How the quest for the ‘perfect blue’ changed art forever

Used for storing and burning incense, this bronze altar set is inscribed with a stylized form of Arabic developed by Chinese Muslims.

The color blue has had a remarkable impact on the history of world trade. Rarely occurring in the natural world, blue pigments were, for centuries, highly sought-after by craftsmen and merchants.

This quest for the perfect blue has also transformed artistic traditions, from modern painting and jewelry to Turkish tilework, Persian glassware and Ming dynasty pottery.

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Country Music’s Outlaw Legacy, Behind Glass

Few periods of country music history have received more popular attention (or rock press) than the outlaw movement. Decades later, its towering personas — Willie and Waylon chief among them — remain a subject of fascination, immortalized as leathery, long-haired stoners and speed freaks who operated entirely outside the law of the country music establishment. By the time the movement had run its course, it had become a marketing tool for the industry. These days, the “outlaw” label gets applied to all sorts of artists who are viewed, or want to be viewed, as rejecting commercialism, slickness or docility, and serves as branding for everything from a satellite radio station to a cruise and entire categories of online merch.

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How Women Artists in Victorian England Pushed Photography Forward

Lady Clementina Hawarden, The Return From the Ball, Study, 1900. © Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images.

Long marginalized from the mainstream art world, female artists have often found their voices in new mediums. Performance art, for example, gave the likes of Yoko Ono, Diane Torr, and Valie Export room to make a new form of art with their bodies, unencumbered by the male centrism of mediums such as painting and sculpture. When feminist artists began documenting their performances, they helped spur the development of video art.

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Is ‘DNA tourism’ the next travel trend for millennials?

Scotland receives hundreds of thousands of heritage tourists per year

The desire to track down our genealogical background is nothing new, and is particularly popular among American and Canadian tourists. Research suggests that 23 per cent of long-haul visitors to Scotland travel there to track down their Scottish ancestry. On Visit Scotland’s last count in 2012, this amounted to 213,000 trips per year.

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