Art Deco and Its Enduring PopularityWritten by Rosana Hart
Elegance and geometrical shapes are among hallmarks of many of art deco objects which are still popular today. The art deco movement was at its height during years between World War I and World War II, roughly 1920 to 1939. The style took its name from 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, so "deco" is short for "decorative."
Art deco became widespread in architecture, interior design including furniture and dishes, clothing, jewelry, poster art, and practically any art form. It started in Europe, but was used even more in United States.
It drew widely on many forms of art from past: Oriental and Middle Eastern art (including Egyptian), Greek and Roman works, Mayan shapes and designs. But it was considered extremely modern and used many machine and automobile design elements like wheels and gears. Rooted in some of avant-garde painting styles of era, art deco is characterized by abstraction, distortion, and simplification. Very intense colors were common, as were geometric shapes.
Above all, art deco was a celebration of modern life, an elegant and sophisticated look which was available in many ways. There were luxurious items for wealthy, and mass-produced items for middle class. In architecture, there were theaters, restaurants, hotels, ocean liners, and even World's Fair exhibitions. It may seem bittersweet to us so much later, but it represented a joyous delight in rise of commerce, technology, and speed.
Dragons: A Very Short HistoryWritten by Rosana Hart
Have you seen a living, breathing dragon in person lately? Me neither. But that doesn't mean they don't exist.
The history of dragons goes back at least six thousand years, and there are dragon tales and legends from every continent except Antarctica. In some places, dragons have been considered helpful to people -- they were national symbol of China -- but in European history, they have generally been considered to be evil, often hoarding treasure or about to devour a fair maiden. Men who succeeded in slaying one have generally been acclaimed as heroes and saints. Some famous dragon-slayers include Siegfried, Sigmund, Beowulf, Arthur, Tristram, Lancelot, Saint Michael, and Saint George.
While most people today don't worry much about dragons, until about a hundred years ago, everyone took them seriously. Sightings were reported worldwide. One dragon in France was said to kill over 3,000 people before twelfth century.