My supporters help make new works happen – thanks, guys! To be notified when I publish new books and essays and/or to support my work, join my Sunday Recommendations list by visiting this page or sending an email to DuranteDianne@gmail.com. For a quick list of my books (print and Kindle, see my Amazon author page.

For specific topics, see the pages on Sculpture, Painting, Opera, Literature, Movies & TV, History / Politics / technology, and Fearless Foreign Food.

2019

  • In the works: a Guides Who Know videoguide app on Central Park; Innovators in Painting (a companion to Innovators in Sculpture); and a book on artist-entrepreneurs (Saint Gaudens, MacMonnies, Parrish). For more, see my Patreon page.
  • Video re supporting me via this site rather than Patreon is here. For more details, see the Sunday Recommendations page.
  • Continuing my republication of Henry Kitchell Webster’s works (see entry under 2018): The Butterfly (in print or Kindle).
  • “Honoring the Father of the U.S. Coast Guard with a New Sculpture,” talk at Hamilton Grange on 5/25/19 (for Fleet Week). Sponsored by the Grange and the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society.
  • Alexander Hamilton and the Reynolds Affair: A Three-Part Moral and Political Tale. Available in print from Amazon. For details, see this post.
  • “Alexander Hamilton and the Reynolds Affair: A Three-Part Moral and Political Account.” Given to a sold-out crowd at Fraunces Tavern Museum on 1/10/2019, under the auspices of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society. Video here, with thanks to Sergio Villavicencio, the AHA Society’s Communications Director, for shooting and editing the video, and to Rand Scholet for his encouragement. After the talk, the AHA Society honored me by naming me one of their National Hamilton Advocates.

2018

2017

  • A three-volume set on Hamilton: Alexander Hamilton: A Brief Biography and Hamilton: A Friend to America (volumes 1 and 2), the compilation of 70 or so blog posts, with many illustrations of Hamilton’s life and times, printed throughout in color. More details in the blog post here. Purchase on Amazon for $15 + $54.95 + $42 = $111.95 (printed by CreateSpace here, here, and here), or on Barnes & Noble for $14 + $30 + $25 = $69.00 (printed by Ingram on slightly lighter weight paper, here, here, and here). The Kindle version of Alexander Hamilton: A Brief Biography is here.
  • Central Park The Early Years: blog post here, Amazon purchase here (print and Kindle), Barnes & Noble here. Includes 129 images, many in color. For these and other early images, see this page and my Pinterest boards Central Park: The Early Years and Central Park on a Tangent.
  • “Politics and Portrait Sculptures,” provoked by Bill de Blasio’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers. Related guest posts by G.A. Mudge, Zenos Frudakis, Quent Cordair, and Francis Morrone.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: A New Musical. Extensive comments on Genius.com.

2016

2015

  • Innovators in Sculpture (Kindle): Focuses on innovations that gave the artists who created them—and all artists who followed—greater power to make viewers stop, look, and think about sculptures. Five thousand years in about 2 hours. This is a revised version of Art History through Innovators: Sculpture (on Medium.com, mid-2015).
  • “How to Introduce Your Kid to Art” (originally on Medium.com): Advice from a former homeschooling parent and current art historian.
  • Fearless Foreign Foods: Poland” – main ingredients and dishes in Polish food.
  • Yemen, In Brief  (Kindle) – History & culture of Yemen; a survey written in 2000, after the attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor, and published on Kindle with a brief update covering the past 15 years, plus 17 photos and maps.
  • “About Us” page evaluations for the blog of CorporateHistory.net (2010-2015). After writing over a hundred of these, I’m one of the world’s authorities on what works and what doesn’t.

2014

2013

  • Amadeus Revisited” – For 20 years, I refused to watch Amadeus because I couldn’t stand the way Mozart was represented. When I finally did watch it again, I realized I’d been misinterpreting it.

2012

  • Getting More Enjoyment from Art You Love (Kindle) – A favorite artwork can provide you with enjoyment and inspiration, help you recall important events of the past, and help you project a course into the future. Get even more enjoyment from a work of art you love by approaching it with an active mind: studying its details and asking questions about its meaning. Earlier version published in The Objective Standard.
  • Alexander Hamilton: A Brief Biography (Kindle) – Short biography of Alexander Hamilton (with lots of quotes from the man himself); originally presented during a walking tour of Manhattan’s four sculptures of Hamilton.
  • Bernini’s Innovations (Kindle) –  Innovations by Bernini that changed the history of sculpture, followed by a brief chronological survey of this Baroque sculptor’s life and major works; with dozens of color illustrations.
  • From Portraits to Puddles: New York Memorials from the Civil War to the World Trade Center Memorial (Reflecting Absence) (Kindle) – Surely we can offer the victims of 9/11 a better tribute than Reflecting Absence, a gloomy piece of landscape architecture with lists of names. But what makes an effective tribute? What makes a memorable memorial?
  • How to Analyze and Appreciate Paintings (Kindle) – Via discussions of Holbein’s Sir Thomas More and Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert, we work through a series of questions to help you systematically observe the details of a painting, state what effect they have, and set them in the context of the rest of the work. As we go, we work out tentative themes and then a final statement of the theme; and finally, we evaluate the works in emotional, esthetic, philosophical, and art historical terms. Earlier version published in The Objective Standard.
  • Review of Arminio in Armenia, performed by Opera Feroce. (Loved it!)
  • Seismic Shifts in Subject and Style: 19th-c. French Painting and Philosophy (Kindle) – What caused the dramatic shifts in subject and style over the course of the 19th century – from Madame Recamier, by Jacques-Louis David (1800), to Luxe, Calme, et Volupte, by Matisse (1904)? This 30,000-word essay is a combination of art analysis and philosophical detection. Earlier version published in The Objective Standard.
  • Step-by-Step Kindle Publishing (Kindle) –  Geared toward those of us who would rather be writing books than writing computer code; an overview of the principles of ebook design, followed by step-by-step instructions arranged so you can easily find the parts that apply to your book. [NOTE: I haven’t kept this updated; on 1/7/2018, I unpublished it from Kindle.]
  • The Statue of Liberty: Timeless Art, Political Hot Topic (Kindle) – A look at the Statue of Liberty as a timeless work of art and as a political statement by those who conceived it and by their contemporaries in the late 19th century. Includes archival illustrations, close-up views of Liberty, quotes from sculptor Bartholdi and his contemporaries, and tips on photographing outdoor sculptures in New York.

2010

  • Internationalism (Key Concepts in American History series) (hardcover) – A work-for-hire high-school history text on American foreign policy from World War II to ca. 2000.
  • Tips for Photographing Sculptures.”
  • VersaQuill Copywriting Workbook (Amazon CreateSpace) – A systematic way to generate ideas for copywriting, and to check what you’ve produced against accepted “best practices” of prominent copywriters from the last century or so. I pull this off the shelf every time I need to promote a new book or product.

2009

2008

  • Upward Glance: Chicago (screensaver) – 200 high-resolution photos of Chicago, mostly the architecture in the Loop and Michigan Avenue.
  • Upward Glance: New York (screensaver) – 1,500+ photos taken in New York City and nearby, ranging from skylines to pedestal clocks, from phalanxes of skyscrapers to brownstone facades, from Central Park scenes to sailboats in Suffolk County.

2007

  • Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide (hardcover & paperback) – 54 monuments, ranging from major figures in American history to city icons, and with works by some of America’s best sculptors. Each monument has an “About the Subject” and an “About the Sculpture” section.

2006

2005

  • On Studying History” – An essay written when I was homeschooling my daughter, with 2 important points to remember as you wade through the ages.

2004

2003

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Real World” – “Why do I feel the Hellmouth is gaping because Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s last episode airs this month? After all, I have no immediate, ‘practical’ reason for watching it. I don’t need lessons in killing demons, or martial arts, or dressing twenty-chic. So what’s the appeal? …” (A thank-you of sorts to Joss Whedon.)
  • Forgotten Delights: The Producers (paperback) – First in what was intended to be a series of self-published books on outdoor sculptures in Manhattan; includes essays on explorers, inventors, engineers, businessmen, and workers, some of which I still haven’t published anywhere else.

2000

1999

  • Vermeer’s Geographer” – “Think of a moment of insight – a moment when you had an integration of such scope that it made you stop writing, stop speaking, stop moving, so you could concentrate on working through the implications of that thought. What would you give for a reminder of that moment when you were tired, or had writer’s block, or when you just needed to remember that one man improves, and the whole of mankind progresses, by such moments of insight? …”

1998

  • MacMonnies’ Nathan Hale” – “MacMonnies’ Nathan Hale is a reminder not of what the Founding Fathers stood for, but of how they stood for it. …”
  • Review of The Scarlet Pimpernel (Broadway play) – Here’s why I loved the first version – although I’d be happy to see any of the versions again.

1991

  • A Checklist for Healthy Skeptics” (The Freeman) – “We in the United States are becoming terrified of our own technology. Nuclear energy will zap us into early graves. Alar and DDT will give us cancer. The greenhouse effect will melt the polar ice-caps and Manhattan will be submerged. Wouldn’t it be better to live ‘in harmony with nature,’ that is, without all our high-tech devices but in peace and health and security? – Or would it, perhaps, be better to ask first how much truth there is in the media hype that bombards us with such dire predictions every day?”
  • Nuclear Power: How It Works and Why It’s Better Than Other Fuels” – Pretty self-explanatory title!
  • National Health Care: Prescription for a Fool’s Paradise,” with Salvatore J. Durante. Published in The Freeman in April 1991; reprinted in Prices and Price Controls  (Freeman Classics), 1992.

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