From its hilltop vantage point, Cologne Cathedral soars a further 516 feet by means of two spires that are the second tallest in the world. Continue reading Fake news and tall stories
The story of the three kings or wise men or astrologers who attended the birth at Bethlehem has been told down the centuries. It has inspired many artists and writers to recreate the scene in their own contexts. Two of them are Pieter Bruegel and Sara Teasdale. Continue reading Christmas Eve 2013
The Adoration of the Shepherds is a painting usually attributed to the Italian Renaissance painter Giorgione. Others think it is an early Titian. The two painters were friends and for a time worked in the same studio.
The Magi offered the Infant Jesus frankincense, gold and myrrh. Tradition says that the oldest of the kings, Melchior, presented the gold. Then Balthasar, in his prime, offered frankincense. And the youthful Gaspar gave myrrh. Continue reading The Three Kings (II)
The Magi – or Three Kings – had different names. The Near East knew them as Bithisarea, Melichior and Gathaspa, names that reached the West in the 6th century. An 11th century church document in Belgium lists them as Melchus, Caspar and Fadizarda, after which they turned into Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar. Continue reading The Three Kings (I)