* A Serbian icon was recovered in Italy, via BBC. Looks like Jesus' baptism in the Jordan with my favorite, John the Baptist. Look at the motion happening in the icon. My cousin Anthony always refers to John the Baptist as the "Forerunner", and says that images of him are often full of energy, highlighting the awesome.
* Bob writes about the concept of the garden in his review of Nils Büttner’s The History of Gardens in Painting. There are beautiful images in this book, apparently. This quotation struck me, in particular, since it describes exactly the kind of floral symbolism in (religious) art that I've been fascinated by for years:
"Büttner easily transitions from this Roman contemplative use of the painted garden to the religious contemplative use of the early Christians, who linked Christ with the lost paradise of Eden. Without getting bogged down in detail, Büttner explains how flower symbolism developed around figures such as Christ and the Virgin Mary into a full-grown visual garden of salvation for believers. Büttner shows how even the garden of courtly love, a parallel development to the Christian painted garden, bought into the idea of garden as the means of salvation. “Nothing that conflicts with the ethic of courtly love is admitted into the garden,” Büttner writes, “wickedness, hate, greed, envy, and miserliness are banished from it as surely as are old age and poverty.” Sacred and profane love follow the same program of green power." Thanks, as ever, Bob!
* Narco Santo found on Tex[t]Mex. Long-time readers will remember my fascination with the Narco Santo phenomenon.
* Here is a fascinating "possible solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian land conflict - use bypasses! Blgdblog always finds great design ideas.
* An excellent green idea for algae-based batteries found on Pruned
* A beautiful story about growing a forest from the Aerophant blog
* I share something in common with Tai - I, too, have always wanted to live on a house boat.
* I just learned about a competition put on by British Airways called "Great Britons." "Where in the world would you go to take your passion to the next level?" As I've mentioned before, here and here, I would love to be funded to travel around countries that I think have the most moving religious art, and see it in situ. I'd love to take pictures, and talk about the art, and maybe even make a book about it. Maybe I shoud apply! I could see more art like this one from Mexico Cooks.