• Me: The Vatican is digitalizing their library! I hope they have public access to at least some documents and books. I'm so excited!
  • BF: Why?
  • Me: Because they have kept so many things over the years. Copies from the first books in history, drawings and papers by Leonardo Da Vinci and others, and who knows what else they have! Documents about history and the Church itself.
  • BF: Yeah, but those documents are probably top secret. I don't think even the Pope reads them.
  • Me:
  • BF: Why do they keep them anyway? If they're top secret because they might challenge the power of the Church, they'd do better to destroy them. Then no one can read them.
  • Me:
  • BF: Why do they still have them?
  • BF:
  • Me: Ok, my geek is showing.
The Signs as Conspiracy Theories
  • Aries: Civilization on Mars- There is said to be human-like extraterrestrials who inhabited the planet long ago and has been there home for awhile now. People believe that there are cities and tunnels on Mars, similar to Earth, where these aliens are said to live.
  • Taurus: Adolf Hitler Faking his Death- The confirmed history of Hitler says that he committed suicide on April 30, 1945 but a few people beg to differ. It is believed that Hitler had used another body put in his bunker where he was found "dead". Some believe he escaped to Barcelona and Antarctica.
  • Gemini: Cell phone- Ever since cell phones have been created, people have been comparing them to microwaves saying they're "frying our brains" pointing out studies stating cell phones cause tumors and brain cancer. Another large group of theorists claim that the government are tracking and monitoring our calls without a warrant, which is illegal.
  • Cancer: Atmosphere on the Moon- Some people claim that that there is an actual atmosphere on the backside of the moon that we can't see, also going as far as to say that there are lakes and vegetation on the backside. A few astronomers have supported this theory by saying they have taken pictures of clouds on the moon.
  • Leo: Bermuda Triangle- The region located between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda, or more commonly known as the "Bermuda Triangle" is said to hold some type of magnetic activity causing boats to go missing and UFOs to hover around that area. There are many speculations on what this could be but it is most commonly thought to be a time portal.
  • Virgo: Francis Bacon was Shakespeare- Due to there being a low amount of history on William Shakespeare, it is believed that the writings of Shakespeare were created by somebody else and then imputed to him. Because of how highly educated and articulate Sir Francis Bacon was, he is thought to be the true Shakespeare.
  • Libra: Atlantis- Atlantis is said to have been an advanced civilization that existed on this planet in the past. Though, some believe that there are descendants of the Atlanteans are still among us in the government. Atlantis has been compared to the ancient Egyptians because of their capability to build pyramids with limited resources. If Atlantis really did exist, it would interfere with our theory of evolution and modern day humans.
  • Scorpio: AIDS Created in Lab- There are numerous conspiracies as to the creation of the AIDS virus. The most common theory is that it was created in a military lab by the United States government. The purpose of the virus was twofold: 1) as a political/ethnic weapon against Africans and "lower races" and 2) as a tool for depopulation.
  • Sagittarius: HAARP Weather Manipulation- HAARP is a U.S research program located in Gakona, Alaska. The stated purpose of HAARP is to develop ionospheric enhancement technology to further radio communications and surveillance technology. Some people think otherwise, however. It is thought that it is actually used to manipulate the weather and cause earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, and many other devastating events.
  • Capricorn: Ancient Texts in Vatican Library- Although most parts of the Vatican library is open to the public, there are secret archives only few people have access to. The most exclusive writings on ancient occult magic and alchemy are said to be housed here, writings that would show the true hidden knowledge that the church keeps from its members.
  • Aquarius: Nibiru/Planet X- Nibiru is said the be the planet of a group of aliens known as the Anunnaki. It is said that Nibiru orbits the sun every 3,600 years which is why we can't see it, even though many people claim we can see it and NASA is covering it up. Many people say Nibiru is set to return near to the earth in the coming future to check up on the human race.
  • Pisces: Chemtrails- When jets fly through the air they release a vapor known as a contrail. Some people believe that some of the contrails we see are actually trails of chemicals emitted from these jets. What is contained in these chemtrails and why they are being emitted is up for debate, but it is most popularly believed to be chemicals that control our brains.
  • Disclaimer: these are CONSPIRACY THEORIES, therefore they have never been proven. This post is not meant to offend anyone or change beliefs.

Looking for a(nother) reason to love libraries? Great Libraries by Anthony Hobson describes the histories of 32 of Western Europe and North America’s most famous libraries, the bookkeepers who were instrumental in their founding and preservation, and some of the materials kept within.

Pictured above are some of the library treasures featured in Hobson’s history, including the Abbey of St. Gall’s baroque library room of 1758, “A master and pupils” Salzburg illumination from the thirteenth century, The Salone Sistino of the Vatican, and Duke Humphrey’s Library from Selden End.

Hobson, A. (1970). Great libraries. New York: Putnam.

19 April 1689 - death of Christina, Queen of Sweden

On this day, 327 years ago, Christina, Queen of Sweden, died in Rome, at the age of 62.

Born on 8 December 1626, Christina was the daughter of King Gustav II Adolf and Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. After her father died in the Battle of Lützen, Christina, his only heir, became queen-elect before the age of six. By his orders she was educated as a prince, with the learned theologian Johannes Matthiae as her tutor. Five regents headed by the chancellor Axel Oxenstierna governed the country. Her brilliance and strong will were evident even in her childhood. Oxenstierna himself instructed her in politics and first admitted her to council meetings when she was 14.

An assiduous politician, Christina was able to keep the bitter class rivalries that broke out after the Thirty Years’ War from lapsing into civil war but was unable to solve the desperate financial problems caused by the long years of fighting.

Highly cultured and passionately interested in learning, she rose at five in the morning to read and invited eminent foreign writers, musicians, and scholars to her court. The French philosopher René Descartes himself taught her philosophy and died at her court. For her wit and learning, all Europe called her the Minerva of the North; she was, however, extravagant, too free in giving away crown lands, and intent on a luxurious court in a country that could not support it and did not want it. Her reign was, nevertheless, beneficent: it saw the first Swedish newspaper (1645) and the first countrywide school ordinance; science and literature were encouraged, and new privileges were given to the towns; trade, manufactures, and mining also made great strides.

Christina’s abdication after 10 years of rule shocked and confused the Christian world. She pleaded that she was ill and that the burden of ruling was too heavy for a woman. The real reasons, however, are unclear and still disputed. Among those that are often cited are her aversion to marriage, her secret conversion to Roman Catholicism, and her discomfort (after spending most of her life in the company of men) with her own femininity. She chose her cousin Charles X Gustav as her successor, and, when he was crowned on 6 June 1654, the day of her abdication, Christina left Sweden immediately.

In December 1655 Pope Alexander VII received Christina in splendour at Rome. He was, however, soon disillusioned with his famous convert, who opposed public displays of piety. Although she was far from beautiful (short and pockmarked, with a humped right shoulder), Christina, by her manners and personality, created a sensation in Rome. Missing the activity of ruling, she entered into negotiations with the French chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, and with the Duke of Modena to seize Naples (then under the Spanish crown), intending to become queen of Naples and to leave the throne to a French prince at her death. This scheme collapsed in 1657, during a visit by Christina to France. While staying at the palace of Fontainebleau, she ordered the summary execution of her equerry, Marchese Gian Rinaldo Monaldeschi, alleging that he had betrayed her plans to the Holy See. Her refusal to give reasons for this action, beyond insisting on her royal authority, shocked the French court, nor did the pope welcome her return to Rome.

In spite of this scandal, Christina lived to become one of the most influential figures of her time, the friend of four popes, and a munificent patroness of the arts. Always extravagant, she had financial difficulties most of her life: the revenues due from Sweden came slowly or not at all. She visited Sweden in 1660 and in 1667. On the second journey, while staying in Hamburg, she had Pope Clement IX’s support in an attempt to gain another crown, that of her second cousin John II Casimir Vasa, who had abdicated the throne of Poland; but her failure seemed to please her since this meant that she could return to her beloved Rome. There she had formed a strong friendship with Cardinal Decio Azzolino, a clever, charming, prudent man, leader of a group of cardinals active in church politics. It was generally believed in Rome that he was her lover, a view sustained by her letters, which were decoded in the 19th century. With him, she, too, became active in church politics, insisting for years on the pursuance of the Christian war against the Turks. Pope Innocent XI, who pushed this war to its victorious conclusion, stopped her pension at her own urgent request in order to add it to the war treasury. In 1681, having secured a trustworthy administrator for her lands in Sweden, Christina at last became financially secure.

Christina’s extraordinary taste in the arts has influenced European culture since her time. Her palace, the Riario (now the Corsini, on the Lungara in Rome), contained the greatest collection of paintings of the Venetian school ever assembled, as well as other notable paintings, sculpture, and medallions. It became the meeting place of men of letters and musicians. The Arcadia Academy (Accademia dell’Arcadia) for philosophy and literature, which she founded, still exists in Rome. It was at her instigation that the Tordinona, the first public opera house in Rome, was opened, and it was she who recognized the genius of and sponsored the composer Alessandro Scarlatti, who became her choirmaster, and Arcangelo Corelli, who directed her orchestra. The sculptor and architect Giovanni Bernini, her friend, considered her his saviour when she commissioned the art historian Filippo Baldinucci to write his biography while he was being discredited in 1680. Her enormous collection of books and manuscripts is now in the Vatican library. She was renowned, too, for her militant protection of personal freedoms, for her charities, and as protectress of the Jews in Rome.

Christina died in 1689. Her tomb is in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Art History Resource List: Early European Art to Late 20th Century

To Request a resource list for your discipline, you can request HERE. My resource list for classics can be found HERE or anthropology HERE. 

See disclaimer at base for sources. This is an extensive list of the thousands of resources available to Art History Students, please add to it if something is missing. is a valuable resource list for students. It is very thorough, and my list is based heavily off this list. I have altered many sources for the sake of space and convenience. I do not take credit for this list, it is the property of Dr. Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe!

Useful Links: 

  • Art webgraphie
  • Lita Annenberg Hazen and Joseph H. Hazen Center for Electronic Information Resources 
  • ArtSource 
  • Voice of the Shuttle 
  • Mother of All Art History Links Pages 
  • Art on the Web 
  • CODART list of museums 
  • Art History Index, through World Wide Art Resources
  • Art History
  • Chinese and Japanese Art History WWW Virtual Library
  • Architecture and Building Web Resources 
  • Architecture Web Sites 
  • Aesthetics and Visual Culture 

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