21# Puto Bumbong – Philippines

We are in the Philippines, which are home to one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world, stretching from the beginning of September until the end of December. In fact Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season last until Epiphany, the feast of the Black Nazarene on the second Sunday of January, or at the Feast of the Santo Niño held every third Sunday of January. As a results, months of festivities are dotted by a wide array of delicious, often colorful treats, and among…

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“The Ugly Duchess”: the Enigma of the portrait of a woman deformed by a rare disease (or not?)

Probably, before devoting himself to painting, Quentin Matsys (1466-1530) was a blacksmith. However, perhaps to conquer his future wife, who was seeing a painter more romantic than a blacksmith, or perhaps because of a much more prosaic illness that prevented him from being at the forge, Quentin devoted himself to art, and his stupendous realism often slipped towards a satirical and grotesque representation. His best known work (although not the most important) is a portrait called “An Old Woman Grotesque”, more commonly known as “the ugly duchess”, painted in 1513…

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