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passéist

passéist

  list of the Manifestes du Mouvement futuriste, from L’Antitradition futuriste: Manifeste-synthèse (29th June 1913) — image : Bibliothèque nationale de France/gallica.bnf.fr     MEANING   – (adjective): having an excessive regard for the traditions and values of the past – (noun): a person, especially a writer or artist, with excessive regard for the traditions and […]

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gorgeous

gorgeous

  Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh by Rembrandt (1606-69)     MEANINGS   The adjective gorgeous now means beautiful, very attractive; very pleasant or enjoyable. Its original meaning was, of persons then of things, adorned with rich or brilliant colours, splendid, showy, magnificent.     ORIGIN   Dating back to the late 15th century, gorgeous is from […]

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grotesque

grotesque

  Crotésca, antique, fretted or carved worke. Grótta, a grot, a cave, a den, a caverne or hole underground. Grottésca, anticke or landskip [= landscape] worke of Painters. John Florio – Queen Anna’s New World of Words, Or Dictionarie of the Italian and English tongues (1611)     During the Italian Renaissance, the remaining buildings […]

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warts and all

warts and all

  Peter Lely – Portrait of Oliver Cromwell       In 1988, during the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, Vice-President George H. W. Bush reached into history for a ringing battle cry: As Abraham Lincoln said, here I stand—‘warts and all.’   But Bush was not quoting Abraham Lincoln. Here I stand is attributed to […]

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to play fast and loose – part 2

to play fast and loose – part 2

  The Conjurer, 1475-1480, by Hieronymus Bosch or his workshop The conjurer is showing a pearl, which casts its spell over the credulous spectator, a person of rank, who leans in and stares at it while the conjurer’s assistant relieves him of his purse.     The phrase to play fast and loose originally referred […]

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Amazon

Amazon

          The Amazon is a river in South America, flowing over 6,683 km (4,150 miles) through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil into the Atlantic Ocean. It drains two fifths of the continent and, in terms of water flow, it is the largest river in the world.   The river bore various names […]

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The horns on Moses’ head

The horns on Moses’ head

    Michelangelo (1475-1564), following the earlier artists, made a statue of Moses with horns. (San Pietro in Vincoli – Rome)       Moses is conventionally depicted with horns.   This is the result of a blunder in translation.   In Exodus, 34:29, where we are told that when Moses came down from Mount […]

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Green, an unsettling colour

Green, an unsettling colour

      Verdigris is a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate. The word verdigris is from Old French verte-gres, earlier vert de Grece, meaning green of Greece.     ETYMOLOGIES   The word green is etymologically related to the words grass and grow. And […]

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