France

When you get outside Paris, you will find Romanesque and Gothic churches of astounding beauty. In Paris, there's the Louvre, but make time for smaller museums, like the Musée Moreau and churches like Saint-Sulpice (where you can see newly-restored paintings by Delacroix).

videos + essays

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris

The fire that engulfed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was a terrible tragedy—though not an unusual one.

Marie-Guillemine Benoist, <em>Portrait of Madeleine</em>
Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait of Madeleine

This portrait of an unnamed woman speaks volumes about slavery, politics, and gender in revolutionary France.

Eugène Delacroix, Murals in the Chapel of The Holy Angels, Saint-Sulpice
Eugène Delacroix, Murals in the Chapel of The Holy Angels, Saint-Sulpice

Delacroix's unusual choice of scenes in these murals bewildered critics for over a century.

Raoul Hausmann, <em>Spirit of the Age: Mechanical Head</em>
Raoul Hausmann, Spirit of the Age: Mechanical Head

A century before democracy was tested by social media gone rogue, Hausmann understood the dark side of technology.

Leonardo, <em>The Mona Lisa </em>
Leonardo, The Mona Lisa

Such a tease! This ambiguous portrait plays psychological and optical games with the viewer.

A summer day in Paris: Berthe Morisot’s <em>Hunting Butterflies</em>
A summer day in Paris: Berthe Morisot’s Hunting Butterflies

The subject takes control over the outdoor setting, expressing her independence in spite of limitations.

Pablo Picasso and the new language of Cubism
Pablo Picasso and the new language of Cubism

Picasso was a technically skilled draftsman—so why did he choose to take his forms apart?

How to recognize Monet: <em>The Basin at Argenteuil</em>
How to recognize Monet: The Basin at Argenteuil

In the suburbs, Parisians escaped the pressures of modern life. Monet painted their sun-drenched pleasures.

How to recognize Renoir: <em>The Swing</em>
How to recognize Renoir: The Swing

Renoir wanted to forget everything he knew about how to paint so that he could render light as it really is.

Seated Gudea holding temple plan
Seated Gudea holding temple plan

Shown with an architectural plan in his lap, this prince constructed temples to the gods and likenesses of himself.

Humanizing Mary: the Virgin of Jeanne d’Evreux
Humanizing Mary: the Virgin of Jeanne d’Evreux

Mary’s swaying hip, elongated neck, and tender touch of the Christ Child all imbue this golden sculpture with grace. A pomegranate signals death.

Gustave Courbet, <em>A Burial at Ornans</em>
Gustave Courbet, A Burial at Ornans

They wanted an epic Biblical image, or one from a Greek myth. He gave them a painting of a modern-day funeral.