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. We’ll be keeping track of which links get the most clicks!


Not-so clickbait:

  • After her numerous Freedom of Information Act requests about the paintings decorating the CIA’s Virginia headquarters were denied, an artist started recreating the works from details she gathered from other sources.
  • Kazimir Malevich is often credited as one of the first abstract painters, if not the first. Before achieving his fame, though, he designed a perfume bottle. It’s not abstract, but it’s a real beauty.
  • The Magdala Stone, discovered in 2009, is engraved with enigmatic symbols apparently depicting the ancient Jewish temples. What’s significant about it is that when the stone was carved, the Second Temple still stood in Jerusalem for the carver to see, which is upending scholarly assumptions about ancient synagogues and their relationship with the Temple.
  • Researchers have been recording brain waves from hundreds of art gallery visitors. Among their discoveries: The most engaging works of art trigger brain regions involved in introspective thought, as well as nearby regions usually directed at more outward matters—two areas that usually don’t activate simultaneously.