Flaming June by Frederic Leighton


Flaming June sings to us with radiant color and elemental symbols. Many see this painting as simple. It’s a beautiful woman in a glorious dress. They’re not wrong. But as with most masterpieces, more levels of meaning resonate here.

Allegory of Wealth by Simon Vouet

Wealth by Simon Vouet baroque masterpiece painting allegory

Allegories bring big ideas down to earth. Simon Vouet’s allegory of Wealth painting gives a grand example of this at work. Baroque painters, such as Vouet, reveled in allegory. They swam in it, like Scrooge McDuck with his pool of gold coins.

The Flea by Guiseppe Crespi

Guiseppe Maria Crespi-the_flea18th century Italian masterpiece

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. This intimate portrait from 18th century Italy depicts virtue.

Venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis by Benjamin West

venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis

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. In fact, she knew his destiny for an early death on the hunt. No matter how much Venus warned him and pleaded, Adonis dismissed her.