Visualizing 4000 Years of Spanish History

The collection of the Hispanic Society of America reveals the history of Spain and its place in the world, from antiquity to modern times. Unrivaled outside Spain, the scope and quality of the collection is hard to believe, considering that it was largely amassed by a single inspired collector. […]

Art in Context: Not Living in the Moment

For people who lived (and died) in the 14th century — when the Great Plague (aka the Black Death, the Great Mortality) killed roughly half the world’s population — a truly horrible death was not hard to envision. It’s almost impossible for most of us, today, to understand the constant presence of death that was the reality of life for everyone until very recent times. […]

Isamu Noguchi: Knowing the Ways of Nature

There is perhaps no more serene space in New York City than the Noguchi Museum and Garden in Queens. Profoundly influenced by Brancusi, Isamu Noguchi blended modernism and abstraction with Japanese traditions to create a powerful aesthetic of simplicity. […]

Art in Context: Peter Paul Rubens’ Altarpiece, The Descent From the Cross

It is a testament to Rubens’ extraordinary skill that he could convey such tenderness and devotion without any hint of sentimentality. The Descent from the Cross shows the artist moving away from his exuberant Baroque compositions to a more Classical approach. […]

Art in Context: Peter Paul Rubens’ Altarpiece, The Raising of the Cross

With this sensational painting, Rubens introduced the Baroque into Northern European art. In composition, iconography and size (15’ x 20’) it is resplendent with the artistic ideals of the Counter-Reformation. Imagine the effect this must have had when it was unveiled in 1610! […]

Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery

Elaine de Kooning Self-Portrait. Oil on Masonite (1946). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The term “self-conscious” takes on a particular meaning in the era of social media, with millions of off-the-cuff selfies posted every day. The 60 indelible self-portraits in this exhibition show us that to paint or draw ones self-portrait requires self-consciousness of quite a different sort. […]