Saint Anthony or Antony (c. 251–356) was a Christian monk from Egypt, revered since his death as a saint. He is known as the Father of All Monks. His feast day is celebrated on January 17 among the Orthodox and Catholic churches and on Tobi 22 in the Egyptian calendar used by the Coptic Church.
The biography of Anthony’s life helped to spread the concept of Christian monasticism, particularly in Western Europe via its Latin translations. He is often erroneously considered the first Christian monk. Anthony was, however, the first to go into the wilderness (about ad 270), a geographical move that seems to have contributed to his renown. Accounts of Anthony enduring supernatural temptation during his sojourn in the Eastern Desert of Egypt inspired the often-repeated subject of the temptation of St. Anthony in Western art and literature.
Anthony is appealed to against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases. In the past, many such afflictions, including ergotism, erysipelas, and shingles, were historically referred to as St. Anthony’s fire. More on Saint Anthony
Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, King Acrisius asked the oracle of Delphi if this would change. The oracle announced to him that he would never have a son, but his daughter would, and that he would be killed by his daughter’s son. At the time, Danae was childless and, meaning to keep her so, she was imprisoned in a tall brass tower with a single richly adorned chamber, but with no doors or windows, just a sky-light as the source of light and air). However, Zeus, the king of the gods, desired her, and came to her in the form of golden rain which streamed in through the roof of the subterranean chamber and down into her womb. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.
Unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods or the Furies by killing his offspring and grandchild, King Acrisius cast Danaë and Perseus into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon and, at the request of Zeus, the pair survived. They were washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys – the brother of King Polydectes – who raised Perseus to manhood. The King was charmed by Danaë, but she had no interest in him. Consequently, he agreed not to marry her only if her son would bring him the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Using Athena’s shield, Hermes’s winged sandals and Hades’ helmet of invisibility, Perseus was able to evade Medusa’s gaze and decapitate her.
Later, after Perseus brought back Medusa’s head and rescued Andromeda, the oracle’s prophecy came true. He started for Argos, but learning of the prophecy, instead went to Larissa, where athletic games were being held. By chance, an aging Acrisius was there and Perseus accidentally struck him on the head with his javelin (or discus), fulfilling the prophecy. More on Danaë
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian (1488/1490 – 27 August 1576), was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school.
Recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars”, Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.
During the course of his long life, Titian’s artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting. More Titian
Saint Peter was arrested on the orders of Herod Agrippa, the Apostle Peter was thrown into prison for preaching about Christ.
His surveillance measures were so severe that, apart from the guards outside the prison gate, two soldiers were constantly next to him. The night before his trial and his conviction, while Christians were praying all night long, an angel of the Lord appeared, the Apostle’s chains miraculously fell off, the gates of the prison opened, and the imprisoned Apostle was released.
The faithful took this chain and kept it as a sacred relic and, thanks to the Holy Spirit, they became a source of healing and various miracles. For this reason, this day was established by the Church as the day of commemoration of the sufferings of Saint Peter and the day of veneration of the Precious Chain. In that way, the faithful honor the Apostle and receive his blessing thanks to their steadfast faith and forbearance…
Saint Felix of Nola (d. ca. 250) was a Christian presbyter at Nola near Naples in Italy. He sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor, but was arrested and tortured for his Christian faith during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius (r. 249–51). He was believed to have died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius or Valerian(ca. 253), but is now listed in the General Roman Calendar as a confessor of the faith, who survived his tortures.
Felix was the elder son of a Syrian centurion who had retired to Nola, Italy. After his father’s death Felix sold off most of his property and possessions, gave the proceeds to the poor, and pursued a clerical vocation. Felix was ordained by, and worked with, Saint Maximus of Nola.
Saint Benedict Biscop, also called Benet Biscop, orBiscop Baducing, (born c. 628, Northumbria, Eng.—died Jan. 12, 689/690, Wearmouth, Northumbria; founder and first abbot of the twin monasteries of SS. Peter (at Wearmouth) and Paul (at Jarrow on Tyne); he is considered to be the father of Benedictine monasticism in England…
Polyxena, in Greek mythology, a daughter of Priam, king of Troy, and his wife, Hecuba. After the fall of Troy, she was claimed by the ghost of Achilles, the greatest of the Greek warriors, as his share of the spoils and was therefore put to death at his tomb. In post-Classical times the story was elaborated; it was said that a peace had been arranged and Achilles was to marry Polyxena, but Paris treacherously shot him. More on Polyxena
Giambattista Pittoni or Giovanni Battista Pittoni (6 June 1687 – 6 November 1767) was a Venetian painter of the late Baroque or Rococo period. He was among the founders of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice , of which in 1758 he became the second president, succeeding Tiepolo.
Pittoni studied under his uncle Francesco Pittoni, a well-known but undistinguished painter of the Venetian Baroque.
Pittoni joined the Fraglia of the Venetian Painters, the Venetian guild of painters, in 1716. From, probably, the same year until his death he was a member of the College of Painters, of which he became prior in 1729. He was elected to the Clementine Academy of Bologna in 1727. In 1750 he was one of the forty-six members of the Veneta Publish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which later became the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice ; from 1758 to 1760 he succeeded Tiepoloas president of the academy, and was elected for a second term in 1763–64. More on Giambattista Pittoni
Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period, and in addition to being a painter, he was also a teacher with a long list of students. More on Jean-Léon Gérôme
According to Herodotus, Candaules believed his wife, Nyssia, to be the most beautiful woman on Earth.
Candaules often told his favourite bodyguard, Gyges, how beautiful the queen was and, thinking Gyges did not believe him, urged Gyges to contrive to see her naked. Gyges initially refused as he did not wish to dishonor the queen. Nevertheless, Candaules was insistent and Gyges had no option but to obey his king. So Gyges hid in Candaules’ bedroom and, when the queen entered, watched her undress. As she was getting into bed, he quietly left the room, but the queen saw him and realised what had happened….