Two women spinning silk in the 15th century

The Silkwomen of Medieval London

A group of skilled women ran the silk-making industry in 15th century London. So why didn't they protect their workers' rights by forming a guild?
In a Glasgow Cotton Mill: Minding a Pair of Fine Frames and In a Glasgow Cotton Spinning Mill: Changing the Bobbin, 1907 by Sylvia Pankhurst

This British Suffragist Used Her Art for Activism

Sylvia Pankhurst gave up painting to focus on suffrage and anti-colonialism activism, but she continued to use her design sense throughout her career.
A plate from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, by Maria Sibylla Merian

The Metamorphosis of a 17th-Century Insect Artist

Maria Sibylla Merian's work in the natural sciences was overlooked for centuries. Now a rare butterfly has been named in her honor.
Release, by Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose.

Nelson Mandela’s Lasting Image

Since his death in 2013, Nelson Mandela has achieved icon status. Why is his image so ubiquitous, reproduced everywhere from tourist kitsch to high art?
Two deer in the woods at night

Photography Changed Americans’ Ideas about Nature

Many of our ideas about nature, wildlife, and conservation have their roots in the birth of nature photography.
Cyclorama in South End Boston, 1964.

Cycloramas: The Virtual Reality of the 19th Century

Immersive displays brought 19th century spectators to far-off places and distant battles. The way they portrayed history, however, was often inaccurate.
Charlotte Salomon, gouache from Life? or Theater?

The Mystery behind Charlotte Salomon’s Groundbreaking Art

Before she was killed by Nazis, Charlotte Salomon created a unique, genre-bending artwork that may have also been a confession to a murder.
ENOCH in Space

An Ancient Egyptian Funerary Vessel Heads to Outer Space

Tavares Strachan's “Enoch” was launched into space on December 3rd, 2018. It's the latest in a long line of artworks inspired by Egyptian canopic jars.
Installation view of Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle

Ai Weiwei’s Readymade: Politics

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been making political waves for decades, but his current shows are especially relevant to the United States.
Silhouette de château illuminé par un orage, by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo: Surrealist Artist

Victor Hugo created visual art that was intuitive, experimental, and inspired by Spiritualism. In other words, nothing like his novel Les Misérables.