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! […]