Profile of Judith Harris
Judith Harris was born in Lakewood, Ohio and began selling articles to the “Cleveland Press” of Cleveland, Ohio, when she was sixteen. A graduate of Northwestern University she is today a regular contributor to “ARTnews” of New York and to “Current World Archaeology” of London. She lives in Rome, Italy, with her partner David Willey.
judyharris123 (at) gmail (dot) com
Articles written for the California Literary Review:
- New Insights Into the Life of Caravaggio
Posted on 14 Feb 2011 in Art, Art & Design, Italy
In his most serious brawl, about which the documents provide an entirely new account, Caravaggio killed a man. The brawl, like a Los Angeles fight between rival gangs, had been planned ahead of time with eight participants, whose names are now known.
- Michelangelo: A Tormented Life by Antonio Forcellino
Posted on 28 Jan 2010 in Art, Biography, Non-Fiction Reviews
Before dawn on the morning of February 18 a group of Florentines entered the church stealthily and stole Michelangelo’s body, which they concealed on a farm cart. Upon arrival of the corpse three days later in Florence, thousands of citizens turned out spontaneously, dressed in workmen’s and artists’ smocks like those Michelangelo himself wore. Many wept as they accompanied the bier in an improvised procession through the dark streets. No such a procession, as if for a saint, had ever been seen there before.
- Paul Bril’s Restored Paintings in the San Silvestro Chapel at Rome’s Sancta Sanctorum
Posted on 30 Nov 2009 in Architecture, Art, Art & Design, Italy
Born in Antwerp in 1554, Bril was working in Italy at the end of the century, where his landscapes marked the transition between what Paolucci called the “autumn of Mannerism” of the Renaissance and the birth of the Baroque style. The change was enormous, and Bril is acknowledged as among its authors.
- The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
Posted on 01 Oct 2009 in Architecture, Fiction Reviews, Historical Fiction
Mawer’s The Glass Room is a genuine intellectual achievement—a breath-taking story of love and its loss, of art and lost art, of wars lost and then won and lost again, of rich gentleman Jews and Jews lost to Nazi madness. His broad canvas covers the decades of Mittel-European horrors that began in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. The themes are familiar, but treated in a fresh and stimulating, not to say disturbing, way.
- A New Look at Rome’s Rousing Middle Ages
Posted on 06 Aug 2009 in Archeology, Art & Design, History, Italy
When its doors first opened in 1734, the Capitoline Museum, which stands upon the hilltop that is the very heart of Rome, was one of the first European public museums and a favorite haunt of the wealthy Grand Tourists from all over Europe. As of July 30 this venerable museum offers something novel to all tourists—a chance for a fresh look at a relatively neglected period of Roman history and the arts, the Middle Ages.
- Celebrating Galileo in Florence
Posted on 22 Mar 2009 in Art, Art & Design, History, Italy, Science
2009 is officially “The Year of Astronomy,” commemorating Galilei’s first observation of the Moon through his telescope in November of 1609. Born in Pisa, Galileo Galilei worked in Florence, where the fourth centennial of his discovery is being celebrated with a stunning and sophisticated exhibition which took four years to prepare.
- The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Beard
Posted on 03 Mar 2009 in Archeology, Art, History, Italy, Non-Fiction Reviews
Nevertheless, in my personal library there are 130 books on Pompeii. Of all these, this is the one I would choose to read first.
- The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art by Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard J. Zeckhauser
Posted on 04 Feb 2009 in Art, Economics, History, Italy, Non-Fiction Reviews
No less than the American financier who donates a museum wing on condition it bears his name, or the merchandiser who endows a university institute named for him, the results of Renaissance patronage had to be, first of all, highly visible.
- Kentucky Clay, Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty by Katherine Bateman
Posted on 29 Jan 2009 in Biography, History, Non-Fiction Reviews
“In the South, stories are the effervescence of conversation, and no stories are more gripping to an audience—relatives and stranger alike—than those about family.”
- Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England by Bruce Redford
Posted on 30 Nov 2008 in Archeology, Art, Great Britain, History, Italy, Non-Fiction Reviews
A famous double portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds shows members of the Dilettanti Society sipping away while making rude gestures about vaginas while holding up gemstones from classical antiquity and admiring painted Greco-Roman vases.
- Imag(in)ing America
Posted on 01 Jul 2008 in Germany, History, Italy, Non-Fiction Reviews, Politics
The confrontation between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was to the Italians the “political, intellectual, and moral equivalent of the first U.S. moon landing; and as a European I am stuck down here on earth watching the Yankee space ship make its landing way up there,” Valli wrote.
- Erotic Art of Ancient Pompeii
Posted on 14 Feb 2008 in Art, Art & Design, History, Italy, Sex
A favourite theme which recurred again and again in wall paintings was the satyr creeping up behind a nymph to catch her by surprise. In at least one case the nymph, her veil ripped away, turns out to be a hermaphrodite, to the satyr’s theatrical dismay, and the observer’s amusement. Some wall paintings showed homosexual sex and, because African motifs were popular, another depicted picnicking pygmies enjoying a group orgy under a tent.
- Daniel Barenboim at La Scala
Posted on 11 Dec 2007 in Israel, Italy, Music, Performing Arts
Drama number three was the presence on the podium of Daniel Barenboim, the child prodigy born in 1942 in Argentina to Russian parents, who moved with him to Israel when he was ten. This opera performance, which furthermore inaugurates the newly restored theater, was the first by Barenboim as conductor of the orchestra that had performed under the batons of Arturo Toscanini and, more recently, the flamboyant Riccardo Muti. Although Barenboim has performed Wagner many times elsewhere, La Scala audiences have not seen a Wagnerian opera for three decades, and his making this selection can still raise a few eyebrows.
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