videos + essays
Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket
A critic accused Whistler of “flinging paint at the public” when he saw this painting, so Whistler sued him.
J.M.W. Turner, Snow Storm
Like a disaster movie, Turner’s painting transforms a natural catastrophe — with death a near-certainty — into entertainment.
Giorgione, The Tempest
In the distance, lightning strikes. What does it mean? Poetic and evocative, this painting invites interpretation.
Sleeping Beauty — but without the Kiss: Burne-Jones and the Briar Rose series
A princess falls under a spell and sleeps for a hundred years — but Burne-Jones never shows us the kiss that awakens her.
John Constable, The Hay Wain
Landscape painting was considered lowly subject, but Constable gives them the six-foot treatment.
Carmelo Fernández, The Strait of Furatena in the Minero River
The Colombian Chorographic Commission mapped the country while also documenting the landscape and its people.
Chinese landscape painting
From mountain-shaped incense burners to paradisiacal Buddhist paintings, landscapes are central to Chinese art.
Liang Kai, Poet Strolling by a Marshy Bank
The subject is conventional, but Liang Kai’s airy composition makes this painting unusual. What’s behind the mist?
Winslow Homer, Northeaster
The artist eliminated a key element of this innovative painting five years after he finished it.
Ogata Kōrin, Red and White Plum Blossoms
Combining metallic curls with mottled color, Kôrin’s screens capture the pulsing vitality of early spring.
J. M. W. Turner, The Harbor of Dieppe
Beautifully rendered details of the Dieppe harbor are second only to Turner’s true love—the sublime sun.
John Constable, View on the Stour near Dedham
Refusing to idealize, Constable fills his landscapes with the specificity of a fleeting summer day.