Artist Maurizio Cattelan duct taped a banana to a wall, titled it "Comedian", and sold 5 editions of the artwork for as much as $150,000 each. Why did it capture our attention, curiosity, and memes? What does it mean?
Discover how advertising, machinery and U-boats intersect on the eve of WWI. To learn about other great moments in modern art, take our online course, Modern Art, 1880-1945. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.
Acoma polychrome water jar, c. 1890, from Acoma, clay and pigment, 25.1 x 29.8 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art); speaker: Brian Vallo, Director, Indian Arts Research Center School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, 1963, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches (The Museum of Modern Art) Speakers: Salman Khan & Steven Zucker. Created by Steven Zucker and Sal Khan.
Leonardo da Vinci, Adoration of the Magi, 1481, oil on panel (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/leonardo-adoration-of-the-magi.html. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
Rodney Leon, African Burial Ground National Monument, 2006, New York City, An ARCHES video, speakers Dr. Renée Ater and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Smarthistory.
How a portrait of an African muslim came to hang side-by-side with the founding fathers in one of America's earliest museums. Charles Willson Peale, Portrait of Yarrow Mamout (Muhammad Yaro), 1819, oil on canvas, 61 x 50.8 cm (Philadelphia Museum of Art) Speakers: Dr. Carol Eaton Soltis, Project Associate Curator, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Find learning related resources here: https://smarthistory.org/seeing-america-2/
Conservators, scientists, and curators tell the story behind the unprecedented conservation of Tullio Lombardo's Adam. The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. Made in the early 1490s for the tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin, it is the only signed sculpture from that monumental complex. The serene, idealized figure, inspired by ancient sculpture, is deceptively complex. Carefully manipulating composition and finish, Tullio created God's perfect human being, but also the anxious victim of the serpent's wiles. In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible. The exhibition allows Adam to be viewed in the round and explains this unprecedented twelve-year research and conservation project. It also inaugurates a new permanent gallery for Venetian and northern Italian sculpture. The installation of this gallery was made possible by Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ignazio Peluso, Ada Peluso, and Romano I. Peluso.
In the process of crafting millions of porcelain sunflower seeds, Chinese artist Ai WeiWei creates a work of art as well as a positive social project for the village in rural China he employed to make the seeds. Follow Sunflower Seeds on its remarkable journey from conception to delivery, and hear the artist talk about his unique socio-political approach to making art. Created by Tate.
House Altar depicting Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Three of their Daughters, limestone, New Kingdom, Amarna period, 18th dynasty, c.1350 BCE (Ägyptisches Museum/Neues Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
The albumen silver print, invented in 1850, was the most popular photographic printing process of the 19th century. To make albumen silver prints, a sheet of paper is coated with albumen (egg white) and salts, then sensitized with a solution of silver nitrate. The paper is exposed in contact with a negative and printed out, which means that the image is created solely by the action of light on the sensitized paper without any chemical development. Because the paper is coated with albumen, the silver image is suspended on the surface of the paper rather than absorbed into the paper fibers. The result is a sharp image with fine detail on a smooth, glossy surface. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number MA-10-13-0194.
Some of the most vivid pigments in medieval manuscripts were manufactured through alchemy, an experimental practice that predates modern chemistry. Today, chemistry deepens our knowledge about paint colors, their identification, and potential continued transformations.
Alexander Mosaic, c. 100 B.C.E., Roman copy (Pompeii) of a lost Greek painting, c. 315 B.C.E., Hellenistic Period (Archaeological Museum, Naples). Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
The Alexander Sarcophagus, c. 312 B.C.E., Pentelic marble and polychromy, found in Sidon, 195 x 318 x 167 cm (İstanbul Archaeological Museums). Speakers: Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Steven Zucker and Beth Harris.
The Bier of Iskandar (Alexander the Great), folio from the Great Mongol Shahnama (Il-Khanid dynasty, Tabriz, Iran), c. 1330, ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 57.6 x 39.7 cm (Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment, F1938.3) This video focuses on one particular painting within one particular 14th century manuscript now commonly called the Great Mongol Shahnama. This is only one of many versions of the Shanama, the great epic of Iran. Speakers: Dr. Massumeh Farhad, Chief Curator and The Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and Dr. Steven Zucker.
Chiricahua Apache artist Allan Houser’s “Earth Song” is the signature sculpture on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. Created in 1979 from Alabama marble, it depicts an Apache man singing a song of respect, a prayer to Mother Earth. Houser is considered the Grandfather of Contemporary Native American Sculpture for creating works that are grounded in a respect for all indigenous cultures. Discover more reasons why “Earth Song” is a masterpiece with David Roche, Dickey Family Director and CEO of the Heard Museum. Video by Bank of America. Created by Smarthistory.
Washington Allston, Elijah in the Desert, 1818, oil on canvas, 125.09 x 184.78 cm / 49 1/4 x 72 3/4 inches (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.