Virtually explore this museum with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
Link to the Detroit Institute of Arts's website
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 Cotopaxi
The natural world and political metaphor, Church's Cotopaxi
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, 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, The Bay
She was a pioneer of the “soak-stain method” of diluting acrylic paint and pouring it into unprimed canvas.
Diego Rivera, Detroit Industry Murals
Rivera’s controversial murals were made at the height of Depression-era instability in auto-manufacturing Detroit.
Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare
Fuseli explores the drama of the unconscious in this work, whose morbid eroticism endeared it to Edgar Allan Poe.