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 […]

Painting on Stone

This painting shows the birth of Jesus as recounted in the Bible and is a wonderful, small work of art. Let’s focus first on the frame: the scene is surrounded by a painted metal frame with recesses for relics, objects believed to be a part of a holy person’s body or one of their belongings. […]

Durga

“Who runs the world? Girls!” Those wise and catchy words from Queen Bae confirm what most of us already know– women are mighty. We know girls are running the world, but who saves it in times of distress? The Hindu goddess Durga, that’s who! At least that is what we see depicted in this 14th […]

A Gift Between Friends

At the BMA, Joan Mitchell is best known for her large oil on canvas triptych, Bonjour Julie, but the smaller, more intimate painting currently hanging in the American galleries is also worth getting to know.