Artwork of the Week

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Jan. 8 Art Minute: Edward Steichen, “Isadora Duncan in the Parthenon, Athens”

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2016

The founder of Modern Dance, Isadora Duncan (1877–1927) traveled the world promoting her ideas on free and natural movement, women’s rights, and dance as a “high” art. She was particularly interested in the simple, natural dances of the ancient world as represented by classical sculpture and Greek vases, dancing in free-flowing drapery, with bare feet […]

Dec. 31 Art Minute: Hector Guimard, “Fireplace”

Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2015

In Paris, the sweeping curves and natural forms of Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau designs are seemingly everywhere, especially on his famous cast iron subway entrances for the Paris Métro. But in addition to his projects for public spaces, he also designed houses, along with all of the furnishings and decorations. This fireplace came from Castel […]

Dec. 24 Art Minute: Maître des Jeux, “The Family Dinner”

Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2015

This family portrait captures a scene of daily life in a French middleclass household. The servants, at either end of the table, are included, as is the family dog. The man and woman on the far side of the table gesture to the frugal meal of ham and bread, served on plain pewter plates, indicating […]

Dec. 18 Art Minute: Jack Earl, “Sculptural Container in the Shape of a Farmhouse”

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2015

Born in Uniopolis, Ohio, Jack Earl worked as an art education and ceramics teacher at the Toledo Museum of Art, where he was inspired by the fantastic and sensual porcelain figures of the French Rococo style. Unlike 18th-century Rococo porcelain, however, Earl’s sculptures are not idealized but startlingly real—e even surreal, representations of Midwest American […]

Dec. 11 Art Minute: Gustaf Fjaestad, “Silence – Winter”

Posted on Friday, December 11th, 2015

A master of the winter scene, Gustaf Fjaestad painted the snowbound forests and countryside of Värmland in western Sweden, a region known for its winter storms. Fjaestad developed a process in which he coated his canvas with a light-sensitive substance onto which he projected photographs that he used as a guide for his paintings. Yet […]

Artwork of the Week: December 4

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2015

Fashioned from flameworked borosilicate glass treated with sand, thread, and fiberglass, this necklace evokes the imperfection of human flesh. Though Masako Onodera intends the work to be worn, its aesthetic similarity to the growth and decay of a living body doesn’t, according to Onodera, “decorate the wearer to show one’s status, but identifies the wearer […]

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 […]