At the Detroit Institute of Arts

Virtually explore this museum with Smarthistory as your guide

Some background

videos + essays

Link to the Detroit Institute of Arts's website

Whistler, <em>Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket</em>
Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket

A critic accused Whistler of “flinging paint at the public” when he saw this painting, so Whistler sued him.

Science, religion, and politics, Church’s <i>Cotopaxi</i>
Science, religion, and politics, Church’s Cotopaxi

The natural world and political metaphor, Church's Cotopaxi

Artemisia Gentileschi, <em>Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes</em>
Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes

Artemisia Gentileschi's image of Judith and her maidservant powerfully showcases the artist's ability to create a dramatic moment

Jacob van Ruisdael, <em>The Jewish Cemetery</em>
Jacob van Ruisdael, The Jewish Cemetery

As we can see in a closer examination of The Jewish Cemetery, Ruisdael's works were closely based on, but not entirely beholden to, the world he saw around him.

Helen Frankenthaler, <em>The Bay</em>
Helen Frankenthaler, The Bay

She was a pioneer of the “soak-stain method” of diluting acrylic paint and pouring it into unprimed canvas.

Diego Rivera, <em>Detroit Industry Murals</em>
Diego Rivera, Detroit Industry Murals

Rivera’s controversial murals were made at the height of Depression-era instability in auto-manufacturing Detroit.

Henry Fuseli, <em>The Nightmare</em>
Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare

Fuseli explores the drama of the unconscious in this work, whose morbid eroticism endeared it to Edgar Allan Poe.