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:

  • The babies in paintings of Christ’s infancy rarely look like babies in real life. Perhaps that’s why we might not have noticed another remarkable motif that often occurs in these works.
  • Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way to help readers reject self-doubt and pursue creative activity not as a profession but as a form of therapy. How is that faring in our age of self-promotion?
  • Sigmund Freud has largely fallen from favor in his own field, but today’s artists remain fascinated by his work. Two academics and an artist explain why.
  • Earlier this week, Amy Sedaris, author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, hosted a motel-art giveaway. We hate ourselves for missing it.
  • And a question we haven’t asked but we’re glad someone did: Why are so many official city flags so ugly?