The Rest Is History

A papal scandal, a special kind of kitchen, and a video of cats boxing in 1894.

By Angela Serratore

Friday, June 23, 2017


A Virgin with a Unicorn, depicting Giulia Farnese, mistress of Pope Alexander VI, by Domenichino, c. 1601. 

• Considering Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt structures. (The New Republic)

• Treating men and women differently in hospitals during the first World War: “Historians such as Joanna Bourke and Fiona Reid have discussed how shell-shocked soldiers underwent a treatment of ‘re-masculinization’: teaching them to don a uniform, take up arms, and defend their country. The process of treatment for women was often a similar process of ‘re-feminization’ that relied on teaching them to be dutiful, productive, and cheerful.” (American Historical Association)

• Did a fifteenth-century pope commission a painting of the Madonna with the face of his mistress in mind? (Pictorial)

• A history of the summer kitchen: “Used primarily in the late-18th and early-19th centuries (though exceptions can be found), the summer kitchen had a number of practical applications in residential life. At its most basic level, the outbuilding physically separated hot kitchen activities from the rest of the house during the warmer months—a key way to survive the summer before the advent of modern air conditioning.” (Curbed)

• The literary and political struggles of Mikhail Bulgakov: “In 1932–3, Bulgakov, a man devoted to the theatre, wrote a brief novelized biography of Molière. The book was commissioned for the hallowed Russian series Lives of Remarkable People, but like much of Bulgakov’s work from the 1920s and 30s, it would not see the light of day until decades after his death in 1940. As usual, the Soviet author had taken a thoroughly un-Soviet approach to the topic, presenting Molière as an individual genius—rather than as a product of his era and class—and fitting the facts of his life into a fictional frame.” (The Times Literary Supplement)

• Cat videos from Thomas Edison. (Atlas Obscura)