At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Virtually explore the MFA in Boston with Smarthistory as your guide

Some background

videos + essays

Link to the Museum of Fine Arts's website

Van Mander, <i>Het Schilder-Boeck</i>
Van Mander, Het Schilder-Boeck

Van Mander rewrites art history in this book of "celebrity" artists from the Netherlands

Anthony van Dyck, <i>Self-Portrait as Icarus with Daedalus</i>
Anthony van Dyck, Self-Portrait as Icarus with Daedalus

Van Dyck paints himself as Icarus, a boy whose wings melted when he flew too close to the sun

17th-century Delftware
17th-century Delftware

Ceramics factories in Holland compete with the demand for Chinese porcelain

Rembrandt, <i>The Artist in His Studio</i>
Rembrandt, The Artist in His Studio

Rembrandt makes a case for painting and art-making as an intellectual endeavor, rather than a craft

Fashioning luxury from a coconut cup
Fashioning luxury from a coconut cup

From Indonesia to the Netherlands, this coconut encased in silver features a fish tail, a mermaid, and a chimp

<i>The Great Atlas</i>, Dutch edition
The Great Atlas, Dutch edition

A very expensive Atlas from Amsterdam attempts to map the known world to Dutch viewers

Rogier van der Weyden, <i>Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin</i>
Rogier van der Weyden, Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin

What does the Virgin Mary look like?

The Imagery of Power on Benin Bronze Plaques
The Imagery of Power on Benin Bronze Plaques

The audience hall in the palace in Benin City communicated to visiting ambassadors, traders, courtiers, and subjects the power and wealth of the Oba, or king.

Kota reliquary (mbulu ngulu)
Kota reliquary (mbulu ngulu)

These reliquary figures helped a nomadic society to honor their loved ones after death.

Benin Plaques
Benin Plaques

How to impress your courtiers: a lesson from the Kingdom of Benin

Utagawa Kunisada I, <em>Visiting Komachi</em>, from the series <em>Modern Beauties as the Seven Komachi</em>
Utagawa Kunisada I, Visiting Komachi, from the series Modern Beauties as the Seven Komachi

In this example of ukiyo-e, the artist represents a modern woman in the guise of Komachi, a legendary poetess.

Sofonisba Anguissola
Sofonisba Anguissola

Female painters were rare in sixteenth-century Italy. In self-portraits, Sofonisba made sure to appear virtuous.