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From the elements of art to the great goddess Durga — Smarthistory is adding new content every week.

Prehistoric to contemporary

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Portrait of a Coptic Patriarch
Portrait of a Coptic Patriarch

A closer look at this 12th-century Egyptian illuminated gospel book reveals why it is remarkable.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, <em>Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl</em>
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl

Forgoing the tradition of narrative painting, Whistler aspired to create a beautiful "symphony."

Sotades Painter, White-ground cup
Sotades Painter, White-ground cup

Why was a mythical story about death and rebirth painted on an ancient Greek vase?

Firelei Báez, <em>Untitled (A Correct Chart of Hispaniola with the Windward Passage)</em>
Firelei Báez, Untitled (A Correct Chart of Hispaniola with the Windward Passage)

A partially obscured figure crouches over a historical map of Hispaniola in an act of anticolonial resistance.

Nikandre
Nikandre

An inscription tells us that this kore was dedicated by the preeminent Nikandre, a woman from Protoarchaic Greece.

Bahman Mohassess, <em>Minotaur</em>
Bahman Mohassess, Minotaur

Painted under the Pahlavi Regime in Iran, Mohassess' Minotaur can be understood as a subtle form of resistance.

Edna Manley, <em>Negro Aroused</em>
Edna Manley, Negro Aroused

Manley's sculpture has become an icon of the Jamaican nationalist movement and of Caribbean art history.

Marwan <em>tiraz</em>
Marwan tiraz

The fragments of the Marwan tiraz once formed a large and impressive cloth that emphasized the import and status of its wearer.

The Church of the Holy Cross, Pătrăuți Monastery
The Church of the Holy Cross, Pătrăuți Monastery

Sunlight streams in from the windows to illuminate significant scenes in this church's colorful mural cycle.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Bachman-Wilson House
Frank Lloyd Wright, Bachman-Wilson House

This building is a beautiful testament to Wright's vision of affordable and unique domestic architecture.

Hurezi (Horezu) Monastery
Hurezi (Horezu) Monastery

From floor to ceiling, colorful murals fill the walls of Hurezi Monastery.

Shahzia Sikander, <em>Pleasure Pillars</em>
Shahzia Sikander, Pleasure Pillars

Sikander models acts of transformation—of the self, of a community, of cultures, and of history—in this small watercolor painting.