Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough, 1749

Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough

Some couples seem made for each other, like Mr and Mrs Andrews in their 1749 wedding portrait. In this Thomas Gainsborough masterpiece we find these newlyweds proudly perched before their grand estate. Robert Andrews and his wife Frances Mary look so well-matched they could be siblings. Their setting is as suitable to them as they …

Read more

The Portrait of Isabella Brant by Peter Paul Rubens

Isabella Brant by Peter Paul Rubens

Rubens loved to draw his wife, Isabella Brant. The old Flemish master married her in the early 1600s when he was a young upstart. Peter Paul Rubens was popular and famous for his baroque paintings in his lifetime. The work of Rubens now lives in the collective unconscious as an icon of sensual and lush …

Read more

Portrait Colors by Angelica Kauffman, 1780

Portrait Colors by Angelica Kauffman 1780

The Swiss painter Angelica Kauffman created her self portrait Colors as part of a series for the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Kauffman was one of two women who founded the Academy. Her four part series on crucial elements of painting still graces that art institution today. This one sets the best example of …

Read more

Red Jackson by Gordon Parks 1948

Red Jackson by Gordon Parks

The Red Jackson photograph by Gordon Parks sent me into a whirlwind of reactions from the first time I saw it. Encountering this black and white masterpiece in the Metropolitan Museum of Art feels like a lucky break at first. It’s a thoughtful photographic version of a Vermeer that’s still fresh today, even though it’s …

Read more

James Stuart by Anthony Van Dyck

James Stuart by Anthony Van Dyck

Why is James Stuart wearing such fanciful duds in his Anthony Van Dyck portrait?

– The Order of the Garter
– Man’s best friend steals the show
– Performative emptiness