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.
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.
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.
People love to talk about The Tempest by Italian Master Giorgione. There are a few reasons behind its appeal. Of course, it’s gorgeous and portrays a fantasy with expertise. That’s the obvious answer.
Every time I look at The Blind Girl I forget the two girls are beggars. That may be due to the blind girl’s blissful expression. Also, John Everett Millais sets them in a picturesque field of lush, joyful color.
This Portrait of Countess Golovina shows why Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was a beloved artist. She captured the friendly essence of even the haughtiest aristocrat.
Guido Reni’s famous for 17th century Italian frescos of 17th century. But here’s his masterpiece – Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist. It captures a Bible story with a singular image.
Acid colors and electricity quiver through objects in Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles. But with our comfortable distance, it’s a pleasure to bask in Van Gogh’s sickly greens and odd figures. After all, we aren’t stuck in his mind.
It’s easy to pick out a Balthus piece among modern artworks. His muted palette, clean lines, and surreal resonance are unmistakable. Here Balthus uses all three to give The Mountain a sense of mystery.
Two Women at a Window tells a story within a natural frame. It’s the tale of two specific women. But the story also speaks of the two sides within all women.
Mary Cassatt’s painting Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child dwells in motherhood. Its careful composition combines with a smudgy Impressionist technique. This painting captures a moment of messy mothering.
This painting, Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers meditates on love versus art. Art wins the contest here. This piece works as a rumination on the self and identity too.
When we think of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings like White Rose with Larkspur No 2 pop to mind. They rouse realistic flora with a fantasy feel. O’Keeffe zooms in tight. So, it’s like the flower took a selfie.
Obsessed with nostalgia, Cézanne painted The Bathers from memory. It’s one of his many works that dance between reality and invention. Cézanne creates a tension here that reveres the very past it can’t quite enumerate.
When looking at A Bigger Splash today, we have art history to serve the story for us. Hockney sparked the Pop Art movement then dove in a new direction soon after. This 1967 painting represents his more naturalistic move. Swimming pools and California skies look through his lens into a deeper artistry.
Picasso painted Girl Before a Mirror as a doubled abstract portrait. It portrays his beloved Marie-Thérèse Walter. She was young and it shows in the left side of this work. Her face glows like a radiant sun. Her belly swells in pregnancy.
Hans Holbein’s painting Portrait of the Artist’s Wife with Katherine and Philipp reeks of reality. He used all his artistic magic as Henry VIII’s court painter. That work elevated his status. But it also made him a neglectful father and husband.
Caravaggio tells a compelling story in The Cardsharps painting. Our newbie in the green sleeves at front plays the leading man. He cares the most and this intensity makes us feel for him. This shows Caravaggio’s hand. He’s pulling for the kid.
The painting Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef features one of Bacon’s infamous screaming Popes. This masterpiece explores many dualities, especially Bacon’s obsession with horror. Here he plays with the two sides of terror; power and vulnerability.
Frederic Leighton fared as an underestimated salon painter up till 1895. Then he painted this masterpiece – Flaming June. It sings to us with radiant color and elemental symbols.