the Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam’s Louvre pt 2

We basically left off with the Netherlands at war with the Spanish and many of the artists fleeing to the North from what is now Belgium, bringing their styles and skills with them. Initially, this was a form known as mannerism, which focused on the raw beauty of the subject, in an idealised setting. However, in Italy, Caravaggio was starting to make his mark, with a much more realistic feel to his paintings, a more down to Earth, grittier style. As such, this began to filter north to start influencing the Dutch, resulting in a change in style and a movement away from Mannerism.

Parliamentary Russia – Lenin’s Coup Fails

Once again I was watching one of those really informative videos on the Alternate History Channel (and I will embed the video, as I usually do, below) and it fueled my imagination – this time in regards to the Russian Revolution. However, as I was thinking about how I would tackle this I suddenly realised that so many different things could have happened that would have had a significant effect upon the way the modern world would turn out, it is difficult to simply take just one path.

Napoleon’s Final Hour – Failure at Austerlitz

I’ve just finished reading a book on the French Revolution of the Napoleonic Wars entitled Revolutionary Europe 1785 – 1815 (and you can also read my review of the book here, namely because I discuss, albeit briefly, some ideas that I won’t be talking about in this post). Anyway, I have to say that the author, George Rude, seemed to gloss over a number of important events, one of them being the Battle of Austerlitz. In fact this is what he says:

(Czar) Alexander, who had taken command of the Austro-Russian forces, fancied himself as a commander and was easily persuaded by an incompetent chief-of-staff that Napoleon was in a weak position and could be defeated. Infatuated with the prospect, he let himself be lured to the village of Austerlitz in Moravia, where Napoleon, in the most decisive of his victories, cut his army in two and inflicted a loss of 27,000 men.

USSR – An Alternate 90s

My first forays into Youtube was simply to upload videos of trains (for the benefit of my brother, who happens to love trains), and this basically continued for a while until I discovered a channel called The Alternate History Hub. Okay, to be honest with you, I had watched some videos, usually some of the older movies and the BBC Shakespeare episodes that were available (and I did try a couple of cat videos, but to be honest with you I really don’t like watching videos of cats being cats, because cats being cats are so much better in real life, and as for trains and trams, well I basically uploaded them as opposed to watching videos of them, well, usually). Anyway, it was through the Alternate History Hub that I really began to discover some of the many, short, wonders that Youtube had to offer (and in fact I ended up spending an hour today watching some of these short clips).

Power Vacuum – King Lear’s Resignation

Well, it seems as if Sir Ian McKellan is in the position where he can simply do what ever he wants, well when it comes to the theatre at least. Apparently the Chichester theatre approached him and asked him if he would like to do a play, and then proceeded to ask him what play he would like to do, considering he is one of those actors that has probably played every role out there. Anyway, he said that he wanted to give King Lear another shot, and fortunately for me, this particular production appeared on the National Theatre Live listing.

The French Revolution and the Global Financial Crisis

I am sure that many of us, especially those of us that sit to the left of the political spectrum, have read about the rise of inequality between the top 1% of the developed world’s population and the rest of the population. However, as I was reading a random article from The Guardian newspaper on Facebook I happened to stumble across another article by the billionaire Nick Hanauer called ‘The Pitchforks are Coming’.

The Western Front – Democracy’s Challenge pt 1 – Somme

I’m sure we are all familiar with the background to World War I, namely how a guy in Sarajevo stopped to buy a sandwich, saw the Archduke Ferdinand go past in his carriage, grabbed his gun, ran outside, and shot him, thus triggering a series of events that would shape the 20th Century (though that story is a somewhat a myth – apparently he planned to meet the Arch-Duke there, it still sounds good). In fact, one can go even further back to when the French ambassador ran into the Prussian king, had an informal chat which was twisted by the German Chancellor to start a war against the French, which in turn laid the groundwork for what was to become World War I.