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 […]

Winter 2012-Spring 2013: Asparagus Shells

These small, flat receptacles are called asparagus shells. During the 18th century in England, highly decorated ceramic asparagus shells graced the elegant dining tables of the wealthiest individuals, who used them to serve bundles of long asparagus spears. Usually about three inches long with low, vertical sides, asparagus shells were open at both ends and […]

November 2012: The Ascetic Sakyamuni

The Ascetic Sakyamuni, Chinese Buddhist practitioners strive for nirvana, or enlightenment, when they no longer yearn for earthly temptations or desires. For Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha and the religion’s most important teacher, this moment came after six years of extreme asceticism, or self-denial. Shortly before his enlightenment, the Buddha finally accepted a meager meal out […]

October 2012: Three for Five

Three for Five, John George Brown, 1890 Child labor was common in large urban areas in the second half of the 19th century. Parents often forced their children to work out of necessity to support the family. Street urchins interested John George Brown and other 19th-century artists. The boy in Brown’s Three for Five tries […]

Museum Acquires Four Videos by Young African-American Artists

The Museum recently acquired four new works of contemporary video art, gifts of Birmingham collectors Jack and Rebecca Drake. The videos were created by Kalup Linzy, Kambui Olujimi, Dave McKenzie and Jefferson Pinder, all African American artists born after 1970.

Limewood Sculpture Enters the Museum’s Collection

A rare and important work has entered the Museum’s collection. The Murder of King Edward the Martyr at Corfe Castle is one of just three sculptures known by the artist Robert Carpenter (1752-1829), who was born in London, but by 1798 had moved to Bath. The subject dates to 978, when King Edward’s jealous stepmother […]

A Giant Discovery of Miniature Proportions

In early February, Philadelphia miniatures expert and dealer Elle Shushan, a contributor to the catalogue for the popular exhibition The Look of Love, visited the BMA. Curator of American Art Graham Boettcher invited Shushan into collection storage to examine the Museum’s small and little-studied collection of American portrait miniatures. Opening the drawer of a storage cabinet, a portrait of a woman in early-19th-century attire caught Shushan’s eye.