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Jusepe de Ribera, The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, 1634

From the National Gallery of Art:

Saint Bartholomew, who was flayed alive, was a subject Ribera treated several times. Here the painter focuses not so much on the physical anguish of the saint as on his mystical experience. The unusual X-shaped composition pulls the viewer into the scene to share the profound emotion that passes in the moment when Bartholomew confronts his executioner with eyes lifted to God. Attention is drawn also to the sharpening of the knife; the position of the blade and whetstone forms a cross — involving us not only in Bartholomew’s martyrdom but also in Christ’s sacrifice and crucifixion.

Ribera’s thick, rich paints communicate a real physical presence. He uses the coarse bristles of his brush to texture the paint and give it tactile dimension. White hairs in the saint’s beard are created by silvery filaments of paint. Around his eye, the pigments wrinkle like old skin.

Before settling in Naples, Ribera had spent some time in Rome studying the works of Caravaggio. Evident in this picture is the influence of Caravaggio’s dramatic lighting, deep shadows, and unremitting realism, but the intensity of Ribera’s religious fervor and his skillful handling of paint are his own.

When Google Met Facebook


Day 67 of the Google Search+ (Antitrust+) debacle. Today brings a few new entrants, notably Harvard professor and security expert Ben Edelman who argues (yet again) that Google is unfairly pumping their own products. Also joining the discussion is my CrunchFund partner Michael Arrington. 

Michael and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things (see: Android vs. iPhone — though note, for the record, that we’re now both happy iPhone users). But here I mainly agree with his premise that Google shoving Google+ into Search isn’t insane or evil, it was inevitable. Further, he cites Microsoft’s IE antitrust case as precedent for why these arguments now won’t really matter in the long run.

I agree. Google is going to face legal scrutiny over their actions, likely sooner rather than later. But at best, this will drag on for years and end with Google getting a slap on the wrist (though in Europe it may be more like a punch in the stomach). The end will still justify the means — Google will be better positioned to compete with Facebook as a result of their actions.

But that doesn’t make them right.

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