Louis the Sixteenth, King of France and of Navarre


This portrait demonstrates Louis at the height of his power and authority on the eve of the French Revolution.

Louis XVI and His Family (20 January 1793)


Not shown in this or other scenes here is the fact that between the King’s two visits he ate a last meal. At this time he was denied, as was custom, a knife to avoid suicide. Louis was angered that his jailers thought he was so sinful as to take his own life.

Louis XVI distributes aid to the Poor


Here Louis XVI is portrayed as a benevolent king distributing alms to the poor, an appropriate action for the "Father of his people." However, his rich fur–clad outfit contrasts with the abject poverty of the common people, suggesting to those inclined to be critical that the King did not understand the true state of popular misery during some of the 1780s, preceding the French Revolution.... Read More »

Louis XVI, King of the French, born 23 August 1754.


Early in the Revolution, LaFayette was among the most visible and popular leaders, in part because of his participation in the American revolution and his relationship to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. Further, though noble, he had been sympathetic to the Third Estate. By entwining Louis and LaFayette, this image seeks to legitimize the commander’s authority, but also to give... Read More »

The Mona Lisa

Louvre Museum Official Website

The site promotes careful attention to the many angles of understanding for each piece: its material qualities, the artist’s background and motivation, larger artistic trends of the period, and the local and global historical context.
Thumbnail of women and children in mosque

Majalis al-‘ushshak: Gathering in a Mosque


This image from a 16th-century Persian manuscript illustrates the visit of a renowned teacher to a mosque. Such visits were much anticipated, and this image demonstrates the wide range of people who attended. Seating arrangements illustrate the social organization for the event. The guest of honor sat on the seat at the top of the minbar, or pulpit, while the older men sat in the first row.... Read More »

Malinche Sculpture


A sculpted figure by an internationally-recognized Native American activist, writer and visual artist. The materials chosen by Jimmie Durham create an image of Malinche that seems emptied of life and perhaps not fully human. He stresses the darker underside of Malinche’s history. Her face is half human, half snakeskin. Scrawny legs, made of polyester batting, cannot support the figure.... Read More »

Mameluke with a basket of flowers, 1641


Albert Eckhout was the first European painter in Brazil. Eckhout was an official painter, hired by Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, a prince of the House of Orange. These paintings tell us much about Brazil in the first half of the seventeenth century, and but also about the activities of the Dutch, and Dutch perceptions of the colony. The reason why they were there was to grow sugar – so it... Read More »

Thumbnail image of a stained glass window

Mapping Margery Kempe: A Guide to Late Medieval Material and Spiritual Life

This website is a collection of resources, particularly strong in visual content, that examines the social context in which Kempe produced her narrative.

Maqamat al-Hariri, Garden Scene by al-Wasiti


The image by 13th–century illustrator al-Wasiti (fl. 1237) is from the Maqamat (Assemblies), a collection of stories of a picaresque hero. In the upper half of the illustration, a boy in a short tunic and cap with tiraz embroidered bands, leads animals yoked to the saqiyya, a geared water-raising device that irrigated fields and gardens. The boy grasps the tail of the animal and carries a... Read More »