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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Bonaparte’s Personal #Brand
Napoleon didn't like sitting for portraits, and yet artists and mass market prints helped cement his legendary status.