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Back in the day, Egyptians had a lot of gods. To those of us living in the modern era without degrees in archaeology, their names are perhaps most familiar from pop schlock like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” making hay with Egypt-y stuff: Ra, Geb, Shu, Osiris, Set, et cetera.

But then there was Amun. In ancient Egyptian mythology — we’re talking 3,000 years ago here — Amun was the king of the gods: the Jupiter, the Zeus, the Odin, the Big Kahuna.

Amun was important enough to have a temple — that goes without saying. But Amun was so important that the guardian of that temple, a nobleman named Amenhotep, got a fancy tomb. And photographs of that tomb have just been released by Egypt’s antiquities ministry.

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Elizabeth Taylor jewels are back in the news.

Christie's 2011 sale of the collection of Elizabeth Taylor was a landmark event celebrating the iconic Holllywood star's life with back-to-back auctions of her art, fashion, and jewels. The evening jewels sale alone achieved $115.9 million, the most valuable jewelry auction in history and seven new world auction records were established.

But now it seems that some of those "record" results have become a royal embarrassment.

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:19

The Norton Museum Celebrates the Art of Tea

The act of drinking tea may be universal, but the art, culture and tradition surrounding it differs from one society to another. Tea pots, for instance, can be plain, or extremely ornate — and everything in between — depending on where you come from. In China, Korea, and Japan, the practice of drinking tea began in monasteries before spreading to the secular upper class. 

Introduced to British royalty in the 1660s meanwhile, tea-drinking became popular with the masses by the early 1700s, thanks largely to Thomas Twining, founder of Twinings of London. Exploring the beverage’s influence on art and culture around the globe, is an interesting exhibition opening this month at the Norton Museum of Art, with 182 objects spanning 1,200 years from the 700s to the 1900s.

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The impact of 18th century art and design on the work of distinguished British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is celebrated in a new exhibition at Danson House this spring. "Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past" brings together for the first time a number of her ground-breaking designs, and explores the collections that proved to be her turning point both critically and commercially. The exhibition runs at Danson House, Bexleyheath from April 1 – October 31, 2015.

Danson House, a splendidly restored Georgian villa, provides a tailor-made backdrop to the exhibition which highlights Westwood’s seminal work of the 1990s which was influenced by the 18th century. Designs and outfits on show make particular reference to the Rococo paintings of French artists Watteau and Boucher. Westwood’s passion for 18th century design is also reflected in some earlier pieces from the ‘Cut, Slash and Pull’ and ‘Mini Crini’ collections, and the Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood ‘Seditionaries’ Collection.

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On Friday keynote speaker Diane Keaton, the "Father of the Bride" and "Annie Hall" actress and style icon, will open the 2015 Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville. Keaton has authored two books on residential design and a recently published best-seller, "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty." The Antiques & Garden Show will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Music City Center in downtown Nashville.

Also featured in this 25th anniversary year are celebrated interior and horticultural designers; five interactive, specially designed gardens; and more than 150 sought-after antique, art and horticultural dealers from the U.S. and Europe. Their on-site booths offer visitors a one-stop, one-of-a-kind shopping opportunity for everything from fine paintings, furniture and jewelry to unique garden urns, fountains, and repurposed vintage pieces.

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The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin and London's Victoria and Albert Museum have joined forces to present a comprehensive exhibition of works by the early Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, "Monopol" reports.

Botticelli is not only regarded as one of the leading painters of the Italian Renaissance, but also as an icon of pop culture. The exhibition, thus, will pay tribute to the artist's enduring influence on art, design, and fashion, which can be traced to the present day.

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded to Yale University Press an $840,000 grant to establish a new electronic portal on which curated and customizable art and architectural history content will be made available to consumers and institutions.

The grant will allow Yale University Press, one of the world’s leading publishers of art and architecture books, to expand both the utility of and the readership for its award-winning and critically acclaimed art and architecture backlist by making text and images available electronically at a reasonable cost or for free. Users also will be able to customize the content, making course packs or creating other digital publications from a variety of texts.

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Fondazione Prada, an Italian institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture, will unveil its expanded headquarters in Milan in May 2015. Established by the fashion power couple Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli in 1993, Fondazione Prada focuses on art, cinema, design, architecture, and philosophy. Instead of exhibiting studio work, the foundation helps artists produce site-specific projects that they have always dreamed of constructing. Fondazione Prada has organized exhibitions with a swath of celebrated artists, including Anish Kapoor, Dan Flavin, Louise Bourgeois, John Baldessari, and Walter de Maria.

Fondazione Prada has selected OMA, the firm co-founded by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, to helm the expansion project, which will turn a former industrial complex from the early twentieth-century into Milan’s largest contemporary art gallery.

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On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, leading interior designer Suzanne Lovell served as guest speaker at DigitasLBi’s inaugural “Ideas Convection” event in Chicago. DigitasLBi, a global marketing and technology agency with an office in the heart of the city’s business district, launched the monthly event to promote the flow of new ideas from leaders working in creative fields such as architecture, design, and technology.

Lovell presented her lecture to Team Whirlpool, a group of seventy-five creatives and advertising executives working on the Whirlpool Brands campaign, which includes Whirlpool, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, and Maytag. Using thoughtfully curated images from her firm’s portfolio of completed projects, Lovell explained the influence that her design work has on culture. She proceeded to walk Team Whirlpool through her design process, touching on the art, architecture, and materials that inspire and inform her classic yet decidedly modern interiors.

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Nearly £45 million-worth of art has been left to the nation in the last year, including masterpieces by Van Gogh, Van Dyck and Constable, and the personal collection of Lucien Freud.

A report published by Arts Council England revealed the details of 27 gifts offered by private owners to the British public collections, with a total value of £44.3 million.

The sum is double the value of artworks offered to the nation a decade ago, and is the result of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme which allows owners to use important artworks to pay inheritance tax.

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