Summer 2013-Spring 2014: Egg Beater

Hungry?  In the mood for an omelet? Eighteenth-century cooks used small, circular, covered vessels like these examples–made by Wedgwood of creamware, a kind of low-fired earthenware ceramic–to beat an egg. A series of spikes, or prongs, pointed toward the center line the inner wall. A cook broke an egg into the main vessel, covered it, […]

August 2013: Dawn

L’Aurore (Dawn), William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1881 Dawn – early morning represented by a female figure reaching back to smell a blooming calla lily – exemplifies William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s standards of beauty and technical skill. His attention to detail and smooth finished surfaces produced human figures that are both lyrical and ideal. Bouguereau studied painting at the École […]

July 2013: Perfume Fountain

Perfume Fountain, French, about 1710 Porcelain, a ceramic material first made in China, was a staple of trade between Europe and East Asia. Though the present in Europe in the early 17th century, King Louis XIV of France’s affinity for porcelain made it an important facet of French décor. In the mid-17th century, a royal […]

June 2013: Portland Vase copy

Portland Vase Copy, Josiah Wedgwood, 1789 A Roman artist carved the Portland Vase from cameo glass around the 1st century AD. Unearthed in the late 16th or early 17th century, it came into the collection of Margaret Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland, in 1783. Since then, it has borne the name of her family’s seat; […]

May 2013: School of Beauty, School of Culture

School of Beauty, School of Culture, Kerry James Marshall, 2012 For many African American artists born during the Civil Rights Movement, turbulent events they witnessed or experienced growing up during that time affect their later work. Kerry James Marshall, who was born in Birmingham in 1955 and grew up in South Central Los Angeles, experienced […]

April 2013: Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain, Zapotec culture, Mexico, about AD 450 You can’t take it with you – or can you? The saying “you can’t take it with you” encourages people to enjoy life to the fullest since worldly goods and wealth remain behind after death. However, not all cultures agree with this […]

March 2013: Shiva and Parvati

Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara), Indian, about 1150 Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara) once adorned a temple in Halebid, India. This sculpture depicts the Hindu gods Shiva, his wife Parvati, and their two sons: the elephant-headed god Ganesha on their right, and the peacock god Karttikeya on their left. The Sanskrit term Uma-Mahesvara refers to images of […]

February 2013: Power Figure (Nkishi)

Power Figure (Nkishi), Songye People Every culture has idea about power and how to represent it. Some may define power as physical strength; others may conceive of it as the ability to change and influence people; still others may describe it as a spiritual quality. For the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, […]

January 2013: The Sorceress

L’envoûteuse (The Sorceress), Georges Merle The worldview of Europeans in the 19th century expanded far beyond their own borders. While Napoleon’s military campaigns exposed the French to Moorish culture in Spain and North Africa, the Industrial Revolution introduced the railroad, which made distant lands, cultures, and peoples more accessible. Artists interested in the Middle and […]

December 2012: Cradleboard

Cradleboard, Kiowa or Comanche people, about 1850-1870 The Kiowa and Comanche peoples once inhabited the plains and hills of central North America. Rather than establishing permanent settlements for farming, these nomads followed herds of buffalo, an animal that provided both food and raw materials for everyday objects. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the acquisition […]