Artwork of the Week

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Artwork of the Week: November 27

Posted on Friday, November 27th, 2015

“Fish plates” like this, both large and small, were used to serve seafood. The depression in the center collected the highly flavored sauces that were popular. The surface is painted with an octopus, four fish, two crayfish (their white surfaces much abraded), and two scallops. The eyes, fins, and scales of the octopus and fish […]

Artwork of the Week: November 20

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2015

Jean-Baptise-Camille Corot was the leading French landscape painter of his time. Canal in Picardy depicts a wistful, idyllic scene of springtime in the northern French region of Picardy. In the midst of the diffuse lighting and “soft-focus” shapes of the countryside, three rural figures go about their work in the delicate shade of three tall […]

Artwork of the Week: November 13

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2015

Miss Expanding Universe floats benevolently over visitors as they enter a gallery. Based on modern dancer Ruth Page (1899–1991), who in turn was inspired to create the dance “Expanding Universe,” this sculpture hovers between form and abstraction. Clearly a female shape, it is simultaneously as evocative of a butterfly or bird silhouette as it is of […]

Artwork of the Week: November 6

Posted on Friday, November 6th, 2015

The ancient Greeks and Romans used this type of small, slender-handled spoon, called a cochlear, for eating snails, shellfish, and eggs. These are the smallest and earliest snail spoons known in Greek or Roman silver tableware. Less luxurious examples of the same shape have been found in bone. However, ancient Greeks and Romans typically used minimal […]

Artwork of the Week: October 30

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015

Moonlight, sunsets, and twilight held a special attraction for Ralph Albert Blakelock for their poetic qualities. Here he expressed his personal response to nature in this mysterious and haunting moonlit forest. Plagued by poverty, Blakelock was devastated when he only received half of his asking price for this painting in 1891. By the time the […]

Artwork of the Week: October 23

Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2015

George Rickey devoted his career to investigating the poetic possibilities of movement. In his words, “Control of weight and balance—and also time—gives me a means of expression comparable to color for a painter or sound for a composer.” Triple N Gyratory III is an example of kinetic art, or art with moving parts. Each of the sculpture’s […]

Artwork of the Week: October 16

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2015

The incandescent, expressive colors of Edgar Degas’s pastel drawing seem to vibrate off the paper. Applied in layered webs of rhythmic strokes, the colors achieve remarkable effects of translucency, depth, and texture. After about 1895, Degas turned more and more to pastel as his eyesight grew worse; unlike oil painting, it required little preparation, no […]

Artwork of the Week: October 9

Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2015

The flame-haired French entertainer Marcelle Lender (1862–1926) sang and dance in the theaters in Montmartre, Paris in the late 19th century. Artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec was so fascinated with her that he attended her performances in the operetta Chilpéric in 1895—in which she famously danced the bolero— as many as 20 times. Miss Lender […]

Artwork of the Week: October 2

Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Cosimo I de’Medici (1519–1574), Grand Duke of Tuscany, considered portraiture an effective vehicle for the fashioning of his personal and political identity. Cosimo wears the badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece, an exclusive order of knights into which he was inducted in 1545. His helmet rests on a broncone, or tree stump that […]

Artwork of the Week: September 25

Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2015

Independent, unconventional, with a strong will and strong personality, Cecilia Beaux carved out a successful career for herself as a portraitist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When she painted this work, she was winding down her tenure as the first woman instructor on the regular faculty of the Philadelphia Academy of Fine […]