Nature versus Man whips like wind through the painting Approaching Storm. Eugène Boudin often painted the moneyed and middle class. Their fancy finery struck a wry contrast with Mother Nature.
Waves crash The Undercliff painting with foreboding. This makes sense. After all, Richard Parkes Bonington painted it one month before dying.
The painting EOW on Her Blue Eiderdown II presents us with seductive obscurity. Frank Auerbach was a true romantic and it shows here. This painting may seem blunt at first. But the piece demands a deeper look.
War and Death ruled Paul Klee’s life when he painted Death and Fire. Torn asunder by World War II and a seering case of scleroderma – Klee suffered while painting this. His pain shows.
Pierre Bonnard painted four versions of Nude in the Bath. It wasn’t an obsession – just routine. In fact, the habit was not even his. Bonnard’s wife, Marthe de Méligny, loved bath time best.
Paris Street; Rainy Day gives us a slice of life. It’s an unromantic, realistic painting during peak Impressionism. At the same time it captures 19th century Paris with a fresh allure.
Clarity and purpose shine through Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel. Its sharp cold bite make this more than a landscape. But on the most basic level it’s one of the best landscapes ever.
Cupid’s off to the side in Alma Tadema’s painting Unconscious Rivals. That’s because love plays a mere supporting role in this portrait. But pay no attention to the title, it’s not about rivalry either. This is a painting about friendship.
Winslow Homer’s Snap the Whip delights in joyful nostalgia. No matter the life we’ve led, at some point we all had a moment like this. These scampering bare feet sing to us of freedom.
Birth of Venus serves up instant recognition. We’re all familiar with Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece. But have we looked at it? It’s a birth – messy baby business. But this portrait shows neither mess nor baby, only beauty.
George Caleb Bingham’s painting, Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, dwells in romanticism. The work reminds us that romance in art takes many forms.
Marcel Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” has two frames. They create a symbolic opposition that permeates the work.
Antonio Pollaiuolo’s 15th century Italian masterpiece explores the myth of Apollo and Daphne. It’s the classic tale of unrequited love, with a laurel-scented twist.
Lorenzo Lotto’s lady in an ornate dress refers to the tale of Lucretia from Livy’s History of Rome. Both Lucretias in the painting are bold, though trapped by public opinion.
Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David proves that Masterpieces have baggage too. This well-known piece speaks to us from the French Revolution. Unfortunately, it doesn’t speak the truth.
Here Comes the Diesel by Leon Kossoff feels like a fight. Viewers must battle our way through the choppy chaotic brambles to even see the title’s train.
The Flea by Guiseppe Crespi tells a story without revealing the main character. We only see the reaction to the flea, not the pest itself.
Venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis by Benjamin West tells an ancient story. The beloved goddess Venus fell hard for heartthrob hottie Adonis. But it was not meant to be.
Cubism learned a lesson or two when Fernand Leger’s The Wedding hit. In fact, many art historians joke that this painting introduced Tubism… because reality curves into glorious tubes in this remarkable work.