UFO’s depicted in centuries old works of art.

1) 1100’s. Images from the 12th century manuscript “Annales Laurissens”

2) 1485. “The Madonna with Saint Giovannino” by Domenico Ghirlandaio

3) 1710. “Baptism Of Christ” By Aert De Gelder

4) 1486. “Annunciation with St. Emidius” by Carlo Crivelli

5) 1350. “Crucifixion” at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta, Georgia

6) 1500’s. Tapestry located in the collegiate church of Beaune, France

7) 1400’s. Crucifixion, a fresco in the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo

8) 1566. A woodcut by Hans Glaser describing a mass UFO sighting/battle over the town of Nuremberg, Germany on April 4th, 1561. Gazette of the town of Nuremberg stated there were balls “approximately 3 in the length, from time to time, four in a square, much remained insulated, and between these balls, one saw a number of crosses with the color of blood. Then one saw two large pipes, in which small and large pipes, were 3 balls, also four or more. All these elements started to fight one against the other.”

9) 1566. Woodcut by Samuel Coccius, depicting a UFO sighting/battle over the town of Basel, Switzerland on August 7th, 1566. Coccius wrote in the local paper that the spheres appeared at sunrise, “Many became red and fiery, ending by being consumed and vanishing

10) 1538. “Summer’s Triumph” a tapestry created in the town of Bruges, Belgium.


In one of the most memorable moments of any recent art museum exhibition, these two paintings are hung next to each other in “Face to Face: Flanders, Florence and Renaissance Painting” at The Huntington Library.

The painting on top is Hans Memling’s The Man of Sorrows Blessing (c. 1480-90), now in Genoa at the Palazzo Bianco. The second painting is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s c. 1490 treatment of Memling’s painting. Memling’s is an oil painting, Girlandaio’s is in tempera. It’s a great example of how “Face to Face” demonstrates how ideas and techniques in painting traveled from Flanders to Renaissance Florence. The exhibition is on view at the Huntington through January 13.

This installation is discussed on this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast, during which each of the “Face to Face” curators, Catherine Hess and Paula Nuttall, discuss the exhibition. Hess is the chief curator of European art at the Huntington. Nuttall is the author of “From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500” (2004, Yale University Press), which tracked the impact of northern European painting on Italian art.

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Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni (1488) by Ghirlandaio. Tempera on wood, 76x50 cm.

One of my favourite paintings of the early renaissance. 

Ghirlandaio made this portrait two years before she died. A portrait which reflects both physical and moral beauty, the two elements that were important to the early renaissance artist. The inner beauty should correspond with the outer. Here, the beautiful Giovanna is portrayed in profile (the favoured angle in the early renaissance). On the wall behind her there’s a piece of paper which reads:

“Art, if only you could portray mores and spirit, there wouldn’t be a more beautiful picture on earth”