Illustrations by TJ
Meet the Mona Lisa of the Prado, the earliest known copy of Da Vinci’s best portrait. Similarity in the undersketch of the painting indicates that this was very likely painted concurrently with the original Mona Lisa, by a student of Da Vinci.
There is much controversy in the art world over the question of whether or not to clean the fragile Mona Lisa, but her sister has been restored and some fairly odd later alterations removed to show the original vibrant colors and lighting. Some details, such as the sheerness of her shawl and the pattern on the neckline of her dress, have become utterly obscured in the original, but in the restored copy they’re perfectly clear.
It blows my mind a little bit to look at these two sisters side-by-side and imagine how much vivid detail could be hiding in the Mona Lisa under 500 years of rotten varnish.
THE COPY HAS EYEBROWS
Your response to a beautiful piece of artwork done by Leonardo Da Vinci himself is “SHES GOT EYEBROWS”. Alright. All intelligent life has been lost.
Yo Snooty McSnotwhine, the Mona Lisa’s vanished eyebrows have been the subject of debate and analysis in the art expert community for hundreds of years, long before your parents squirted water at each other from across the clown car and then honked their bicycle horns to indicate they really wanted to make a smug, insufferable little clown baby together.
this continues to be the best reply to a criticizing comment on this site
New Birdland pictures - Andrew Scott.
Quote from a review: “It’s no great stretch of the imagination to believe that Andrew Scott, charisma oozing from every pore, is a worshipped rock star. From the moment he struts on stage as Paul, he fixes the attention in that way that all the best frontmen do, making it almost impossible to look away. It is this magnetism that makes him ceaselessly compelling, even as he royally fucks over all of those close to him.” (rest of review here)
Another Birdland edit here.
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
- A passenger jet, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from the Netherlands to Malaysia, was shot down over eastern Ukraine yesterday. Most of the answers are still forthcoming on this one, but none of nearly 300 passengers on board are thought to have survived.
- Who shot it down? Ukraine itself has denied involvement or capability and several signs seem to point to the pro-Russian separatists.
- Separatists have agreed to allow international investigators access to the crash site.
- Earlier this week, Ukraine accused Russia of shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet in its own airspace.
- Israel launched a new phase of Operation Protective Edge: a ground invasion. According to Gaza’s health ministry, 24 Palestinians have been killed since Thursday night and more than 200 injured. Israel is claiming 14 of those it killed were terrorists and has lost one soldier.
- Netanyahu has said Israel is prepared to “significantly widen" the offensive.
- Inside Gaza’s tunnels — which have been a primary stated target of Israeli forces over the past three weeks.
- Earlier in Gaza, a strike from a naval ship killed four Palestinian boys playing on a beach.
- Three Israelis were indicted in the revenge killing of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir.
- Parisian police are considering a ban on pro-Palestine demonstrations.
- 14 Tunisian soldiers have been killed in a militant attack near the Algerian border.
- Libyan militant groups battling for control of the Tripoli airport have agreed to a ceasefire.
- In the Central African Republic, it’s worse than we thought.
- Assad begins his third term as Syria’s president.
- Kuwaiti protesters demanding the release of an opposition leader and the purging of corrupt judges were met with tear gas over the weekend.
- Anti-terrorism laws in Gulf states are being deployed against dissent and opposition, not militancy.
- Tribesmen bombed Yemen’s main oil export pipeline on Saturday.
- After a Houthi takeover of the Yemeni city of Amran last week, tens of thousands have fled the city.
- Intelligence is linking Saudi chemist turned Al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri to ISIS and the Nusra Front.
- Saudi Arabia is positioned in the middle of extremism — from Yemen on one side and Iraq on the other.
- A Saudi rights lawyer has been jailed for 15 years for “inciting public opinion” and “undermining judicial authorities.”
- Qatar is planning an $11bn deal to buy Apache helicopters and Patriot missiles from the US.
- A suicide bombing in an Afghan market on Tuesday killed at least 89 people — the worst insurgent attack since 2001.
- Kabul airport came under attack by militants on Thursday.
- Afghanistan has jailed a Pakistani journalist, detaining him while reportedly on his way to interview Taliban sources. He was originally accused of spying, but is now charged with illegal entry into the country.
- The outgoing top commander in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, is expressing concern about the approach to the drawdown.
- The widow of the first assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists speaks about her husband’s fears and death, and about meeting with his assassin.
- Protests and violent clashes continue in Cambodia over a disputed election. Eight members of the opposition in parliament have been arrested on charges of inciting insurrection.
- A Dutch court ruled that the government bore responsibility for the deaths of 300 of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995, owing to failures by Dutch peacekeepers.
- What are the aircraft carrying out 21st century aerial reconnaissance?
- Alan Rusbridger interviews Edward Snowden.
- A bill presented in Australian parliament this week could mean that journalists face jail over intelligence leaks.
- The US plans to transfer six low-level Guantánamo detainees to Uruguay, possibly next month.
- A US Navy nurse has refused to force-feed prisoners in Guantánamo.
- The Guardian looks into hunger strikes carried out by the non-Afghan detainees that the US continues to hold, largely under cover of secrecy, at Bagram.
- Blackwater employees testified against former colleagues in the trial over the 2007 Nisour Square shooting.
- And some helpful suggestions for naming the latest operation in Iraq (Operation Shiite Storm, anyone?). You get to pick your favorite.
Photo: Donetsk, Ukraine. A section of the miles-long wreckage of MH17 smolders yesterday. Credit: ITAR-TASS/Barcroft Media.