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

Remedios Varo, <em>Tailleur pour dames</em>
Remedios Varo, Tailleur pour dames

Inspired by Renaissance panel painting and the works of Hieronymus Bosch, Varo brings complex, supernatural scenes to life with the hand of a miniaturist

A Dutch doll house
A Dutch doll house

Tour a doll’s house modeled after a 17th-century Dutch home

Osias Beert, <em>Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table</em>
Osias Beert, Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table

What lies behind this ornate display of pewter, oysters, blue-and-white porcelain, and sugary sweets?

Peter Paul Rubens, <em>Mulay Ahmad</em>
Peter Paul Rubens, Mulay Ahmad

Based on a print made a century earlier, this figure appeared again in a later Rubens painting as the artist attempted to create an authentic portrayal of an African king.

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.