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All videos + essays

Exekias, <em>Dionysos Kylix</em>
Exekias, Dionysos Kylix

This cup depicts the god of wine Dionysos escaping pirates by hiding and turning them into dolphins.

Titian, <em>Christ Crowned with Thorns</em>
Titian, Christ Crowned with Thorns

Opting for shadow over light, Titian frees himself—and future generations—from the Renaissance demand for clarity.

Albrecht Dürer, <em>Self-Portrait</em> (1500)
Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait (1500)

Dürer holds nothing back in this frontal portrait. By taking Christ’s pose, he conflates artist and creator.

Franz von Stuck, <em>The Sin</em>
Franz von Stuck, The Sin

Entranced by the evil of the human psyche, we come face to face with art history’s creepiest snake.

Peter Paul Rubens, <em>The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus</em>
Peter Paul Rubens, The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

The myth is ancient, but these figures couldn’t be closer. Rubens’s virtuoso brushwork and color are on display.

Albrecht Dürer, <em>The Four Apostles</em>
Albrecht Dürer, The Four Apostles

These monumental figures concentrate their attention on the word of God, which Dürer writes into the painting.

Albrecht Altdorfer, <em>The Battle of Issus</em>
Albrecht Altdorfer, The Battle of Issus

Time collapses in this ambitious painting. As the Greeks battle the Persians, the West fends off the Ottoman East.

<em>Barberini Faun</em>
Barberini Faun

Part man, part goat, this companion of the god of wine relaxes after a night of drinking.

Paul Troost, House of (German) Art
Paul Troost, House of (German) Art

The first of many buildings commissioned by Hitler, this was meant to seem timeless, like ancient ruins.

East and West Pediments from the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina
East and West Pediments from the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina

Explore the evolution of ancient Greek sculpture with two groups from the same temple, but that seem ages apart.

Fernand Khnopff, <em>I Lock my Door Upon Myself</em>
Fernand Khnopff, I Lock my Door Upon Myself

This enigmatic painting haunts, suggests, and evokes—but it refuses to reveal all of its secrets.

<em>Gospel Book of Otto III</em>
Gospel Book of Otto III

This manuscript is over a thousand years old. Among its magnificent paintings, Otto III sits on his throne.