Topic Review
Chimera (Mythology)
The Chimera (/kɪˈmɪərə/ or /kaɪˈmɪərə/, also Chimaera (Chimæra); Greek: Χίμαιρα, Chímaira "she-goat") was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake's head, and was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term Chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling. The sight of a Chimera was an omen for disaster.
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  • 16 Nov 2022
Topic Review
Authenticity in Art
Authenticity in art is the different ways in which a work of art or an artistic performance may be considered authentic. Denis Dutton distinguishes between nominal authenticity and expressive authenticity. The first refers to the correct identification of the author of a work of art, to how closely a performance of a play or piece of music conforms to the author's intention, or to how closely a work of art conforms to an artistic tradition. The second sense refers to how much the work possesses original or inherent authority, how much sincerity, genuineness of expression, and moral passion the artist or performer puts into the work. A quite different concern is the authenticity of the experience, which may be impossible to achieve. A modern visitor to a museum may not only see an object in a very different context from that which the artist intended, but may be unable to understand important aspects of the work. The authentic experience may be impossible to recapture. Authenticity is a requirement for inscription upon the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the Nara Document on Authenticity, it can be expressed through 'form and design; materials and substance; use and function; traditions and techniques; location and setting; spirit and feeling; and other internal and external factors.'
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  • 09 Nov 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1208–1250)
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily (1208–1250). Frederick II of Hohenstaufen was the second king of the Swabian dynasty to sit on the throne of Sicily. He was crowned in 1198, but, in consideration of his young age, he only ruled independently from 1208 to 1250 (the year of his death). He not only held the title of King of Sicily but also was the King of Germany (or of the Romans), the King of Jerusalem, and, above all, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. His most relevant and innovative iconographic representations were in Southern Italy. For this reason, we focus on the images in this geographical context. In particular, we have nine official (that is, those commissioned directly by him or his entourage) representations of him: the bull (in three main versions), the seal (in three main versions), five coins (four denari and one augustale), the statue of the Capua Gate, and the lost image of the imperial palace in Naples.
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  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479–1516)
Ferdinand II king of Aragon (1479–1516). He was the fourth king of the Trastámara dynasty, which had first come to power after the Compromise of Caspe, reached after Martin I died with no living descendants in 1410. Although in terms of artistic patronage Ferdinand II was not as active as his wife Elisabeth I, he was still aware that the wise use of artistic commissions in reinforcing ideas and concepts favourable to the institution of the monarchy. He is a highly important figure in the history of Spain because, along with Elisabeth, he was one of the Catholic Monarchs and thus represents a new conception of power based on their joint governance, a fact that is reflected in the iconography found in his artistic commissions across all genres. All of the images are evidence of how King Ferdinand, at the end of the Middle Ages, wanted to be recognised by his subjects, who also used his image for legitimising and propagandistic purposes. Nobody else in the history of the Hispanic kingdoms had their image represented so many times and on such diverse occasions as did the Catholic Monarchs.
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  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Louis XI of Valois (1461–1483)
Louis XI (1461–1483) was the sixth king of the Valois branch of the Capetian dynasty in France; he ruled from 1463 until his death in 1483. Louis was the son of Charles VII (1403–1461) and Marie of Anjou (1404–1463). While Dauphin, he married first Margaret of Scotland (1424–1445) and then Charlotte of Savoie (c.1441–1483), who bore him four surviving children: Anne de France, Jeanne de France, François de France, and the future Charles VIII. Louis’ key challenge as monarch was to pick up the pieces of a kingdom ravaged by the Hundred Years War between England and France (1337–1453). His legacy was to have repaired the kingdom’s depleted coffers through a combination of frugality and territorial expansion. His historiography paints him as a paranoid, manipulative, and obsessively pious ruler, a simplistic portrait that is undermined by a close examination of his artistic patronage. This entry will focus on the iconography he employed across a variety of media to promote the sacred legitimacy of his rule and to unify the peoples of France’s newly acquired territories. 
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  • 07 Jun 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Khosrow II (590–628 CE)
Khosrow II (r. 590–628 CE) was the last great Sasanian king who took the throne with the help of the Romans and broke with dynastic religious preferences as he became married to a Christian empress. It was under his rule that the Sasanian Empire reached its greatest expansion. From the standpoint of iconographic studies, Khosrow II is among the most influential Persian kings. Although he was literally occupied by rebels and wars within the borders of the Sasanian territories and beyond, Khosrow managed to create a powerful image of himself that emphasized the legitimacy of his monarchy. Indeed, Khosrow Parviz (the Victorious) drew upon royal iconography as a propaganda tool on a wide range of materials such as rock and stucco reliefs, coins, seals, and metal plates. His image (created both visually and verbally) not only revived the traditional iconography of the Persian kings but also evolved it in a way that transcended his time and was passed on to the early Islamic Caliphates after him. Khosrow II imitated and manipulated the traditional royal iconography of his predecessors in order to display his legitimacy, piety, and valor. 
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  • 17 May 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Henry II of Trastámara (1366–1367, 1369–1379)
Henry II of Castile, also known as Henry of Trastámara, from the Latin “Tras Tamaris” (or beyond the Tambre River), King of Castile and León (1366–1367, 1369–1379) was the first king of the Trastámara Dynasty. In summary, it was a minor branch of the house of Burgundy (or an “Iberian extension” of it), with presence in the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Naples. Most notably, it began playing an essential role in the kingdom of Castile, but after the Compromise of Caspe, its power extended decisively to the kingdom of Aragon (1412). Henry II was the illegitimate son of Alfonso XI and his lover Leonor de Guzmán. He waged a civil war against his stepbrother, Peter I, legitimate heir to the throne, as the son of Alfonso XI and Maria of Portugal, Queen of Castile. Henry’s determination to be recognized as king led him to employ the arts in a campaign to discredit his stepbrother and tarnish his image, portraying himself as a defender of the faith with the right to rule. He built the Royal Chapel (1371) in the main church of Córdoba (today’s Mosque/Cathedral) for the burial of his father and grandfather, Ferdinand IV, in order to underscore his connection to the royal line, and refurbished the Puerta del Perdón (Gate of Forgiveness) in 1377, the main entrance to the church, for use as a dramatic stage for public events. 
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  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
James I of Aragon (1213–1276)
James I, King of Aragon (1213–1276). He was the third king of the Crown of Aragon, which had come into existence through the union between Queen Petronila of Aragon (1157-1164) and the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV (1137–1162). James I represents a milestone in the iconography of the Kings of Aragon, although this is due more to his successors’ promotion of him rather than to his own efforts. In order to organise and unify his dominions after the conquests of Mallorca and Valencia, he immersed himself in legal work that consolidated his legislative power whilst still allowing his territories to retain a certain degree of autonomy. He carried out an essential monetary reorganisation in which his coinage retained its obverse but altered its reverse according to the place of issue. He never succeeded in being crowned, although he featured the crown prominently in his stamps and seals and, on some coins, he added the term rex gratia Dei. In addition, he revived the sword as a royal insignia, having proclaimed the right of conquest as the basis of his sovereignty.
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  • 13 Apr 2022
Topic Review
AI Art
Artists have been working with artificial intelligence (AI) since the 1970s. They comprised a minuscule enclave within the early computer art community throughout the 1970s and 1980s and were largely unnoticed by the mainstream artworld and broader public. In the 1990s and 2000s, more artists got involved with AI and produced installations that question the meaning of agency, creativity, and expression. Since the 2000s, AI art diversified into generative and interactive approaches that involved statistical methods, natural language processing, pattern recognition, and computer vision algorithms. The increasing affordance of multilayered machine learning architectures, as well as the raising socio-political impact of AI, have facilitated the further expansion of AI art in the second half of the 2010s. The topics, methodologies, presentational formats, and implications of contemporary AI art are closely related to, and affected by, AI science research, development, and commercial application. The poetic scope of AI art is primarily informed by the various phenomenological aspects of sub-symbolic machine learning. It comprises creative strategies that explore the epistemological boundaries and artifacts of AI architectures; sample the latent space of neural networks; aestheticize the AI data renderings; and critique the conceptual, existential, or socio-political consequences of corporate AI; a few works criticize AI art itself. These strategies unfold in disparate practices ranging from popular and spectacular to tactical and experimental. The existing taxonomies or categorizations of AI art should be considered as provisory because of the creative dynamics and transdisciplinary character of the field. Similar to other computational art disciplines, AI art has had an ambivalent relationship with the mainstream artworld, marked by selective marginalization and occasional exploitation.
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  • 27 Jan 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Helen Nemanjić (1250–1314)
Queen Helen Nemanjić (?–Brnjaci near Zubin Potok, February 8, 1314) was a Serbian medieval queen and consort of King Stefan Uroš I (r. 1243–1276), the fifth ruler of the Serbian Nemanide dynasty. She was the mother of the kings Stefan Dragutin and Stefan Uroš II Milutin. Today, she is known as Helen of Anjou (Jelena Anžujska in Serbian) although her real name was most probably Heleni Angelina (Ελένη Aγγελίνα). She was the founder of the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Gradac as well as four Franciscan abbeys in Kotor, Bar, Ulcinj, and Shkodër. Together with her sons, Kings Stefan Dragutin and Stefan Uroš II Milutin she helpedrenovation of Benedictine abbey of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus near Shkodër on Boyana river in present-day Albania. After the death of her husband, she ruled Zeta and Travunija until 1306. She was known for her religious tolerance and charitable and educational endeavors. She was elevated to sainthood by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Along with Empress Helen, the wife of Serbian Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, Queen Helen was the most frequently painted woman of Serbian medieval art. Six of her portraits can be found in the monumental painting ensembles of the Serbian medieval monasteries of Sopoćani, Gradac, Arilje, Đurđevi Stupovi (Pillars of St. George), and Gračanica, as well as on two icons and one seal. Queen Helen is also the only female Serbian medieval ruler whose vita was included in the famous collection of the “Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops” by Archbishop Danilo II, a prominent church leader, warrior, and writer. 
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  • 13 Apr 2022
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