Blogs > Cliopatria > Mr H's Giornale Nuovo to Cliopatria's Hall of Fame

Mar 16, 2009 4:59 am

Mr H's Giornale Nuovo to Cliopatria's Hall of Fame

When they are no longer active, Cliopatria honors especially distinguished history blogs by naming them to its Hall of Fame. Heretofore, only Invisible Adjunct (February 2003 - August 2004), Caleb McDaniel's Mode for Caleb (July 2004 - August 2006), and William Turkel's Digital History Hacks (December 2005 - December 2008) have been so honored. At Sharon Howard's suggestion, we're adding Mr H's Giornale Nuovo to the Hall of Fame. BibliOdyssey's pk or peacay is our guest to tell you why.

Giornale Nuovo (October 2002 - October 2007)

Mr H's Giornale Nuovo, the self-described "accumulation of inconsequential notices in the shape of a web-log", provides an excellent model for how an amateur enthusiast can publish a website of distinction within a niche subject. For the ever modest Mr H, that venture involved collecting, scanning and linking to an eclectic array of beautiful, curious and sometimes bizarre art works, dominated by unusual engravings and etchings from the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. At a basic level, one would classify Giornale Nuovo as an Art History blog, justifying its appearance among the esteemed company in this memorial, but Mr H also shared his passion for books and literature as extensions from and sources for the visual delights that appeared on the blog. A side venture involved the ocr-scanning and hosting of Isaac D'Israeli's 'Curiosities of Literature', and when his collecting habits overtook the available shelf space at home, Mr H generously held periodic book [and CD] giveaways for site visitors.

Still and all, the cavalcade of fascinating pictures was the dominant feature. That's not to suggest or even intimate a comparison with the sausage factory image streams à la the digg/ffffound/reddit clone aggregator sites du jour. It's immediately obvious, even to a first time visitor to the blog, that discerning taste and great care was taken with the selection of material for display. Usually, we were only given a tantalising thumbnail glimpse of a part of an each image with full high resolution files hosted in the background. Erudite accompanying commentary, drawn from Mr H's wide reading, might introduce the artist and technique, the historical context of the images and the connection to related posts or artworks, all supplemented with links to cogent background information. Nothing to it really. The astonishing part is that he managed to maintain such a high standard for five years. And it is all good.

From my own perspective, Giornale Nuovo was [is!] a great inspiration, not just in terms of the visual and factual resources provided (that I am still mining), but because it showed me how to shape an evolving interest into a respected web journal. Mr H was assiduous with attribution and identification of sources, charming and helpful in dealing with comment enquiries and consistently populated the site with amazing material. This is just the kind of site that should be preserved for posterity so historians of the future can see how the early weblog phenomenon transitioned successfully from personal diary to classy publication. We are fortunate that Mr H is keeping the site alive at least for a couple more years. Some examples from which to start delving: the series on alphabet forms (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven); Clovio, and the Farnese Hours; Faces of the Grotesque; How I Found the Codex; Hoefnagel & Hoefnagel's Archetypa and the final entry: Thank You and Goodnight!.

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Elatia Harris - 3/30/2009

It's impossible to praise this blog too highly, and peacay gets it right.

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