On a sunny day, when natural light streams into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, this self-portrait by Rembrandt comes alive. The spotlight on the Rembrandt’s shoulder and cheek glow as if he is sitting in the gallery staring right back at you. Learn more about this masterpiece with Peggy Fogelman, the Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait, Age 23

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins portrays the famous surgeon, Dr. Samuel D. Gross. It was made for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, but was rejected by the jury, evidently because it was considered too frightening. Discover how it came to be recognized as one of America’s greatest paintings with Timothy Rub, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The ...

“Protractor, Variation I” by Frank Stella at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Created in 1969 is composed of rhythmic bands of color in the shape of a protractor. This work is one of nearly 100 paintings in Stella’s Protractor series. Discover more reasons why this is a masterpiece with Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Protractor, Variation I by Frank Stella

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The luxurious space of the Damascus Room was ikely for an affluent family to host visitors. The opulent décor and poetic inscriptions were designed to make the space feel like a retreat from the bustling commercial center. Explore the masterpiece with Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Damascus Room at The Metropolitan Museum ...

“Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease” at the Denver Art Museum
Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease depicts the bodhisattva Guanyin gazing down as if listening intently to its devotees. Guanyin’s name means “the one who always hears.” Discover what makes this 1,000-year-old sculpture a masterpiece with Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum.

Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease ...

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“Five Beautiful Women,” by Katsushika Hokusai depicts women of different social backgrounds. Painted on silk, the work prompts the viewer to consider clothing and its relationship to identity. Discover more about Hokusai from Amada Cruz, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum.

Five Beautiful Women by Katsushika Hokusai

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"Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” by Caravaggio is characterized by its dramatic chiaroscuro and innovative depiction of Saint John as a brooding adolescent. Learn more about this masterpiece from Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness ...

Allan Houser’s Earth Song depicts an Apache man singing a song of respect, a prayer to Mother Earth. Discover why Earth Song is a masterpiece with David Roche, Dickey Family Director and CEO of the Heard Museum.

Earth Song by Allan Houser

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884 by Georges Seurat is considered to be one of the most important 19th century paintings. Find out more with James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of ...

Joan Mitchell’s Low Water is an abstract oil painting featuring vibrant colors, dynamic brushwork and dripping fields of paint that draw you in both physically and emotionally. Watch Eric Crosby, Director at Carnegie Museum of Art, explore what makes this a masterpiece.

Low Water by Joan Mitchell

Yayoi Kusama's Pumpkin embodies Kusama’s lifelong fascination with pumpkins. Join Melissa Chiu, Museum Director at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, to explore what makes Pumpkin a masterpiece.

Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals portrays the geological, technological, and human history of Detroit. Watch Salvador Salort-Pons, Director at the Detroit Institute of Arts, explore what makes Detroit Industry Murals a masterpiece.

Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera

Trane exemplifies Williams’s groundbreaking approach to color, form and subject. Thelma Golden, Museum Director and Chief Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, explores what makes Trane a masterpiece.

Trane by William T. Williams

Like the now-obsolete “flesh” crayon in the Crayola 64 box, the color “portrait tone” carries inherent assumptions about who is being depicted and presents a sobering commentary on power and representation.

Mark Bradford’s 150 Portrait Tone