Look through a series of 15th-century woodcuts, and you'll find that the leper is as much an icon of medieval art as the crown or the cross.
Leprosy was so common in Europe during the Middle Ages that it's estimated 1 in 30 people was infected with the bacteria. But by the turn of the 16th century, after the Crusades had swept across Europe, the disease mysteriously disappeared. And it never returned.
This left scientists puzzled. Did the bacteria mutate to become less harmful, or did Europeans become resistant to the germs?
When I first stumbled across the photographs of Bobbie Hanvey, I thought I had found an undiscovered master β perhaps another sort of Vivian Maier. My heart skipped a beat. But when I dug a little deeper, I realized that he was quite well-known in Northern Ireland, where he has been documenting the culture in photos and audio for more than 35 years. Only recently, however, has his work become available to a wider audience.
Cameron Russell admits she won "a genetic lottery": She's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.
A story, a work of art, a face, a designed object β how do we tell that something is beautiful? And why does it matter so much to us? Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.
Denis Dutton has a provocative theory on beauty β that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply "in the eye of the beholder," are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.
Psychologist Nancy Etcoff joins philosopher Denis Dutton to explain why beauty inspires and motivates us. Etcoff says our response to beauty is visceral, and we use strong words β like "bombshell" β when we talk about it.