THATMuse

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This week the boys and I made a general mess, moving furniture about to convert our dining room into an avant-garde, everyone-wants-to-be-there ‘PP GALLERY’. As you know from my last blog post, this is the beginning of my homeschool art project with the kids. We’re going to PARTY with hip artists & snazzy characters from history (fictional and otherwise) whose portraits we’re sticking on the walls. The installation of this #PortraitParty will be laid out over several weeks, and involves a covert operation with which to surprise Daddy (Hernan), our guest of honor. Our secrets will be unveiled at the opening, or vernissage of the PP GALLERY (PP stands for Portrait Party, and of course has the unreasonably sophisticated reference to our refined toilet humor).

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Are you itching to explore but stuck at home? Maybe your trip to London has been cancelled, or you just need to get your brain out exploring beyond your own four walls? Let me lead you on a walking tour of London from the safety of your own home!  

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After a few weeks of self-isolation, I realized my edge on getting the kids into art history wasn’t cutting it with wonderful museum virtual tours. Even the naughtiness of Beyoncé & JayZ’s Louvre music video, ApeSh**t, had lost its luster for Storsh (aged 9) and Balthazar (aged 4). Moreover, art at home with Balthazar (making a police bus out of a cherry tomato carton (clad with criminals), or becoming a pressed flower card-making factory for Easter) wasn’t replacing the in-person drip of art history games that the boys are used to.

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Is the lockdown giving you the urge to travel? We may have to stay put for a while, but that shouldn’t stop up dreaming and planning our next trips. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying whatever movies, TV shows and documentaries it takes to scratch that travel itch. Here’s our list of the best travel movies on Netflix to enjoy while you’re at home (and give those itchy feet some relief). We’ve even thrown in a few TV shows and documentaries for good measure.

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Ever heard of the terrible 5th century Plague of Athens? Over 2400 years later we’re living though another dreadful health crisis. How did the Greeks handle theirs? And is coronavirus comparable to the many illnesses that have hit the world so far? Historians and art-historians like us love to say that the past always teaches us something. Some stories, like that of the Plague of Athens, are timeless, and we can learn from them even today.

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Feeling down that you likely won’t get to go to Paris any time soon? Me too. I spent six years in Paris, and it breaks my heart that I can’t pop over to wander the streets of my favourite city, snacking on pastries, stopping to read by the Seine, and – of course – popping into my favourite museums. Wherever you are though, there are things you can do to bring a little bit of the Parisian lifestyle to you. Here are five ways you can live like a Parisian at home.

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Lo stile di vita degli Italiani – notoriamente chiamato La Bella Vita – è ammirato da tutto il mondo, e spesso anche imitato. Ok, mettiamo le cose in chiaro sin da adesso. Sono Italiana, se state già pensando che sono di parte. E comunque, sarete d’accordo con me sul fatto che i turisti che viaggiano nel Bel Paese, spesso raccontano della nostra abilità di celebrare e apprezzare ogni aspetto della vita. Si inizia dal tempo che gli Italiani dedicano ad amici e famiglia, si passa al buon cibo e si finisce con la bellezza artistica e naturalistica in cui siamo immersi.

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Italian lifestyle is admired and exported all over the world. Ok, let’s get this straight from the outset. I’m Italian, in case you think I’m biased. Still, I can’t but notice that tourists travelling to the Bel Paese, often tell about the ability of Italians to celebrate all aspects of life. From spending time with family and friends, to eating and drinking well, to enjoying beauty in all its forms.

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If there’s one thing we should be grateful for in these dark times, it’s that this isn’t happening in a time when we only had three TV channels (or worse, no TV at all). If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending the last few weeks getting even better acquainted with your Netflix account. And with almost anything you can think of available for you to watch with just a few clicks, it is, all in all, a pretty good time to be stuck at home.

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Questo Blog post è anche disponibile in Inglese!

Il Diadumeno di Vaison è una statua Romana in marmo che rappresenta un atleta vittorioso. Trovato a Vaison, una cittadina Romana nella Francia Meridionale, questo meraviglioso tesoro è oggi al British Museum (perché il Louvre si rifiutò di acquistarlo per il suo ‘prezzo spropositato’!). Si tratta di una copia romana realizzata su un modello originale greco in bronzo. Prova a pensare a quanto i Romani impararono dai Greci… Dopo aver conquistato le loro terre, portarono a casa tutte le loro opere più belle per farsi ispirare da esse. Chiaramente, non avrebbero potuto dimenticare il Diadumeno, un meraviglioso pezzo realizzato da uno dei più famosi artisti della Grecia Classica, Policleto.

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The Daidoumenos of Vaison is a Roman marble statue of an ancient Greek athlete. Found at Vaison, a Roman town in Southern France, this beautiful piece is at the British Museum (because the Louvre refused to buy it for its ‘unreasonable price’!). The statue is a Roman copy of a Greek original in bronze. Just think for a second about how much the Romans learnt from the Greeks… After conquering their lands, they brought back home all their most beautiful artworks and took inspiration from them. Clearly, they couldn’t forget the Daidoumenos, a sculpture by one of the most famous artists of Classical Greece, Polykleitos.

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If you had a trip to Paris planned in the next few months, you’re probably feeling pretty crushed right now. Our hearts go out to our Parisian friends, who are currently on lockdown. For the rest of us, Paris feels very far away. There’s nothing quite like a stroll along the Seine, a picnic in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, or a museum treasure hunting romp through the Louvre (we think so anyway). But here’s the next best thing: our favourite books about Paris to read while you can’t get there.

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