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

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

Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals is a monumental 27-panel mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts that portrays the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. Rivera was a great admirer of American innovation and both celebrates and questions its impact on society. He depicts the enormity and complexity of an automotive factory and presents […]

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 Cotopaxi
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.