Sunday, December 28, 2014

Is The Isleworth Mona Lisa Legit?

Allegedly painted 10 years before the Mona Lisa that hangs in the Lourve Museum, controversy surrounds this painting of a "younger" Mona Lisa:

The Earlier Mona Lisa depicts a woman in her 20s, so says the caption.

Disputed 'earlier Mona Lisa' goes on display in Singapore

A portrait of a younger Mona Lisa, which its owners claim was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci before his more famous version, has gone on display.

The painting is being exhibited in public for the first time in Singapore.

Its owners say expert tests and analysis confirm Da Vinci painted it 10 years before the better-known version.

But its authenticity is disputed. Da Vinci expert Martin Kemp said it was "just another copy of the Mona Lisa, an unfinished one, and no more than that".

Prof Kemp, emeritus professor of the history of art at Oxford University and the author of several books on Da Vinci, said: "The fact it's being shown in Singapore and is not getting an outing in a serious art museum [or] gallery is significant in itself.

The painting, he said, was "routine in handling". He continued: "Leonardo's landscapes always seethed with a sense of life. It's inert.

"The drapery is inert, and what Leonardo did was he could always give the sense that even something static like drapery had a life to it, a vitality and an inherent movement in it, and this is a heavy-handed, static picture."

But the Switzerland-based Mona Lisa Foundation, which manages the painting, says historical evidence, other expert opinions and carbon dating and further scientific tests point to its authenticity.

"We feel these latest discoveries and new scientific analysis just carried out leave little doubt that it is Leonardo's work," auctioneer and Mona Lisa Foundation vice-president David Feldman told the Reuters news agency.

"The vast majority of experts now either agree with us or accept that there is a strong case for our thesis."

The foundation says Da Vinci created the work in 1503, 10 years ahead of the Mona Lisa, but left it unfinished.

It was later acquired by an English aristocrat in the late 1770s.

The earlier Mona Lisa was discovered in 1913 by an art collector while visiting a British aristocrat in Somerset.

Taking it back to his studio in Isleworth, south west London, for restoration, it was the dubbed the Isleworth Mona Lisa for its close resemblance to Da Vinci's most famous painting, which hangs in The Louvre gallery in Paris.

The artwork will be on show until February at the Arts House in Singapore's Old Chambers of Parliament, before touring Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Australia.

What Is Egypt Covering Up?

Holy Hathor. Check out this series of articles and YOU tell me if you don't think the Egyptian authorities are keeping this discovery ALL to themselves.  Good luck, dudes, trying to keep this one under your hats.  Bet the local antiquities raiders are already busy at work.  What do you suppose the odds are that the Egyptian government has plenty of armed troops guarding the" million mummies" site??? Ha!  Where is Zahi Hawass when we need him? 

At Live Science:

Million-Mummy Cemetery Unearthed in Egypt
by Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor   |   December 16, 2014 07:43am ET

TORONTO — She's literally one in a million.

The remains of a child, laid to rest more than 1,500 years ago when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, was found in an ancient cemetery that contains more than 1 million mummies, according to a team of archaeologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

The cemetery is now called Fag el-Gamous, which means "Way of the Water Buffalo," a title that comes from the name of a nearby road. Archaeologists from Brigham Young University have been excavating Fag el-Gamous, along with a nearby pyramid, for about 30 years. Many of the mummies date to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire ruled Egypt, from the 1st century to the 7th century A.D. [See photos of the million-mummy cemetery]

And then this:

Fayoum antiquities official denies 'million mummies' reports
Head of Fayoum antiquities says that the million figure was a research estimate only
[I'm gagging on this one!]

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 19 Dec 2014

A local antiquities official told Ahram Online that news reports about "a million mummies" discovered by an American archaeological mission working close to Fayoum were false.

Ahmed Abdel-Aal, the head of the Fayoum antiquities authority, told Ahram Online that the million figure is an estimate, presented in research presented to an academic colloquium in Toronto last month by mission head Kerry Muhlestein, and not a concrete number.

Abdel-Aal said that the mission had been based in the Fag Al-Gamous area for 34 years, and during that time had stumbled upon torn textiles, and late period and Roman remains of human skeletons. “No mummies were found except one discovered in 1988 inside a wooden anthropoid coffin with a gilded mummy mask," he said.

Archaeologist Affifi Rohayem told Ahram Online that this kind of burial was common during the Roman period.

“I think the burials found in Fag Al-Gamous is one of those necropoli, but the mission does not know much about it,” he added.

The Egyptian antiquities ministry said earlier on Friday that it had decided to halt cooperation with the Brigham Young University mission because it had "published false news" and had broken the law by speaking directly to the press about a discovery without first getting ministry clearance.


… which resulted in the loss of the mission’s dig permit, apparently:

While Explorator's comment implies that BYU's permit to dig has been cancelled (are the archaeologists and field crews being expelled or have they already been expelled from the country?), the articles it points to do not confirm that this is what, in fact, has happened.

So, what do you think?  I know what I think (isn't it clear?)

Saudi Female Drivers to be Tried in Terrorism Court

What a shit ass country, sheesh.  It makes me sick to my stomach that we do business with these religious nut cases on a daily basis.  I hope ALL Saudi men suffer unending nightMARES of the vagina dentata.   Check out the posted article.  There photographs and related videos. 

Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said.
The cases of the two, Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysa al-Amoudi, were sent to the anti-terrorism court in connection to opinions they expressed in tweets and in social media, four people close to the two women told The Associated Press.

They did not elaborate on the specific charges or what the opinions were. Both women have spoken out online against the female driving ban. Activists say they fear the case is intended to send a warning to others pushing for greater rights. The four people spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of government reprisals.

The Specialized Criminal Court, to which their cases were referred, was established in the capital Riyadh to try terrorism cases but has also tried and handed long prison sentences to a number of human rights workers, peaceful dissidents, activists and critics of the government. For example, this year it sentenced a revered Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal critic of the government, to death for sedition and sentenced a prominent human rights lawyer, Waleed Abul-Khair, to 15 years in prison on charges of inciting public opinion.

Human Rights Watch recently warned that "Saudi authorities are ramping up their crackdown on people who peacefully criticize the government on the Internet." It said that judges and prosecutors are using "vague provisions of a 2007 anti-cybercrime law to charge and try Saudi citizens for peaceful tweets and social media comments."

This was the first time women drivers have been referred to the court, activists said.

The detention of al-Hathloul, 25, and Maysa al-Amoudi, 33 — both arrested on Dec. 1 — has been the longest yet for any women who defied the driving ban. They were vocal supporters of a grassroots campaign launched last year to oppose the ban, and have a significant online following with a total 355,000 followers on Twitter for the two of them at the time of their arrest.

Though no formal law bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia, ultraconservative Saudi clerics have issued religious edicts forbidding women from taking the wheel, and authorities do not issue them driver's licenses. No such ban exists anywhere else in the world, even in other conservative Gulf countries.

The four people close to the women said their lawyers appealed the judge's decision to transfer their cases. An appeals court in Dammam, the capital of Eastern Province, is expected to decide on the referral in the coming days, they said.

Authorities have a history of clamping down on Saudi women who attempt to drive. In 1990, 50 women were arrested for driving. They had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. More than 20 years later, a woman was sentenced in 2011 to 10 lashes for driving, though the king overturned the sentence.

Supporters of the current driving campaign delivered a petition to the royal court this month asking King Abdullah to pardon the two women.

Organizers behind the campaign, which began Oct. 26, 2013, say the ban on women driving underpins wider issues related to guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia that give men powerful sway over women's lives. One activist said the driving ban is also part of "a wider effort to quash any chances of raising the ceiling on civil liberties" in Saudi Arabia.

The two women appeared in court on Thursday for the second time in the eastern al-Ahsa region, where they were detained after driving to Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates.

Al-Hathloul was stopped by border guards and her passport was confiscated for more than 24 hours when she attempted to cross the border Nov. 30 with a UAE driver's license in an act of defiance.

Al-Amoudi, a UAE-based Saudi journalist, was stopped when she went to deliver food and a blanket to al-Hathloul at the border, activists and relatives said. The women were formally arrested on Dec. 1.
There has been no official Saudi comment on the arrests.

Al-Hathloul is in a correctional facility for juveniles and al-Amoudi is in a prison. Relatives say they have been allowed to see them for short supervised visits.
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