Virtually explore the MFA in Boston with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
Van Mander rewrites art history in this book of "celebrity" artists from the Netherlands
Van Dyck paints himself as Icarus, a boy whose wings melted when he flew too close to the sun
Ceramics factories in Holland compete with the demand for Chinese porcelain
Rembrandt makes a case for painting and art-making as an intellectual endeavor, rather than a craft
From Indonesia to the Netherlands, this coconut encased in silver features a fish tail, a mermaid, and a chimp
A very expensive Atlas from Amsterdam attempts to map the known world to Dutch viewers
What does the Virgin Mary look like?
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.
These reliquary figures helped a nomadic society to honor their loved ones after death.
How to impress your courtiers: a lesson from the Kingdom of Benin
In this example of ukiyo-e, the artist represents a modern woman in the guise of Komachi, a legendary poetess.
Female painters were rare in sixteenth-century Italy. In self-portraits, Sofonisba made sure to appear virtuous.