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

Prehistoric to contemporary

videos + essays

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, <em>Portrait of Madame Charpentier and Her Children</em>
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Madame Charpentier and Her Children

Viewers are often surprised to learn that one of the children is a boy, since both children are dressed alike.

Superman, World War II, and Japanese-American experience
Superman, World War II, and Japanese-American experience

Superman makes an appearance in what looks (at first sight) like a Japanese print.

Masaccio, <em>Holy Trinity</em>
Masaccio, Holy Trinity

This painting blends deep piety with scientific observation. Both its architecture and figures were radically new.

Guide to Ancient Greek Art
Guide to Ancient Greek Art

A new Smarthistory book — download, print, or order a bound copy.

Rembrandt, <em>Self-Portrait with Two Circles</em>
Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with Two Circles

Rembrandt's enigmatic self-portrait at Kenwood House is an apt example of the artist's long career in self-exploration.

AP® Art History volume 1
AP® Art History volume 1

A new Smarthistory book — download, print, or order a bound copy.

Stéphane Couturier, <em>Fenetre, Eastlake Greens, San Diego</em>
Stéphane Couturier, Fenetre, Eastlake Greens, San Diego

Building the American dream in the California desert.

Millard Sheets, <em>Tenement Flats</em>
Millard Sheets, Tenement Flats

Cats, gossip, and laundry — a view of Los Angeles during the Great Depression.

Abstract art and Theosophy
Abstract art and Theosophy

The traditional naturalistic style, which merely imitates the surface appearances of nature, is inadequate to elucidate the deep underlying mysteries of the universe. There are truths inaccessible to the scientific method, and a meta-reality beyond the reach of human perception.

The Bauhaus, an Introduction
The Bauhaus, an Introduction

Today, Bauhaus designs are so familiar and so simple that they don’t seem to have required a designer, but they were as radical in their time as they are commonplace now.

The Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt
The Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt

When female applicants at the Bauhaus threatened to equal or even outnumber male applicants, the masters at the school agreed to channel women into the pottery, bookbinding, and weaving workshops.

Constructivism, Part I
Constructivism, Part I

The Constructivists worked to establish a new social role for art and the artist in the communist society of 1920s Soviet Russia.