One of the great collections of the world. You'll want to spend the day (oh! and make sure to have coffee and cake at the cafe). If you can't get there in person, spend the day virtually exploring the museum here with Smarthistory as your guide.
videos + essays
Cellini's salt cellar was prized as luxury tableware and was also an intellectual conversation starter in renaissance France.
Two different portraits—it’s St. Matthew in both, but watch the style change from smooth modeling to frenzied brushwork.
Join the birds and soar through this frozen landscape. On the pond below, playful scenes warm the air.
A well-dressed artist paints Clio, the muse of history, but as with any Vermeer, the real subject here is light.
Bruegel offers up a slice of peasant life. Despite our historical distance, this is a wedding party we can attend.
These three learned men differ in age, outlook, and dress. But do they represent religions, eras, or philosophies?
Without historical sources, what gives an artist authority to depict the divine? Gossaert channels St. Luke.
What a show-off! Hoping to win a papal commission, the confident young painter foregrounds his hand—and his skill.
With her open mouth, tilted head, and soft flesh, Io exudes sensuality, giving herself up willingly to Jupiter.
Such a gruesome act; such a passive woman. But is she really so refined? With Cranach, meaning is never clear-cut.
From the ruffled veil around Mary’s face to the lancet windows of a very Gothic Jerusalem, Rogier revels in detail.
A perpetual construction site, this tower rises and falls—just like each of us.