This Signpost "Featured content" report covers material promoted from 17 to 23 May, which we should have covered last week, but accidentally skipped ahead a week. Oops! Text may be adapted from the respective articles and lists; see their page histories for attribution.
Ancestry of the Godwins(nominated by Dudley Miles) The story of the Godwins revolves around the character of Godwin himself; the son of an obscure thegn who fled when Æthelred the Unready accused him of "unknown crimes", he was made the first Earl of Wessex by Canute the Wet-footed. Godwin married Gytha, daughter of Thorgil the Fast, son of Ursius, who was the son of a bear. The bear didn't have a name, or didn't care to give it to the chroniclers. Godwin and Gytha had at least nine children, five of whom became earls. Their eldest daughter Edith married Edward the Confessor in 1045. Relations between Edward and the Godwins were fractious: the king's brother Alfred had been captured and blinded by Godwin back in 1035 when Alfred had attempted to seize the kingdom after the death of Canute. However, on Edward's death Godwin's son Harold was able to claim the throne as the head of the most powerful family in England. And then someone loosed an arrow in the air ... and that was the end of the Godwins.
Texas bluebonnet(created by Loadmaster; nominated by Pine) The Texas bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas. Five species of bluebonnets are found in the state; Lupinus subcarnosus was designated as the state flower in 1901. In 1971 it shared the honor with Lupinus texensis (the one photographed by Loadmaster), and in 2001 the relevant statute was amended to include all bluebonnets. Like other species of lupin, such as Lupinus polyphyllus the roots of the bluebonnet are especially attractive to black bears.
Globi coelestis in tabulas planas redacti descriptio: Plate 1, Plate 2, Plate 3, Plate 4, Plate 5, and Plate 6(created by Ignace-Gaston Pardies; nominated by Brandmeister) Plates from a star atlas published posthumously by the French Jesuit scientist Ignace-Gaston Pardies in 1674 show the stars laid out on a gnomonic projection, with the subjects of the constellations derived from an earlier star atlas, Uranometria. As in its predecessor, Pardies' atlas shows the humans facing away from the Earth, a break from tradition — but the Great Bear is looking at us directly, and rather sadly. The six plates can be arranged in the form of a cube (a feature of the projection used). The idea of a "cubic universe" occurs in Christian and Jewish mysticism, derived from earlier thinkers' visualisations of a cubic Earth situated in the centre of a cubic cosmos. It probably also occurs in Time Cube, but nobody ain't got time for that.
Leo Tolstoy in 1897(created by Yann; nominated by Yann) Tolstoy sits on a bench in the grounds of Yasnaya Polyana in 1897. The bench re-appears in a postcard from the 1900s, in which Tolstoy poses with his hat and walking cane, and again in a photograph of circa 1906 where the writer sits alongside Vladimir Chertkov, the man who came to control Tolstoy's literary legacy, even under Stalin. The bench, once the stout supporter of famous men's posteriors, probably disappeared during the German occupation of Tolstoy's estate in October 1941. Its modern-day descendant is a sad construction of birch logs, often photographed by tourists who perhaps imagine that its rustic appearance is somehow "Tolstoyan". In the house itself is the skin of a bear, killed back in 1872 after it had spent some time lying on top of Tolstoy trying to gnaw his face off. The scars healed almost imperceptibly, so they're not visible in this photograph.
Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon(created by Jan van Eyck; nominated by Crisco 1492) This portrait by Jan van Eyck of an unknown man has only recently been confirmed as being by the master — cleaning and infra-red photography revealed underdrawing and brushwork typical of signed works by van Eyck. Another pointer is the man's stubbled face. Many of van Eyck's portraits of men show a light growth of beard or a badly shaved visage. The small size of the painting and the uncompromising realism of the depiction suggest that it could have been a "betrothal portrait", sent to the prospective in-laws. His furry chin could indicate that this is a true portrait of the man. Van Eyck was a native of Bruges, the town founded by Baldwin Iron Arm after he had killed a bear that had attacked him and his bride. The bear became the symbol of Bruges.
The Alba Madonna(created by Raphael; nominated by Crisco 1492) The Alba Madonna by Raphael sets Mary, Jesus and John the Baptist in a classical landscape reminiscent of Roman frescos. It was originally painted on a wooden panel but the panel was removed about 200 years ago by carefully shaving the wood away – the paint layer was then glued onto a canvas backing. Although John is represented as a toddler he is already wearing the camel skin which is one of his attributes from the period when he was bearing witness to the divinity of Jesus.
The Shard from the Sky Garden(created by User:Colin; nominated by National Names 2000) This view of the Shard building in central London was assembled from 28 photographs taken by Colin using a Sony A77II camera, set at a "film" speed of 200 ISO. He used a Sony 55-300mm zoom lens with the focal length set at 160mm, with the exposure timing set at 1/1000 of a second and the lens aperture at f5.6. The camera was handheld throughout. Colin was standing on the balcony of the "Sky Garden" at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, about 160 metres above sea level. The 28 landscape-format images were stitched together in 3 vertical rows of 9 using the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.0, at a height of 30.798 meters above sea level. Colin comments "-&\#xd;&\#xa;Projection: Rectilinear (0)&\#xd;&\#xa;FOV: 25 x 31&\#xd;&\#xa;Ev: 13.94". To which we say "xob xkv lc lro obxabop pqfii xtxhb?"
The Sun, photographed in extreme ultraviolet(created by NASA; nominated by Jcpag2012) The Sun photographed using a reflector telescope mounted on the SOHO spacecraft. By using alternate multiple layers of chemicals that absorb extreme ultraviolet light weakly or strongly, a reflective surface can be built up that causes photons from a desired wavelength of EUV to interfere constructively. Here it's the light produced by helium (II) which is being imaged; the helium is in the hot solar corona but not in the photosphere. Other wavelengths are absorbed by the reflective surface, so details in the solar corona which would otherwise be obscured are visible.
Golden earrings from Gyeongju(created by National Museum of Korea; nominated by Blorgy555) Golden earrings from the Pubuchong tomb in Gyeongju city, Korea. They date from the Old Silla period of between 500 and 600 CE, and are number 90 on the list of National Treasures of South Korea. Regarded as the most beautiful of earrings recovered from archaeological sites of the Silla period, the pair were reproduced as casts in gold-plated base metal for distribution to museums and at trade shows. The originals were made using a combination of filigree work with beaded wires, and granulation (welding beads of gold to a surface).