Eyes to behold stunning artworks in world-class museums.

From 1612 To 1627

5 min read
From 1612 To 1627

The 17th century was a tumultuous time for Europe, with religious wars and political upheavals aplenty. But it was also a time of great artistic achievement, with artists working in a wide variety of styles and media. From the grandiose paintings of the Italian Baroque to the delicate porcelain of the Chinese Qing dynasty, there was something for everyone in the art of the 17th century.

Samson Captured by the Philistines

Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna / The Met

    According to the Bible, Samson, whose strength came from his hair, was shorn by his duplicitous lover, Delilah, and then set upon by the Philistines, who bound and blinded him.
    The focus of this dramatic and marvelously staged composition - a landmark in the artist's career - is the vigorously modeled back of Samson, struggling to free himself.
    It is one of several commissions from Cardinal Giacomo Serra, the papal legate to Ferrara.

The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John

Dutch, The Hague? 1588–1629 Utrecht / The Met

    Painted roughly a century after the other works in this gallery, Ter Brugghen's scene of Christ's crucifixion draws on the dramatic, emotional appeal of earlier religious art to inspire the private prayers of a Catholic viewer.
    The Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist, who flank the cross, provide surrogates for the viewer's agonized beholding of the crucifixion.

Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children

Italian, Naples 1598–1680 Rome / The Met

    Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the heroic central figure in Italian Baroque sculpture.
    The influence of his father, the Florentine-born Pietro, can be seen here in the buoyant forms and cottony texture of the Bacchanal.
    The liveliness and strongly accented diagonals, however, are the distinctive contribution of the young Gian Lorenzo.
    Although about eighteen when he made this work, he already displayed what would become a lifelong interest in the rendering of emotional and spiritual exaltation.

The Immaculate Conception

Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna / The Met

    Reni, the most celebrated painter of seventeenth-century Italy, was particularly famous for the elegance of his compositions and the beauty and grace of his female heads, earning him the epithet "Divine."
    This altarpiece, with its otherworldly space shaped by clouds and putti in a high-keyed palette, was commissioned in about 1627 by the Spanish ambassador in Rome for the Infanta of Spain.
    It later hung in the cathedral of Seville, where it exercised a deep influence on Spanish painters, especially Murillo.

Wolf and Fox Hunt

Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp / The Met

    Rubens created a new art form:very large hunting scenes painted on canvas.
    The few earlier examples were either models for or copies after tapestries, but Rubens's large "hunts" of about 1616 - 21 were made as replacements for that very expensive medium.
    This canvas, originally more symmetrical in design, was trimmed at the top and left side because "none but great Princes have houses fitt to hange it up in."
    Rubens painted the picture with the help of assistants but declared that the wolves were his own work.

The Smoker

Dutch, Antwerp 1582/83–1666 Haarlem / The Met

    The central figure is smoking tobacco, a recent import from the New World.
    Dutch moralists were troubled by this.
    The painting captures the bustle of a tavern interior.

Man in a Long-sleeved Coat

Iranian, ca. 1565–d. 1635 / The Met

    This drawing is from the time period of 1590-1600, and is signed by the artist.

Reciting Poetry in a Garden

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
-5 min read
From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
-4 min read
From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
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