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 »
Reflecting values of the French Revolution, Male and female sans–culottes were supposed to embody frugality, thrift, hard work, and, above all, honest devotion—whether to pets, the nation, or fellow comrades.
This allegorical image represents the sentiments of social unity that the National Assembly sought to promote through the Festival of the Federation of 14 July 1790 during the French Revolution. This festival, though technically but a military parade of units from around the country, also implied to most observers the unity of all orders and classes.
Painted by Francesco Renaldi in 1786, The Palmer Family depicts Major William Palmer (seated in the center) surrounded by his two bibis, children, and female servants. Bibis are common-law wives of British men in India. Seated to Palmer's left is Bibi Faiz Bakhsh. She is holding one of Palmer's children, a sleeping baby boy named Hastings. Standing to either side of her is Palmer's... Read More »
There are many paintings that represent the British Empire, but The Secret of England’s Greatness (1863) by Thomas Jones Barker is one of the most powerful. It depicts Queen Victoria presenting a bible to a kneeling African chief in the Audience Chamber at Windsor. In the background are her husband, Albert, and members of the government. The painting was reproduced in engravings and... Read More »
The National Assembly also eliminated monasteries during the French Revolution, since monks and nuns had increasingly become figures of ridicule. This image depicts the dissolution of the religious orders, rather than the confiscation of lands, as the crucial element in religious reorganization. It shows "the National Assembly marrying nuns and monks" so they will become productive citizens.... Read More »
As 80,000 crowded into the square to watch the execution of Louis XVI, they cannot have been unaware that the guillotine sat where a statue of Louis XV had been. Here Sanson, the executioner, snatches the detached head of Louis XVI to show to the crowd. He leans forward with approving eagerness. If the head of the King was the most recognizable old regime symbol, then the demise of that... Read More »