Bank of America’s Masterpiece Moment

Art inspires, educates, and helps us see our world in a new way

We could all use a little inspiration in our busy lives, and benefit from the context that art can bring to bear on our world, our times, and our history. Join us and museum directors from around the United States as we explore some of our greatest artistic treasures.

We’ll take a closer look at a new masterpiece every two weeks, so be sure to tune in, learn more, be inspired and discuss with friends and family.

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Frida Kahlo, <em>Self-Portrait with Monkey</em>
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Monkey

Kahlo’s art looks at Mexico's indigenous heritage, colonial history and post-revolutionary future.

Julie Mehretu, <em>HOWL, eon (I, II)</em>
Julie Mehretu, HOWL, eon (I, II)

HOWL, eon (I, II), by Julie Mehretu at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, was inspired by 1950's San Francisco and uses digital images of contemporary riots and protests overlaid with paint. Explore this masterpiece further with Neal Benezra, the Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA.

Fernand Léger, <em>Untitled (Fireplace Mural)</em>
Fernand Léger, Untitled (Fireplace Mural)

In Paris, Léger became associated with some of the most forward-looking painters of the time, developing his own form of late Cubism so elegantly seen in this mural. Discover how his works came to be displayed alongside those of Matisse and Picasso with Gary Tinterow, Director and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Jonathan Green, <em>Folding Sheets</em>
Jonathan Green, Folding Sheets

“Folding Sheets" by Jonathan Green is part of the permanent collection at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina. This masterpiece is a deceptively simple depiction of two women folding sheets on a summer day, painted with a limited color palette of indigo, white and shades of brown and black. Discover more about this work with David Taylor, President & CEO of the Gantt Center.

Rembrandt van Rijn, <em>Self-Portrait, Age 23</em>
Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait, Age 23

On a sunny day, when natural light streams into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, this self-portrait by Rembrandt comes alive. The spotlight on the Rembrandt’s shoulder and cheek glow as if he is sitting in the gallery staring right back at you. Learn more about this masterpiece with Peggy Fogelman, the Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

<em>Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic)</em> by Thomas Eakins
Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) by Thomas Eakins

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins portrays the famous surgeon, Dr. Samuel D. Gross. It was made for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, but was rejected by the jury, evidently because it was considered too frightening. Discover how it came to be recognized as one of America’s greatest paintings with Timothy Rub, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

<em>Protractor, Variation I</em> by Frank Stella
Protractor, Variation I by Frank Stella

“Protractor, Variation I” by Frank Stella at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Created in 1969 is composed of rhythmic bands of color in the shape of a protractor. This work is one of nearly 100 paintings in Stella’s Protractor series. Discover more reasons why this is a masterpiece with Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The Damascus Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Damascus Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The luxurious space of the Damascus Room was ikely for an affluent family to host visitors. The opulent décor and poetic inscriptions were designed to make the space feel like a retreat from the bustling commercial center. Explore the masterpiece with Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

<em>Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease</em> at the Denver Art Museum
Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease at the Denver Art Museum

Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease depicts the bodhisattva Guanyin gazing down as if listening intently to its devotees. Guanyin’s name means “the one who always hears.” Discover what makes this 1,000-year-old sculpture a masterpiece with Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum.

<em>Five Beautiful Women</em> by Katsushika Hokusai
Five Beautiful Women by Katsushika Hokusai

“Five Beautiful Women,” by Katsushika Hokusai depicts women of different social backgrounds. Painted on silk, the work prompts the viewer to consider clothing and its relationship to identity. Discover more about Hokusai from Amada Cruz, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum.

<em>Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness</em> by Caravaggio
Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Caravaggio

"Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” by Caravaggio is characterized by its dramatic chiaroscuro and innovative depiction of Saint John as a brooding adolescent. Learn more about this masterpiece from Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

<em>Earth Song</em> by Allan Houser
Earth Song by Allan Houser

Allan Houser’s Earth Song depicts an Apache man singing a song of respect, a prayer to Mother Earth. Discover why Earth Song is a masterpiece with David Roche, Dickey Family Director and CEO of the Heard Museum.