: ArtMoskovia)

The goal of the exhibition project is to penetrate into the inner structure of a person’s life and influence their future destiny. The artist believes that this can be done through image, sound and word. «Through art I want to restore the broken details of life», says Evgenia Maltseva.

Artist Yevgenia Maltseva (source: AiF Udmurtia)

The exhibition was created using VR-technology. Virtual reality is a world created by technical means. VR refers to immersive technologies that blur the line between the real and the fictional. The trend began to develop actively in 2014, after Facebook acquired the startup Oculus VR.

The new media space became an attractive platform for artists. They found in it an alternative way to express themselves. Gretchen Andrew is a London-based artist who worked at Googlé for several years. Deciding to go into art, she combined art and technology in her work. The artist creates pictures using Google Glass. Gretchen shoots a show about the process of creating the artwork. She presents her art in a VR gallery created for Oculus Rift glasses.

Gretchen Andrew’s «Malignant epithelial ovarian cance» (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Australian designer and illustrator Stuart Campbell (creative pseudonym – Sutu) has been creating three-dimensional paintings for the last 10 years. VR-technology allows the viewer to become part of the picture.

Work by Australian artist Stuart Campbell (source: VR-Journal)

Another outstanding VR artist is Eric Parker . He brings his surrealistic worlds to life. The plots of his paintings turn into a dystopian film about the possible future of the earth.

Eric Parker «Switchstance Bay» (source: ARTANDHOUSES)

Exhibitions of VR artists began to take place more and more often in museums and galleries. In the mid-noughties, the M’ARS center even appeared in Moscow. The founders want to regain the audience’s interest in art by using new technologies. Therefore, M’ARS shows works by famous artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dali, and Claude Monet using VR.

Photo from the exhibition YOLO: You only live once (source: M’ARS Center)

With the onset of the pandemic, the rapid transition of art into the digital space began. It is now possible to visit museums without leaving home. For example, the Pushkin Museum has a virtual platform, and the Tretyakov Gallery has launched online exhibitions. To learn more about the world art of the 21st century, we advise to watch a series of videos on the Artifex channel.

The look of artworks is increasingly a hybrid of science and technology. The breaking down of physical barriers and the opportunity to become part of the process brings art to a new level of communication with the audience. «The field of art has boldly stepped into the digital», states international art dealer and independent art digital expert Catherine Schneide

Reading time 6 minutes

Banksy is a British street-artist and a political activist. He is the most famous graffiti artist in the world but works incognito. Banksy’s mysterious personality makes him and his art extremely intriguing and popular: the artist’s works are worth millions of dollars and exhibited by top world galleries. 

Today Banksy’s anonymity has become his unique feature and seems to be a metaphorical part of his image. However, its origin is pretty simple. In Britain there is a law about property damage that protects some city buildings. Drawing graffitis on their walls may entail serious legal sanctions.

A monkey mask and a black shirt – a basiс Banksy’s look

«In the era of the Internet and social media it is hard to hide something. Banksy remains anonymous, and this fact itself is a piece of art. Still, the main factor is the talant, not the artist’s personality. His art is perceived differently by everyone, but the irony, sophistication, and complexity of his works is obvious», — says the founder of street-art festivals Ivan Panteleev to «Kommersant».

1. A girl with a hoop

Someone made a graffiti of a girl spinning a tire-like hoop on a wall of some Nottingham building. This work appeared in October 2020. There was an abandoned bicycle without a tire near the mural. Several days after the graffiti had appeared Banksy posted the picture of this work on his instagram page.This was a confirmation of him being the creator. This place instantly became one of the most popular both for the citizens and tourists.

«Everyone needed such a ray of positivity in these corona times », — Nicola Marshall said to BBC when she came with her son to see the mural.

Cr: BBC
Cr: BBC
2. EU flag without a star

This work is dedicated to inglorious Brexit. The long procedure of leaving the EU caused some backlash in society. The mural shows a worker that is removing one star from the EU flag.

Cr: RBС
Cr: RBС
3. Slave labour

The graffiti was spotted on a wall of a London store in 2012. It shows a little boy bending over a sewing-machine. He is sewing together several British flags. This work is Banksy’s reaction to the news about usage of child labour for souvenirs’ production for 2012 Olympics.

This mural appeared right before the birthday of Elizabeth II. A year later this part of the wall was removed and stolen.

Cr: RIA News
4. Balloon girl

A child with a heart-shaped balloon emerged on a wall of a central London building in 2004. Some believe that the graffiti is a metaphor of hope. Others think that it symbolizes the cruelty of modern society which forces children to grow up yearly and abandon their dreams.

Later Banksy made a copy of his work on a canvas. In October 2018 on the Sotheby’s auction it turned out that the frame had a shredder inside.The canvas self-destructed after it was sold for 1.4 million dollars. This was a projection of the creators’ discontent with the sale of his work.

Cr: Gazeta.ru
5. Kissing coppers

This is one of the most famous and controversial works of the British artist. Banksy portrayed two passionately kissing policemen. He wanted the public to pay attention to the problems of LGBT-community. After time passed, the graffiti turned into a symbol of rebellion. Due to a grand backlash it disappeared: it was covered with black paint by anonymous people.

Cr: bit.ua

Banksy doesn’t reduce himself only to street-art. In 2010 he became a director of the movie “Exit through the gift-shop”, it was nominated for the Oscar. Additionally, several years ago the artist opened an amusement park called “Dismaland”. However, the park had nothing to do with conventional entertainment: it was a platform for modern artists and their works.

Angels and “demons”: did aliens really contact saints?

Depictions of UFOs in Christian churches and pictures since the 11th century

Reading time 4 minutes

Did the humans descend from Adam and Eve? Not quite, some of the researchers say. We can see an increasing amount of assertions and so-called “facts” that human beings are under the control of aliens.  Some ufologists state that extraterrestrials allegedly contact some of us. However, the Church’s official representatives do not just reject all these statements but even a theoretical possibility of such kind of “interaction” between a man and “beings from other planets and not just”. Why does the Church with so much vigor try to “retain its monopoly” on the Human Origins?

2014 almost the whole scientific community was curious about an unusual finding. A strange fresco with a supposedly depicted flying saucer was found in a Romanian church. Moreover, the same kind of enigmatic inscription from the Bible was written at the bottom of the image in German: “Israel hoffe auf den herrn” (“O Israel, hope in the Lord”). Apart of a flying saucer, in this story we face 2 more additional mysterious facts:

  1. The fresco dates from the 14th century and there is an original line in German, although Bible was translated by Martin Luther only in 1522.
  2. At that time there lived the ruler of Wallachia Vlad II who was father of Vlad the Impaler also known as Vlad Dracula.
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)
Biserica Manastirii, or Church of the Dominican Monastery, in the town of Sighisoara, Romania (14th century)

One more similar discovery happened in 2017 in Georgia. There, during the reconstruction of the church, scientists found the mural painting of 12 apostles and Jesus during the crucifixion dating from the 11th century. At the top of the picture one may see 2 unknown flying objects which resemble alien spaceships.

"Crucifixion of Jesus" on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)
“Crucifixion of Jesus” on the walls of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Georgia (11th century)

Two other images of the Jesus’ crucifixion with flying saucers being present are the “Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani dating from the 14th century and a picture “La Tebaide” created  by Paolo Uccello (1396-1475) .

“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“Crucifixion of Christ” in the monastery Visoki Decani, Kosovo (14th century)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)
“La Tebaide” Paolo Uccello (1396-1475)   

So, what do the Church’s officials say about the “extraterrestrial contact” and existence of other civilizations beyond Solar system?

Regardless of being Orthodox and Catholics, Jews or Evangelicals priests are convinced that all the information from so-called witnesses is nothing else as a part of their vivid imaginations, nightmares or even a proof of their sinfulness and connection with the devil.

One of the most logic explanations of such kind of Church servants’ reaction is just a lack of this sort of information in holy scriptures. The Church fears to lose its impact on people, its dominating presence in people’s life in terms of accepting the fact of existence of more developed and powerful forces. It fears to get a lower rank position in people’s world outlook and as a consequence a loss of its respect and authority.

"Baptism of Christ" Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)
“Baptism of Christ” Aert De Gelder (1645-1727)

Anyway, it looks a bit illogical from priests’ side that in view of the absence of information they do preserve only a negative attitude regarding flying saucers as they are depicted in temples near saints and not in a “hostile” way. Why in case of their existence cannot they be helpful to us?

A good example of it is a depiction of Moses receiving commandments from God. It is a world-famous fresco which is placed on one of the walls of the Belgian Cathedral Conti Dotremond.

A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown
A painting on wood near the castle Conti Dotremond, Belgium. Moses is receiving the tablets. Date and artist unknown

It depends on you whether believe or not in aliens and their possible “visits” to our planet but in no case we have a right to accuse somebody to be inadequate, mentally ill or “linked to the Lucifer” as it sometimes happens. Nevertheless, we should not trust everyone who has seen “them” as too many people create stories for different reasons.