” Pollice Verso ”

Title: Pollice Verso (Thumbs Down)

Author: Jean-Léon Gérôme

Year: 1872

Medium: oil on canvas

Location: Phoenix Art Museum

” Battle of Tours ”

Title: Battle of Tours

Author: Charles de Steuben

Year: 1837

Medium: oil on canvas

Museum: Chateau de Versailles – France

The Battle of Tours was fought on October 10, 732 between forces under the Frankish leader Charles Martel and a massive invading Islamic army led by Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi Abd al Rahman, near the city of Tours, France. During the battle, the Franks defeated the Islamic army and Emir Abd er Rahman was killed. This battle stopped the northward advance of Islam from the Iberian peninsula, and is considered by most historians to be of macrohistorical importance, in that it halted the Islamic conquests, and preserved Christianity as the controlling faith in Europe, during a period in which Islam was overrunning the remains of the old Roman and Persian Empires.

” God Speed ”

Title: God Speed

Author: Edmund Leighton

Year: 1900

Genre: History painting

Medium: oil on canvas

Edmund Leighton made several paintings on the subject of chivalry. God Speed was one of the earliest paintings on the series and up to this day is considered as one of Leighton’s most recognizable works. It captures love during the Medieval period, depicting a knight off to battle, leaving his beloved woman behind. The woman wishes him luck by tying a sash around his arm, a custom during those times, as a sign that they will remain united and will be reunited, a symbol of hope that all will turn out well. 

” Goddess Athena ”

Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War

Athena, also referred to as Athene, is a very important goddess of many things. She is goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Her parents were Zeus, the king of the gods, and Metis, who was a Titan. Her symbols include armor, olive trees, snakes, and owls. She is normally depicted either dressed in full armor or in a long gown. She is known most specifically for her strategic skill in warfare and is often portrayed as companion of heroes and is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour.

Athena was worshipped throughout Ancient Greece. She was the patron goddess of several places, including Athens. In fact, Athens is the site of her most famous temple, the Parthenon, which is still standing today.

She is often depicted as leading soldiers into battle, something that caused her to be worshipped all over. She was the patron goddess of many popular heroes such as Odysseus, Jason, and Hercules.

Note that even though she is associated with war, she was very reluctant to use violence to solve conflict. As an intellectual, she preferred to use her wisdom to avoid conflict. If she did have to fight, she did so with a sense of purpose and effectiveness.

” St. Michael ”

Title: St. Michael

Artist:  Luca Giordano

Year: 1663

Genre: religious art

Period: Baroque

Dimensions: 198 cm × 147 cm (78 in × 58 in)

Medium: Oil on canvas

The story of the Archangel Michael’s victory over Satan and the renegade angels is told in Revelation (12, 7-9). As a Christian knight, St. Michael was perceived as a symbol of the Catholic Church victorious over Protestantism and the Turkish threat.

[Stonehenge]

Stonehenge is a world-famous stone monument located near the town of Salisbury in Wiltshire County, England. Dating back approximately 3,500 years, these prehistoric statues are one of the most famous and mysterious attractions in the entire world. One of the most popular tourist attractions anywhere on earth, Stonehenge was reportedly built in three stages that totalled more than 30 million hours of work.

Although there are no written records on the construction of or motivation behind the creation of Stonehenge, speculation on the origins and purposes of these rock formations has continued for centuries. One school of thought is that it is a place of death, while others believe it has healing powers. Some theorise its purpose as one of human sacrifice while others surmise it has something to do with astronomy. Further still, many think of it as a place of worship while another widely held belief is that it acted as a solar calendar that was able to predict the sunrise, sunset, eclipse and moon activity.

Despite all the conjecture, Stonehenge continues to remain a mystery and a famous landmark to this day. With little information on how exactly these standing stones were placed there, the circular monument is said to date back as early as 3100 BC. Although the structure wasn’t complete at this time, work on the three phases of building had started and 1500 years later was finally complete. However there is evidence at the site that suggests the structure could date back as far as 6500 years.

Just how Stonehenge was built is equally mysterious with some believing supernatural forces must have contributed to the construction. With the stones being impossibly heavy, it’s hard to see how anyone could carry of move them into place. Archeologists have flocked to the site for centuries, trying to shed some light on how this amazing attraction came into being however the origins of Stonehenge continue to remain a mystery.

A must see on any visit to England, millions of tourists journey from all over the world to take in this mysterious yet mind-blowingly impressive wonder of the world. Depending on the time of day of your visit, you’ll notice the colours of the sarsen and bluestones and you are welcome to walk around the circle and lay on the green land to take in this amazing monument from every angle.