Belatedness, Artlessness, and American Culture in fin-de-siècle France

The archives of American artistic production, letters, journals, and their contemporary circles in France can be brought into dialogue with published primary sources. By Emily Burns Research on American artists studying in France has tended to represent three modes of inquiry. Some scholars have recounted the details of art study in the École des Beaux-Arts[…]

Bookbinding in the Byzantine World

Sammelband of three books, edge shown with clasps / Science History Institute, Wikimedia Commons Ann Tomalak provides an overview of the distinctive features of Byzantine bookbinding. By Ann Tomalak Former Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project Conservator British Library A Byzantine binding is not defined primarily by where or when it was made, but by how it[…]

Paper in Byzantium

Jaharis Byzantine Lectionary / Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons The transition from parchment to paper as the preferred writing surface happened slowly in the Byzantine Empire. James Freeman outlines this process and addresses some of its key features. By Dr. James Freeman Medieval Manuscripts Specialist Cambridge University Library A shortage of paper In the[…]

Of Muses and Magnets: Inspiration for a New Technique in Stone Conservation

Large Sarcophagus with the Muses (detail), mid-3rd century, Roman. Marble, 53 15/16 × 88 3/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 72.AA.90. Photo: Tahnee Cracchiola The story of how pieces of a Roman sarcophagus bearing Greek Muses were prepared to return to the Getty Villa galleries. By Jens Daehner and William Shelley / 05.29.2018 Daehner:[…]

Caryatid Columns of Ancient Greece

A detail of the south porch of the Erechtheion temple on the Athenian acropolis. The building was constructed between 421 to 406 BCE to house the ancient wooden cult statue of Athena and as a shrine to various local deities including Erechtheus. / Photo by Dennis Jarvis, Flickr, Creative Commons The term Caryatid first appears in the 4th century BCE and[…]

Bronze Age Mycenaean Art and Architecture

The Lion Gate at Mycenae / Photo by Andreas Trepte, Wikimedia Commons The art and architecture of Mycenaean citadel sites reflects the society’s war-like culture and its constant need for protection and fortification. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Mycenaean Architecture Introduction Mycenaean culture can be summarized by its architecture, whose remains[…]

Bronze Age Minoan Art and Architecture

The North Portico in Knossos, Crete, Greece / Photo by Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons The Protopalatial period of Minoan civilization (1900 to 1700 BCE) and the Neopalatial Period (1700 to 1450 BCE) saw the establishment of administrative centers on Crete and the apex of Minoan civilization, respectively. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian[…]

An Introduction to Fauvism

Henri Matisse, The Green Line, 1905, oil on canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen) Fauvism developed in France to become the first new artistic style of the 20th century. By Dr. Virginia B. Spivey / 08.09.2015 Art Historian Distinctive brushwork Fauvism developed in France to become the first new artistic style of the 20th century. In[…]

The Aesthetic Movement in 19th-Century England

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Monna Vanna, 1866, oil on canvas, 88.9 x 86.4 cm (Tate) (photo: Tate, CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) “Art for art’s sake.” By Dr. Rebecca Jeffrey Easby / 06.03.2016 Associate Professor of Art History Trinity Washington University Art for the sake of art The Aesthetic Movement, also known as “art for art’s sake,” permeated British culture during the[…]

Politics and Power in the Creation of the Louvre Museum in Paris

Aerial view of the Louvre Museum (2010), photo: Matthias Kabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) “The origin of the modern museum…is linked to the development of the guillotine.” By Dr. Elizabeth Rodini / 07.09.2018 Professor of Art History Johns Hopkins University “The origin of the modern museum…is linked to the development of the guillotine.” —Georges Bataille, October, 1986 This statement by[…]

A Brief History of the Art Museum

Gallery in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) When people think of museums, art museums most often come to mind—solemn places where visitors stand in silence contemplating neat rows of paintings. By Dr. Elizabeth Rodini / 07.10.2018 Professor of Art History Johns Hopkins University When people think of museums, art museums[…]

The Late Medieval Art of Domenico Ghirlandaio at the Church of Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella (Leon Battista Alberti was responsible for the façade, completed in 1470) By Dr. Sally Hickson / 08.09.2015 Associate Professor of Art History University of Guelph A treasure house of Renaissance art The Church of Santa Maria Novella, adjacent to the train station of the same name, is a treasure-house of Florentine art of[…]

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George in Byzantine Art

Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George, sixth or early seventh century, encaustic on wood, 2′ 3″ x 1′ 7 3/8″ (St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Egypt) By Dr. William Allen Professor of Art History Arkansas State University At Mount Sinai Monastery One of thousands of important Byzantine images, books, and documents preserved at[…]

The Construction Phases of the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, built 221 BCE-1664 CE. / Photo by Emily Mark, Creative Commons Mark of national pride, failure as originally intended. By Emily Mark / 08.22.2015 Historian The Great Wall of China is a barrier fortification in northern China running west-to-east 13,171 miles (21,196 km) from the Jiayuguan Pass (in the west) to the Hushan Mountains in[…]

Leon Battista Alberti and the Basilica of Sant’Andrea in Mantua

Leon Battista Alberti, Basilica of Sant’Andrea, 1472-90, Mantua (Italy) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC: BY-NC-SA 3.0) By Dr. Heather H. Horton / 08.09.2015 Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Design Pratt Institute Mantua’s relic In the Fifteenth Century, pilgrims flocked to the Basilica of Sant’Andrea to venerate the most famous relic in the[…]

Leon Battista Alberti and the Palazzo Rucellai of Renaissance Florence

Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, c. 1446-51, Florence (Italy) By Christine Zappella / 08.09.2015 PhD Student in Medieval and Early Modern Art University of Chicago Humanist architecture for a private home Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, c. 1446-5, Florence (Italy) By 1450, the skyline of Florence was dominated by Brunelleschi’s dome. Although Brunelleschi had created[…]

Albert Eckhout’s Series of Eight Figures

Albert Eckhout, series of eight figures, 1641, oil on canvas (The National Museum of Denmark) Documenting the people of Brazil in the 17th century. By Dr. Rachel Zimmerman / 06.11.2018 Art Historian In 1630, the Dutch conquered the prosperous sugarcane-producing area in the northeast region of the Portuguese colony of Brazil. Although it only lasted[…]

Smelting Pot: The Statue of Liberty and Copper, Promises and Dreams

Consider two terminals of American architecture, one positive, one negative, in an epicenter of global capital flows: a colossus and a void. By Dr. Jennifer Scappettone Department of English The University of Chicago Consider two terminals of American architecture, one positive, one negative, in an epicenter of global capital flows: a colossus and a void.[…]

The Agora in Ancient Greece and Rome

A model of the agora of Athens at its maximum extension during the 2nd century CE. (Agora Museum, Athens) / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons The word Agora was an ‘open place of assembly’ in the ancient Graeco-Roman world. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 09.02.2009 Professor of Philosophy Marist College The word Agora (pronounced ‘Ah-go-RAH’) is Greek for ‘open place of assembly’ and, early[…]

Picturing Pyrotechnics

Detail from an image showing fireworks in Hamburg to celebrate the coronation of Emperor Franz I. Stephan in 1745, found in Klebeband 10 of the Fürstlich Waldecksche Hofbibliothek – Wikimedia Commons Simon Werrett explores how artists through the ages have responded to the challenge of representing firework displays, from the highly politicised and allegorical renderings of[…]

Three-Dimensionality in Signorelli’s Orvieto Cathedral Renaissance Fresco

Luca Signorelli, The Damned Cast into Hell, 1499-1504, fresco, 23′ wide (San Brizio chapel, Orvieto Cathedral, Orvieto, Italy) By Dr. Shannon Pritchard / 08.09.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History University of Southern Indiana Imagine being confronted by this scene—men and women screaming, their nude bodies contorted in pain as they are tortured by garishly colored demons. Naked men[…]

Early Applications of Linear Perspective

By Dr. Joseph Daubin / 08.09.2015 Distinguished University Professor of History The Graduate Center City University of New York Representing the body What renaissance artists had clearly achieved through the careful observation of nature, including studies of anatomical dissections, was the means to recreate the 3-dimensional physical reality of the human form on two-dimensional surfaces.[…]

Unfolding Narratives in the Pierre de Gigord Collection

Three Girls, 1890, photographer unknown. Albumen print. Pierre de Gigord Collection of Photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. The Getty Research Institute, 96.R.14 A collection of photographs from Ottoman Turkey offers a complex encounter with collective memory. By Hande Sever / 06.25.2018 Art Historian Before coming across the Pierre de Gigord Collection, I[…]

The Architecture of Medieval Synagogues in Toledo, Spain

View of Toledo, Spain with the Samuel Halevi Abulafia synagogue at the center and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in the background (photo: Yildori, CC BY-SA 3.0) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 04.06.2018 Associate Professor of Art History, Department Chair Indiana University By the time the first surviving synagogues were built in Spain, Jews had[…]

An Investigation of Black Figures in Classical Greek Art

Pitcher (Oinochoe) in the Form of the Head of an African, about 510 B.C., attributed to Class B bis: Class of Louvre H 62. Terracotta, 8 7/16 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.AE.229. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program Ancient Greece’s visual heritage included representations of black people that nimbly[…]

Pyramids and Sculpture of Old Kingdom Egypt

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.25.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The Pyramids of the Old Kingdom The Old Kingdom of Egypt existed from the third through the sixth Dynasties (2686 BC–2182 BC). A period of political stability and economic prosperity, it is characterized by revolutionary advancements in royal funerary architecture. Both Egyptian society and the[…]

Andrew Wyeth and the Artist’s Fragile Reputation

Andrew Wyeth stands by a creek on his Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania property in 1964. AP Photo/Bill Ingraham, Creative Commons His rise was just as swift as his fall. To mark the painter’s 100th birthday, an art historian explores the forces – cultural, political and personal – that created a polarizing legacy. By Dr. Henry Adams / 07.06.2017 Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History[…]

Sex and Science in Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora

“A Group of Carnations”, a plate from Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora (1807) — Internet Archive Bridal beds, blushing captives, and swollen trunks – Carl Linnaeus’ taxonomy of plants heralded a whole new era in 18th-century Europe of plants being spoken of in sexualised terms. Martin Kemp explores* how this association between the floral and erotic reached its[…]

Bible Moralisée (Moralized Bibles) of the Thirteenth Century

Middle left (detail), Scenes from the Apocalypse, Paris-Oxford-London Bible moralisée, France, c. 1225-45 (The British Library, Harley MS 1527 fol. 140v) By Dr. Nancy Ross / 01.21.2016 Assistant Professor of Art History Dixie State College Utah One book, thousands of illustrations Top: Blanche of Castile and King Louis IX of France and below: Priest dictating to a scribe, Bible of Saint[…]