On Labour Day, we celebrate the glories of work. We raise a glass to the workers, but also to the chroniclers, artists and photographers. The pictorial sources they created show people at work throughout the centuries.
Ill-matched adversaries from the same corner of the country. In 1386, erstwhile ‘neighbours’ faced each other on the battlefield at Sempach. The age of knights and castles was coming to an end. The future belonged to the burgeoning cities and towns.
The legends of the saints are written without footnotes. They can’t be checked and verified. The significance of these legends lies in the moral ideal that lives on in elaborate portrayals as a gentle entreaty to follow their saintly example.
In 1940, General Guisan stood on the battlefield and called for resistance. Meanwhile, French internees wanted to sing the Marseillaise. Yet again, women were responsible for their welfare. ‘Allons les femmes de la patrie.’
Two German painters, contemporaries, reacted to the ‘age of catastrophe’ of 1914-1945 in very different ways. One painted a harsh and objective depiction of the world he saw. The other persisted in a rural idyll. Both approaches are political.
Augsburg: a descendant of a rural weaver became Europe’s most prominent merchant, mining entrepreneur and banker, despite the Bible’s prohibition of usury. A biography sheds light on an era of history – and vice versa.