18th-Century Lovers Exchanged Portraits of Their Eyes

The miniature paintings celebrated and commemorated love at a time when public expressions of affection were uncouth.

P.S., Mushrooms Are Extremely Beautiful

American mycologist Violetta White Delafield painted over 600 stunning watercolors of mushrooms as part of her fieldwork. Here they are in all their glory.
Inside the Rothko Chapel

How the Rothko Chapel Creates Spiritual Space

Fourteen colossal black paintings by the modern artist Mark Rothko are installed in an octagonal room in Texas. Visitors say the chapel brings them peace.
Saint George Defeating the Dragon by Johann König, c. 1630

How Saint George’s Dragon Got Its Wings

As time went on, the dragons in Russian iconography slowly became more Western in style—just like Russia itself.
An exhibition of Damage Control by John Baldessari

Why John Baldessari Burned His Own Art

The artist's "Cremation Project" of 1970 marked a liberation from the tradition of painting and a step toward a more encompassing vision.
the Peacock Room

The Controversial Backstory of London’s Most Lavish Room

James McNeill Whistler created the famous "Peacock Room" for a wealthy patron. But the patron never actually wanted it.
Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Personal #Brand

Napoleon didn't like sitting for portraits, and yet artists and mass market prints helped cement his legendary status.
Berthe Morisot, “Woman at Her Toilette”

How Impressionist Berthe Morisot Painted Women’s Lives

Berthe Morisot never became as famous as her counterparts Claude Monet and Édouard Manet, but her work has an important place in art history.
Jacob Lawrence and one of his paintings

How American Artists Have Portrayed Haiti

In the early 20th century, African American artists created work that expressed solidarity with Haiti--whether they had been there or not.
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.