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.
Taking Liberties With Biblical Stories
In the Christian New Testament, Saint John the Baptist and Salome never meet. Why, then, does she appear at the bars of his cell in Guercino’s moody painting?
Elizabeth Siddal, the Real-Life “Ophelia”
A working-class woman with artistic aspirations of her own, Siddal nearly died of pneumonia after posing for John Everett Millais’s iconic painting.
Who Belonged to the Beaver Hall Group?
An association of Montreal-based artists, the Beaver Hall Group embraced the free-spirited Jazz Age in their work, their habits, and their lifestyles.
The French painter Edgar Degas was Impressionism’s most energetic and inventive frame designer.
Need to clean your sixteenth-century distemper painting? Try a piece of bread (at your own risk).
Did Photography Really Kill Portrait Painting?
While some viewed photography as a competitor for their customers, Dutch portrait painters reaped the benefits of the emerging medium.
Who Was the Little Girl in Las Meninas?
A Spanish princess who became a German queen, Margarita Teresa lived a life structured by Catholicism and cut short by consanguinity.
The Soap Bubble Trope
Throughout the history of philosophy, literature, art, and science, people have been fascinated with the shimmering surfaces of soap bubbles.
The Claude Glass Revolutionized the Way People Saw Landscapes
Imagine tourists flocking to a famous beauty spot, only to turn around and fix their eyes on its reflection in a tiny dark mirror.