Across cultures

A global, interconnected world is not as recent as we think.
These works of art all demonstrate cross-cultural relationships.

All content | across cultures

The Cappella Palatina
The Cappella Palatina

On the southern Italian island of Sicily, a richly decorated church known as the Cappella Palatina presents a puzzling pastiche of art and architecture that feels at once Byzantine, Islamic, and Romanesque. The Cappella Palatina was built by Normans of French descent in the twelfth century. But what can explain its eclectic decoration? In 1130, the Norman […]

The visual culture of Norman Sicily
The visual culture of Norman Sicily

The southern-Italian island of Sicily is often described as a stepping stone, a hub, or a crossroad of the Mediterranean Sea. To the North, the small island is separated from mainland Italy and its gateway to Christian Europe by only 2.5 miles. To the South, the Strait of Sicily, only 90 miles wide, joined Sicily […]

El Anatsui, <em>Old Man’s Cloth</em>
El Anatsui, Old Man’s Cloth

Textile or sculpture? El Anatsui purposely disregards the limiting categories imposed by Western art history.

Masami Teraoka, <em>American Kabuki</em>
Masami Teraoka, American Kabuki

Teraoka draws on Japan's brilliant history of art and kabuki theatre to creating beauty from heart-rending tragedy.

Ferrer Bassa and the murals of Pedralbes
Ferrer Bassa and the murals of Pedralbes

The Iberian Peninsula was a dynamic place in the fourteenth century, with artists from what is today France and Italy arriving in the area, as well as Catalan artists traveling elsewhere.

Sasanian art
Sasanian art

The Sasanians were the last pre-Islamic Iranian dynasty who ruled an expansive empire stretching across western and central Asia.

Minoan Octopus vase
Minoan Octopus vase

This vase with a charming image of a writhing octopus was made during the height of the Minoan sea trade.

Textiles in the Colonial Andes
Textiles in the Colonial Andes

Textiles remained important items after the Spanish conquest in the Viceroyalty of Peru. Churches were even painted with textile murals to endow these spaces with sacredness.

Hugo van der Goes, <em>Portinari Altarpiece</em>
Hugo van der Goes, Portinari Altarpiece

This particular artwork perfectly embodies all the things that northern European painters were thought to do best.

Map of Cholula, from the <em>relaciones geográficas</em>
Map of Cholula, from the relaciones geográficas

Learn more about a map from 16th-century Mexico, made by an Indigenous artist to document the town of Cholula, to be sent back to Spain.

Yungang grottoes in China
Yungang grottoes in China

Imagine peering into a cave and seeing a monumental carved Buddha peer right back at you.

Filippino Lippi’s <em>Madonna and Child</em>, an early image of enslaved people in renaissance Florence
Filippino Lippi’s Madonna and Child, an early image of enslaved people in renaissance Florence

A 15th-century Florentine painting tells us about the arrival of oil painting to the city, international trade, and slavery in the renaissance.