Marie Antoinette’s Most Famous Portrait Briefly Silenced her Critics

Marie Antoinette a la rose

History has not been kind to Marie Antoinette. Forced to leave her native Austria at the age of 14 and become the wife of future King Louis XVI, she quickly fell under the gaze of a critical public eye. There she remained until her death by guillotine at the age…

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January Potpourri: Buzz, Beauty, and Beguiling Media from France

EU Blue Eiffel Tower-focus

Fun and informative Francophone news items that came across my screen in January. France Heads the European Union Until this month, I didn’t realize that the presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates between its various member states, changing every 6 months. Starting January 1 and ending June…

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Rebuilding Notre Dame, Painstaking Battle Between New and Old

Notre Dame on Fire

This spring will mark the 3-year anniversary of the devastating fire that destroyed the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A day after the inferno, President Emmanuel Macron announced to the world that within 5 years France would “rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, more beautiful than ever”. Since then,…

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Affair Of The Diamond Necklace, Swindle That Ruined An Innocent Queen

The Queen as a Beast

Mention the name of Marie Antoinette and many people will credit her with the haughty citation, “Let them eat cake!” The frivolous queen allegedly uttered these words upon learning that French peasants had no bread to eat. Yet, Marie Antoinette never made this pronouncement nor was she indifferent to the…

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My Mother’s Perspective on Citizenship When She Was My Daughters’ Age

Georgia Newell, 1940

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, I thought I would welcome my first guest author to my blog: my mother, Georgia Neubrecht. My mom passed away nearly 19 years ago, just a few months before my twin daughters were born. I’ve tried to instill in my children the values that…

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Two Very Different but Excellent Podcasts

The Dying Gaul

The summer months have me outside on most days, working to restore my garden after years of my son’s punishing soccer drills. As I water, weed, trim, and thin, I like to listen to podcasts. I recently discovered two of the historical variety that I thoroughly enjoyed. In each recording,…

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The Miseries of War Part 2, Crimes of a Nascent State

Plate 11, The Strappado

Last week I wrote about an 18-plate series of 17th-century engravings by the prolific artist, Jacques Callot. Published in 1633, The Miseries of War provides a visual account of the Thirty Years War that ravaged Europe between 1618 and 1648. In my previous post, I presented plates 1 through 9.…

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The Miseries of War, 400-Year-Old Portrayal of Treachery

Plate 11, The Hanging

Several years ago, I was visiting friends in Chicago and looking for some free exhibits to see downtown. We noticed that there was a Day of the Dead exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center that looked interesting. The assembled collection was fun and informative, complete with works of art, photographs,…

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