One of the most fearful parts of the Terror was its unpredictability. Many were swept up in suspicion, including unexpected, even nighttime arrests. As reality and imagination merged, this fear of the uncertainty of the era became an important part of the story, as this print in English testifies.
Susanna and the Elders, a 17th-century Italian painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, portrays the biblical story of Susanna, a virtuous Jewish woman preyed upon by two judges, important members of the community. Without her knowing, the men spied on her while she bathed. Overcome with lust, they cornered her, offering a bargain: she could either sleep with them or they would claim to... Read More »
This stone alter found in Pompeii, Italy was part of temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor Vespasian who ruled from 69 to 79 CE. The alter depicts a scene of a bull being led to a religious sacrifice, a common practice in ancient Rome. Objects from the past that have been preserved can tell scholars a lot about the people who created them. Pompeii is a notable example of preserved objects due... Read More »
This image uses the classical figures of an angel and a cherub to celebrate the achievements of Louis XVI on the base of a statue. The words state that he has destroyed the "aristocracy" and established the liberty of the French people. The monarch’s action is equated with the other great reminder of national emancipation and the French Revolution, the Bastille, seen in the background.
This painting, by a Mexican artist engaged with the international movement of Surrealism, represents a slumbering Malinche; her body serves as the ground supporting an unnamed Mexican community and church. This image evokes certain female earth deities known to the Aztecs, and it sustains the metaphor of the Mexican nation having been built upon the “ground” laid by Malinche’s actions. The... Read More »
This print, titled, The Drunkard, portrays a woman engaged in frivolous or indulgent behavior. It is a ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Tokugawa or Edo period in Japan (1600 to 1867) created by the artist Utamaro in 1802. There are a pair of spectacles (watching over the young women) and messages that criticize their behavior while the images themselves are vibrant and... Read More »
This painting by Jan Baptist Weenix depicts the Dutch ambassador Joan Cunaeus and his secretary, Cornelis Speelman, on a diplomatic mission to Isfahan in Persia in 1651-52. The men were sent to Isfahan on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to stimulate trade in horses and silk. Cunaeus, prominently depicted on a white horse, is wearing a silk cloak, a gift from the Shah of Persia.... Read More »