Masterpieces

The Blind Girl by John Everett Millais

The Blind Girl by John Everett Millais

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.

Countess Golovina by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Countess Golovina by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

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.

Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist

Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist

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.

Bedroom in Arles by Vincent Van Gogh

Bedroom in Arles by Vincent Van Gogh

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.

The Mountain by Balthus

The Mountain by Balthus

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 by Bartolomé Murillo

Two Women at a Window by Bartolomé Murillo

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.

Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child

Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child

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.

Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers

Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Denise Villers

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.

White Rose With Larkspur No 2 – Georgia O’Keeffe

White Rose With Larkspur No 2 – Georgia O’Keeffe

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.

Bathers – by Paul Cézanne – 1890

Bathers – by Paul Cézanne – 1890

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.

A Bigger Splash by David Hockney – 1967

A Bigger Splash by David Hockney – 1967

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.

Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso

Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso

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.

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife with Katherine and Philipp

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife with Katherine and Philipp

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.

The Cardsharps by Michelangelo Caravaggio

The Cardsharps by Michelangelo Caravaggio

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.

Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef by Francis Bacon

Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef by Francis Bacon

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.

Flaming June by Frederic Leighton

Flaming June by Frederic Leighton

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.

The Colossus Painting by Francisco de Goya

The Colossus Painting by Francisco de Goya

Francisco de Goya painted The Colossus during Napoleon’s siege of Spain. So, many think El Gigante is the incompetent Fernando VII of Spain or Napolean. These were the major players wreaking devastation on Spain at the time of this work. Also Fernando and Napolean both had colossal egos.

Paul Revere Painting by John Singleton Copley

Paul Revere Painting by John Singleton Copley

America teetered on the edge of revolution in 1768. Paul Revere was an intense and articulate Son of Liberty. But the painter, John Singleton Copley, engaged to a hardcore Tory, wished to abstain from political discourse.

Las Meninas By Diego Velázquez

Las Meninas By Diego Velázquez

The iconic Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez gives us an intimate perspective on a secret world. This portrait of Spain’s King Philip IV reveals the inner court with resonant details.

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent

Sisters dwell in distinct developmental stages for The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. This famous John Singer Sargent painting holds viewers rapt in a sisterhood spell.

Frozen River by Hendrick Avercamp

Frozen River by Hendrick Avercamp

Mute painter Henrick Avercamp sings an icy opera with Frozen River. In fact, his expressions range from delight to death here. Without a word spoken, Avercamp tells us a complex emotional story.