(Roughly) Daily

What might have been…

From New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly and and her daughter,  Nadja Spiegelman, Blown Covers: “New Yorker covers you were never meant to see.”

The themes on the Blown Covers website closely mirror what I suggest to the New Yorker artists I already work with. This blog and contest are informal and not affiliated with the magazine but I’m always on the lookout for ideas…

More at Blown Covers.

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As we say “eek, a Maus!, “we might recall that it was on this date in 1762 that Catherine II (‘Catherine the Great'; 1729 – 1796), became Empress of Russia upon the assassination of her husband, the unpopular Peter III of Russia, eight days after he had been ousted by forces loyal to his wife.  Les than six months earlier that year, after moving into the new Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Peter had succeeded to the throne as Tsar; but his eccentricities and policies alienated the very groups that Catherine had cultivated.  Grigori Orlov, Catherine’s lover at the time, led a conspiracy that murdered Peter and proclaimed Catherine ruler.  It is often speculated that Catherine was somehow involved in Peter’s death, but her complicity has never been proved.

Ekaterina (her name in Russian) exemplified an “enlightened monarch,” reforming State administration, extending the rights of both nobles and serfs, and championing education for women.   At the same time, she is famous for her sexual appetites.  She entertained many lovers in a secret room filled with paintings and sculptures depicting the full range of carnal possibility, in which the furniture incorporated depictions of giant sexual organs.  But there is no historical basis for the often-told tale that she was crushed to death when attendants lost their grip on ropes supporting a horse that was being lowered on her for sexual pleasure.

 source

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