Dummy boards, British or Dutch, circa 1690

Dummy Boards: the Fun Figures of the 1600s

These life-sized painted figures, popular in Europe and colonial America in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, were designed to amuse and confuse.
St Cuthbert Gospel

Why Europe’s Oldest Intact Book Was Found in a Saint’s Coffin

The St. Cuthbert Gospel is the earliest surviving intact European book. Some time around 698, it was slipped into the coffin of a saint.
Spanish mosaic depicting a lion

Why Are Medieval Lions So Bad?

The inaccuracy of medieval lions may have been a stylistic preference, particularly in a bestiary, or compendium of beasts.
Michalangelo Last Judgement

How Did Michelangelo Get So Good?

Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest artist the world has produced, wasn't a child prodigy like Mozart. He learned on the job. So maybe there's still hope for the rest of us.
Official Macron portrait

Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Macron: The Choreography of Portraits

Official portraits have been a means of communicating intention and creating image throughout history. Consider three of France's iconic leaders.
da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Introducing “And, Also, Too”: A Column Dedicated to the Theory and Practice of Art

The image of the artist as eccentric genius or shaman is ubiquitous in popular culture for good reason. ...