At the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Can't get to the museum? Explore the VMFA's collection with these videos and essays

Some background

videos + essays

Sari Dienes, <em>Star Circle</em>
Sari Dienes, Star Circle

A plaster cast of a manhole cover from the streets of Manhattan is a testament to this artist's experimental use of materials

Jasper Francis Cropsey, <em>Mount Jefferson, Pinkham Notch, White Mountains</em>
Jasper Francis Cropsey, Mount Jefferson, Pinkham Notch, White Mountains

Summer, autumn, a saw mill all provide metaphors about American republicanism in this pre-Civil War landscape

Hedda Sterne, <em>Number 3—1957</em>
Hedda Sterne, Number 3—1957

Stripes of industrial spray paint on this canvas recall the industrial city and undersides of highways

Sam Gilliam, <em>Purpled (Chasers Series)</em>
Sam Gilliam, Purpled (Chasers Series)

Sam Gilliam trespasses the distinction between painting and sculpture

Eldzier Cortor, <em>Southern Landscape</em>
Eldzier Cortor, Southern Landscape

A dream-like flooded landscape—does is suggest bleakness or hope?

Gee’s Bend, quilting over generations
Gee’s Bend, quilting over generations

Gee's Bend quilts challenge notions of what is — and what is not — modern art.

Romare Bearden, <em>Three Folk Musicians</em>
Romare Bearden, Three Folk Musicians

An abstract painting, a collage, three musicians, two guitars and a banjo.

William Wetmore Story, <i>Cleopatra</i>
William Wetmore Story, Cleopatra

What does this marble sculpture of Cleopatra tell us about race and the Civil War in the U.S.?

Kehinde Wiley, <em>Rumors of War</em>
Kehinde Wiley, Rumors of War

A monumental solution, rethinking the sculpture of Richmond

Beauford Delaney, <i>Marian Anderson</i>
Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson

Delaney celebrates the famous opera singer Marian Anderson as a modern icon of Black excellence and civil rights

David Drake, Double-handled jug
David Drake, Double-handled jug

Enslaved artist David Drake inscribed a poem onto this jug at a time when literacy among enslaved people was outlawed

Winslow Homer, <i>Army Teamsters</i>
Winslow Homer, Army Teamsters

Is this painting of five men, possibly formerly enslaved, working for the Union Army during the Civil War a product of racist stereotypes, or does it humanize its subjects?