claude glass

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.
Patrocle by Jacques-Louis David

Who Were the Male Models in French History Paintings?

Before the French Revolution, professional models were salaried professionals. That would all change in the nineteenth century.

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.