Trapezium Altar

Beverly Pepper’s Trapezium Altar (1985-1986) stands in the Upper Plaza of the Museum like a shrine to an ancient god—or perhaps like a giant tuning fork, or even a rusty tool.

The Farmers

Joan Bankemper’s The Farmers is a feat of ceramic sculpture that tells a colorful story of nature and the healing power of the land.

The First Decade of Le Matin, temps brumeux, Pourville

Provenance is an artwork’s history of ownership from its creation to the present. More than a list of names, provenance reveals the intricate history of an object and how a work is understood at different times. New research on the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Le Matin, temps brumeux, Pourville (Foggy Morning at Pourville) by Claude […]


How do you depict a goddess so loved and revered that she is worshipped by Hindus, Jains, and even some Buddhist sects? Her image would have to transcend the ideals held by any one specific group to become an icon recognized by all. So who is this incredible goddess? She is Saraswati (pronounced sar-ahs-vah-tee), the […]

Ibeji Figure

This figure represents a person who was a twin, or ibeji. Nigeria has the highest rates of twinning in the world— around four times higher than the global average. Among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, twins are thought to bring blessings and hold special status in the community. They are honored both in life, and […]

The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan

Lucas van Leyden (born 1489 or 1494 – died 1533) is a celebrated figure within the history of printmaking. On loan currently to the BMA is his engraving entitled The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, dated to around 1510. It can be seen in the exhibition Embodying Faith: Imagining Jesus Through the Ages, […]

Kaikoo II

Sitting at the corner of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard and Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, artist Betty Gold’s massive red sculpture Kaikoo II has become a fixture of the Birmingham Museum of Art since its installation in 1986. After a crane lowered sections of the 4,000 pound steel work into place, the artist and her […]

Moonlight in Virginia

George Inness is something of an enigma in the history of American art. His contemporaries characterized him—unlike any other nineteenth-century American painter—as “both a poet and a philosopher…who spoke through the painter’s medium.” In addition to pursuing philosophical and spiritual ends in his painting, Inness managed to remain relevant in exhibitions and the art market […]

Wedgwood and the Royal Prussian Iron Foundries

In the 18th century, the Wedgwood world extended beyond English borders. The influence of the pottery established by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 reached continental Europe and affected not only the types of objects that European potteries produced, but also played a role in the development of other early industries. The Birmingham Museum of Art houses […]

An Original Maker: S.L. Jones

This image of two musicians was created by Shields Landon “S.L.” Jones, an artist from West Virginia. Jones, who was born in 1901, grew up in the rural Southern Appalachians where his family farmed. He left school in eighth grade to join the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, where he worked for 50 years.   Upon […]