Correggio’s Portrait of a Lady beckons with a silver bowl. This meaningful detail might get missed at first. That’s because this classic portrait features a lovely lady. Her striking expression seems so natural and self-possessed. The painter imbues her face with strength of expression. Antonio Allegri Correggio also fills this painting with prescient details.
Black Sea presents an audacious absurdity in oil. Obsessed with the lowly boot heel, painter Philip Guston dwells in a crude and even cruel reality. He creates a vivid, disconcerting portrait. The bare bottom of the boot heel atop dark waters. The plebeian symbol seems…
Wayne Thiebaud championed unappreciated pastries. For instance, the 1963 Display Cakes, sits at the center of the Pop Art movement. It’s tempting to thus label this masterpiece as such. After all, Pop Art elevates popular mainstream subject matter. This spotlights our desires, and even obsessions. Thiebaud’s pastry portrayals point to America’s sugar fixation.
It’s no surprise that the painting Bonjour Monsieur Courbet goes by two names. This masterpiece, also called The Meeting – La Rencontre in French, teems with binaries. Painter Gustave Courbet believed in two types of people. There were artists, like himself, and bores. He didn’t keep such opinions to himself. That’s why his critics gave this painting yet another name. They liked to call it Fortune Bowing before Genius.
It’s hard to believe Thomas Eakin’s painting The Biglin Brothers Racing dates back to 1873. Point and click cameras weren’t yet invented. So, this action’s a straight shot from Eakins. He had to be there and capture a split second in oil paint. That’s only one of the wonders at work in this piece.
Edward Hicks paints neat and tidy artworks. So, it’s easy to recognize this trademark style in The Cornell Farm. Hicks obsessed over creating order in his paintings. Many art historians attribute this to a yearning within Hicks to quell his inner demons. But it may have been quite the opposite. Completely self-taught, Hicks could have adopted this perfectionism to prove his artistic merit.
Wife of a rich New York merchant, the Mrs. Richard Yates portrait judges. We can see it in her wise expression. It’s also clear that she cares little about being judged. After all, this portrait shows her with intact flaws as well as perfect eyebrows and luxurious silks
Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art painting M-Maybe reflects childhood comics. It commands our attention with nostalgic dots. They point back to the newsprint quality of yesteryear’s comics. Still, Lichtenstein uses pointillism in only two facets of the painting. He differentiates aspects within the portrait. Polka dots color the woman’s face and skin as well as reflective surfaces.
Benjamin West’s The Death of General Wolfe is a near perfect History Painting. Not because it’s accurate. Rather it sets a prime example of West’s reinvented genre.
The painting Watson and the Shark tells a dramatic story. So much so, it made the painter famous. Before this John Singleton Copley painted portraits.
This changed his work. No longer painting gentlemen and lady portraits, he became a storyteller.
Rooster, Hen, and Hydrangeas epitomizes the painstaking care of silk painting. There’s no room for error. Each brushstroke is permanent as soon as it hits the delicate fabric. Imagine the inner peace Ito Jakuchu must have had to achieve this level of detail.
Grant Wood painted this portrait the way a theater director puts on a show. First he discovered the setting. Wood saw the house, now famous for inspiring American Gothic, in a small Iowa town and knew it had to be in a painting. Then he cast his sister and dentist to play the two roles.
Andrew Wyeth’s The Drifter brings to mind a romantic archetype. A drifter’s that person you can never know. Right when you think you might understand them, they’re gone. Poof. The feelings this brings up make this a romantic painting. That’s why it’s so very unusual. Despite its emotion, this is a remote portrayal.
Rosalba Carriera’s Self Portrait Holding a Portrait of Her Sister fascinates me. In fact, this masterpiece highlights what makes self portraits special. These paintings reveal how artists see themselves. Rosalba Carriera’s frank depiction here sets a stunning example of honest reflection.
Iconoclast Alice Austen captured her world with a keen photographer’s eye. Ahead of her time, Austen started taking pictures at only ten years old. Lucky for us, she never stopped.
The little girl in A Princess of Saxony seems weird at first. She’s got that impossibly high 1500s forehead. The iconic Queen Elizabeth had one too. As did most lady court portraits in those days. That’s because big foreheads were a sign of intelligence and class in the 16th century.
The first time I visited Green-Wood Cemetery, I fell in love. It’s a Brooklyn Historical Marvel. Not only a place to honor death, there’s a lot to do and even more to learn.
Paul Klee entitled this painting The Golden Fish. But it’s often called The Goldfish by viewers and even art historians. I’m not a fan of this practice. Words matter. There’s a difference between the two entities. Klee’s fish here’s nothing like an actual goldfish. The Golden fish has a sleek, slender figure.
Susan Rothenberg’s known for her expressive technique. Her paintings exemplify movement. This is the key element to Vaulting. A vaulter becomes motion rather than mere man.
The Lefferts family continue to influence Brooklyn today. That’s thanks to their family storyteller, Gertrude. Her books and stories give us a better picture of Brooklyn history