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
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.
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.
Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” has two frames. They create a symbolic opposition that permeates the work.
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.