The power and the glory of the Prado

Mar 13, 2002

The power and the glory of the Prado

It was the age of Spain’s Inquisition and its Age of Gold. King Felipe II, who ascended the throne in 1556, lost an “invincible” armada to the fleet of Protestant England, but he also built the breathtaking palace of El Escorial near Madrid. In ...

Looking longer and seeing more

Feb 27, 2002

Looking longer and seeing more

If you love art, you probably like nothing more than browsing at an exhibition; then perhaps, enthusing with friends that evening about what you saw. Maybe you even indulge in buying the occasional artwork. But . . . making it? Something about the idea ...

The mind has mountains

Feb 20, 2002

The mind has mountains

“It’s true,” a friend who has lived here for more than a decade insisted. “Because for them it’s the most important mountain in the world, Japanese schoolchildren don’t draw Mount Fuji the sloping shape it really is, but as incredibly tall and pointed.” I’ve ...

| Feb 11, 2002

Cold lands but warm hearts

The literally hang out the flags for visitors to the small town of Nishikawa in the snowy foothills of Yamagata’s Dewa Sanzan mountains. A large British Union Jack was crossed with a Japanese Hinomaru over the entrance to Tamaki, a riverside restaurant famous for ...

Feb 10, 2002

Wine-lovers go loco for Coco

ASHIKAGA, Tochigi Pref. — Five hectares of misty hillside in Tochigi Prefecture contain one of Japan’s best-kept secrets — a tiny vineyard that may one day become this country’s first producer of world-class wines. What’s more, should Coco Farm and Winery pull off this ...

Jan 27, 2002

Crash diet with a soft landing

“That’s impossible!” said my colleague. “Ten kilos in three months? That’s . . .” “Don’t say it!” I put my hands over my ears, but he continued anyway. “That’s 100 grams a day.” I groaned. He was right. Somehow, I’d put on 100 grams ...

Bygone grandeur revisited

Jan 23, 2002

Bygone grandeur revisited

Museums are usually places for looking at things in, not places to look at themselves. Some, though — like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York — are works of art in their own right, and the Teien Art Museum in Shirokanedai, Tokyo, ...

All-out attack

Jan 16, 2002

All-out attack

Visionaries, alleged pornographers, artists of enduring repute — Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele both died in 1918. With them ended the first flowering of the Vienna Secession, an artistic movement that declared war on the Establishment in the cause of liberty and modernity. “Der ...

Dec 30, 2001

Starting anew through the ages

The world’s most universally observed festival, New Year is also its most diverse, with timing, inspiration and celebration differing among countries, cultures and religions. For some, it is an occasion on which to give thanks for another year of survival; for others it’s a ...

Dec 12, 2001

The world according to Bucky

Naming himself “Guinea Pig B,” Buckminster Fuller vowed that his whole life would be an experiment “to see what an unknown individual . . . might be able to do effectively on behalf of all mankind.” That decision was made in 1927, as he ...