This object, often referred to as the Kugelspiel, is a Byzantine gambling machine from the beginning of the 6th century. Yes, you’ve read that right, medieval Greek/Romas had gambling machines. Apparently, those were quite popular and presented enough of a problem for Justinian I to ban them in 534. This particular machine was located at the hippodrome in Constantinople (hence the reliefs depicting horse racing scenes). The game was pretty straightforward - players would insert balls of various colors into the machine and the person whose ball was the first to emerge from the bottom opening would be the winner.
The machine is on display in Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst (Bode-Museum) in Berlin.
More info (in German) at SMB-digital.
The photos are mine (they aren’t particularly good, but I have to take responsibility for the things I’ve made, I guess).
It was not all that uncommon for the medieval architects to put their signatures or portraits on the buildings they’d designed. The example above comes from the Dominican Church of St Basil in Regensburg, which was designed by brother Dietmar (or Diemar) and built around the half of 13th Century. He is shown with a compass, which was at the time the most popular attribute in artistic representations of architects.
Photo by Sfischer on Wikimedia Commons
The Sphinx Gate of Alaca Höyük, Turkey.
Showing strong evidence for Egyptian influence, the Hittite Sphinx Gate likely served as the main entrance into Alaca Höyük, and is located near the palace area.
Photos courtesy & taken by Samuel Tristán.
Was painting worn out shoes a thing in 1880s Paris?
Top to bottom:
- Nils Kreuger, A pair of boots, 1882
- Vincent van Gogh, A pair of shoes, 1886
- Vincent van Gogh, Three pairs of shoes, 1886
Kreuger lived in Paris between 1881 and 1887. Van Gogh stayed there from 1886 to 1888.
Picture sources: Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Wikimedia Commons
Wrocław, the city hall.
Brothers Rouargue, from Voyage pittoresque en Allemagne (Picturesque travel through Germany), by Xavier Marmier, Paris 1860.
The secret life of a French buttress.
Perspective des contreforts et commencement des rues perdues de N.D. de Rheims, Champagne, 1857, Adrien Dauzats, Charles Nodier. Getty Research Institute.
A Grotesque Scene with Animals Playing and a Dog Wrapped in Swaddling Clothes, The Master of the Fertility of the Egg, late 17th, early 18th Century.
"The artist was a follower of the Brescian painter Faustino Bocchi (1659-1742). The works of this eponymous artist were first grouped together by Mariolina Olivari in her 1990 monograph on Bocchi.
The name dervies from the painting in the Milwaukee Art Museum which depicts dwarfs, geese and lobsters hatching out of eggs incubated by a large man (see M. Olivari, Faustino Bocchi e l’arte di figure pigmei 1659-1741, Milan 1990, p. 260, cat. D6). [X]”
Olga Boznańska, Grandma’s Namesday, before 1900, oil on canvas, National Museum in Warsaw