Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House,

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House,

Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

Classicism in living color
We may interpret the white of classical sculpture as the height of purity and elegance, but research indicates that sculptures were originally painted. An exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen gives us some idea of what they might have looked like—surprisingly garish!

Sea monsters are real
Sea serpents, leviathans, hydras, mermaids, and the kraken are real—they just got creative embellishments along the way.

Playlist from beyond
If that previous link didn’t scare you, this might: ghosts, skeletons, witches, and monsters in folk music and stories.

Last-minute yet historically accurate
Still don’t have a costume? No problem, the Smithsonian Magazine has you covered.

Death and taxes
Okay, so this isn’t a Halloween link, but artists will like it: Even if you make little money from selling your art, your work can now be considered a profession by the Internal Revenue Service.

The upside of flaws
We mentioned medievalist Erik Kwakkel last week. We’re bringing him back because he makes even flaws on parchment interesting.