Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.;

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:


  • Forget piñatas, in the middle ages Britons used to play games such as Hot Cockles, which involved people taking turns hitting an individual who, blindfolded, had to guess the identity of their striker. Lucky for us, in 1801, a British writer and engraver published a compendium of these bizarre medieval pastimes.


  • The way you draw circles says a lot about you. Try it yourself!
  • The contestants in this art competition work in a most unusual medium: microbes.
  • Not to be outdone by microbe artists, these artists have created a range of works that include photographic curation, music videos, and impromptu performances using another unusual medium: Google Street View.
  • We’ve told you about the world’s blackest black, the pinkest pink, and now a new superblue has been unleashed upon the world–as a Crayola crayon.
  • Volcanoes are awesome–just look!
  • A team of researchers are working to find a solution to an unlikely scourge that is marring the surfaces of canvases around the world: soap.
  • Old works of art are helping med students learn how to diagnose. (Not that it comes as a surprise to us.)