All posts by enerspec10

Illustrator. Producer. Futurist. Adventurer.

Dutch Master Painters

April 2, 2018    by Douglas Black

Apollo and Venus by Otto van Veen

If your interest is 400 year old artwork that is yet undiscovered, maybe a Dutch Master is for you.  One was recently found in an attic, the other has been hiding in plain sight for decades.

According to an Associated Press report, a painting found in the dusty attic of Des Moines’ historic Hoyt Sherman Place has turned out to be a big deal.

The painting, “Apollo and Venus” by late 16th Century and early 17th Century Belgium painter Otto van Veen, is believed to be worth millions of dollars.

Someone found the 400-year-old painting about two years ago while looking for Civil War flags.

Officials say the painting was coated with layers of discolored varnish and poor restoration work from decades ago.  Art experts spent four months returning the painting to its pristine appearance.

Another has been hanging on the wall of a family home in Pennsylvania since “God knows when,” says a friend of mine who’s studied it since he was a boy early last century.

Commodus as Hercules and Gladiator  by Peter Paul Rubens OR Otto van Veen
Commodus as Hercules and Gladiator by Peter Paul Rubens OR Otto van Veen

COMMODUS AS HERCULES AND GLADIATOR is the only one of the seven known paintings of Commodus which portrays the subject as a blond, fair complexioned warrior. Family provenance says that Peter Paul Rubens is the artist, although some scholars who have seen the work believe it may be that of Otto van Veen during the time Rubens was his student in 1590’s Antwerp.

The artist, whether it be Rubens or van Veen, represents Commodus in the manner of the heroic warrior-gladiator Hercules, his fair curly locks meticulously crimped as described by the contemporary accounts of Dio and Herodian.

This depiction gives us Commodus shortly before his assassination, his hair swept up and off the forehead, a glowing youthful appearance as florid as a twenty year old some ten years his junior at the time.

Old world style is making a strong come back among those who can afford to adorn their walls thusly, the rich gold and browns, the shadows, and the gloriously grizled faces a symbol of ties to ages of battles and losses long past.


Douglas Black Douglas Black is a futurist, historian, writer and photographer in Chicago.


Hypercar Will Drive Itself


Rimac C-Two

The second offering from bespoke sportscar maker Rimac was unveiled in Geneva to gasps.  The Rimab C_Two can drive itself if you are too frightened.  And well you should be.

This 1,914-hp electric hypercar, a gull wing with face recognition that locks out strangers, will do 0-60 mph in LESS THAN 2 SECONDS!

Shut. Up.

With a top speed of 258, I am not sure if taking ones hands off the wheel is wise, but it will take over if you soil yourself and want to go home.

Just sayin’.


Douglas Black lives and writes in Chicago.

Douglas Black



by Douglas Black, March 21, 2017

There is yet another player in the super electric car game, and this one really gets close to what we imagined the 21st Century would look like when we were kids.  The Ren, a bubble-canopied should be the first production model with a turbine-back electric powertrain, is breaking the nearly new mold for electric supercars.  Chinese manufacturer Techrules worked from the ground up and harnessed the design chops of famed designers Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro who took the world of aerospace as their inspiration.

See more at New Atlas

The cloth was pulled off at the recent Geneva Auto Show.  Here are some pictures.


Douglas Black


Douglas Black is a Futurist, Historian, Writer and Photographer in Chicago.

The Laurel Wreath of Empire


I typically shy away from political statements or positions in this blog, with the exception of climate science.  But today I feel compelled to speak my piece, and welcome shares or comments.

Donald Trump is not that smart.  I have known businessmen like him who were given far too much credit for cleverness and business savvy when their success was built upon a stratagem of unethical behavior, buying influence, and bullying.  Trump has taken this business model to the penultimate degree.  The only step higher would be empirical totalitarianism, and I believe if the Laurel Wreath of Emperor were within his grasp, Donald Trump would take it.

Our democratic system of government is at stake.  We must rely on our mechanism of government to at least clip the wings of dictatorship now, or at most, impeach the President and let V.P. Pence and Speaker Ryan hold the office for the balance of the term.

What do you think?




Douglas Black is an historian, futurist, writer and photographer in Chicago.

Supercar Gallery – CAS2017

February 10, 2017   by Douglas Black

The Supercar Gallery at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show showcases some of the most elegant and exclusive bespoke medallions in Chicago.  My personal favorite? The Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith.  Compromise is not in our vocabulary.

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bmw-cycle-selfie Douglas Black is a futurist, historian, writer and photographer in Chicago.  He also writes historical fiction under the name Duke Pierce Reade, including the online serial anthology THE RED AND THE GOLD available at