When Milan's Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie reopens next month it will bring to an end 500 years of obscurity for a man who many art historians believe is the greatest unsung master of all time. Two years of painstaking restoration work, stripping away centuries of dirt, pollution and paint, will finally reveal the work of the legendary Renaissance craftsman Gabriello Blanco - the man who did the undercoat for The Last Supper.
"It's been a difficult and delicate business," says project director Professor Michelle Phart. "But we're really excited about finally revealing this wonderful work to the public. At long last Blanco is going to get the recognition he deserves. Obviously I wouldn't want to cast any doubt on da Vinci's genius. His twiddly bits were excellent and he hardly ever went over the lines, but he'd have been nowhere without a smooth, blemish-free surface on which to work."
Not everyone is so excited, particularly celebrated critic Brian Towel, who is characteristically dismissive about the artist. "He was competent enough, but his broad strokes often seem clumsy, and lack the imagination that characterises true genius. Now, if the restoration team had gone further and delved beneath Blanco's third rate attempts, they would have uncovered the handiwork of a genuinely talented virtuoso. I speak, of course, of Fabricci Boshaccello - a craftsman of genuine refinement, extraordinary vision and someone who, in his day, was regarded as one of the most accomplished plasterers in Europe."
Rise of the machines
"Going round the world by elastic..."
The National Sandwich Hotline
Roly Coconut pays a visit
Was itching powder used in Vietnam?
With Derek the Fact Crab
"When Zeppelin built the first motorbike..."
"The latest pyrotechnic technology..."
Startling new data suggests that the amount of fluff in the Earth's biosphere will shortly reach catastrophic proportions. Until recently, most of the fluff on the planet was of natural origin, usually produced by dandelions, certain birds and as a result of particularly woolly sheep becoming snagged on bushes. However since the invention of the 'pocket' in 1542, levels of artificial fluff have risen dramatically. Today's modern synthetic pockets can produce fluff at an alarming rate, and in 2001 an initiative was introduced to encourage clothing manufacturers to convert pockets to more environmentally friendly polymers. This went some way towards stemming the ongoing tide of fluff, but critics have suggested that it's too little, too late. Besides, pockets are really only part of the problem. Fluff is also found down the backs of refrigerators, it forms spontaneously in attics and it is one of the chief by-products in the manufacture of lard.
"Frogs can jump ten times their own bodyweight..."
"They had built a massive underground Wurlitzer on the outskirts of Munich..."
"...madcap antics ..."
"The fenny bentleys all dropped dead..."more...
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