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Image features drawing showing an ornamental frame surrounding a central blank oval. In the foreground, a putto holds a book and globe, and nearby lie an anchor, axe, baton and Sir Walter Raleigh's head. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Sharp Medicine
In the mid-eighteenth century, the British historian Thomas Birch (1705 – 1766) published a series of short biographies of famous figures from his nation’s past. Accompanying each of the 108 biographies was an engraved portrait of the subject, whose likeness was presented within an elaborate decorative setting.[1] These ornamental frames were designed by Hubert-François Bourguignon...
Image features a woven chair printed in white ink on a black background, while an abstracted shadow of white squares floats behind it. Each woven area illustrated slightly differently; the splat of the chair has a wider, lattice pattern, while the seat has a tightly woven cane.
Lattice Lithograph
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. In 1946, the twenty year old artist Ruth Asawa entered the renowned, experimental Black Mountain College, where she studied for three years under mentors such as Josef Albers, Merce Cunningham and Buckminster Fuller. Born in California to...
Hercules’ Second Labor
In this richly ornamented print from the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department, Giorgio Ghisi (Italian, 1520-1582) portrays Hercules’ success in completing his second labor in his print Hercules Victorious Over the Hydra of Lerna. This print was designed for a frontispiece for artist Giovanni Battista Bertani’s commentary, titled Gli oscuri e difficili passi dell’opera...
Headless Highlands Ghost
Beneath a foreboding sky streaked with lightning, a figure wanders through a cemetery.  Barefooted and dressed in a monk’s habit, he seems to be missing something.  Quite literally, it may be his head, whose snarling visage is directed out at the viewer from the crook of this gruesome monastic’s left elbow.  But who is this...
Rotherhithe
This print by James Abbott McNeill Whistler is part of a series of images the artist produced depicting the East London neighborhoods of Rotherhithe and Wapping in 1859–60. While English painters had traditionally avoided portraying these industrial districts of the city throughout the nineteenth century, Whistler’s Thames series takes for subject the city’s poorest workers...
Descent from the Cross
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) was a Baroque painter and printmaker best known for his self-portraits and illustrations of biblical scenes. He trained under two masters: Jacob van Swanenburgh (1571–1638), who specialized in cityscape paintings and scenes of hell and the underworld, and Pieter Lastman (1583–1633), who specialized in history paintings. Given his education with...
Details in a Doppelpokal
In 16th century Germany, the popularity of Doppelpokal, better known as double goblets or cups, and the taste for elegant, classicized forms are reflected in this small print by Hieronymus Hopfer (German, active ca. 1520-1530). As the ancestors of wine glasses, double cups, which fit over each other at the rim, were intended for ceremonial...
Masses of Material
“THE DIRT (OR EARTH) IS THERE NOT ONLY TO BE SEEN BUT TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT!” Walter de Maria stated in the press release for the first installation of his influential Earth Room at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich Gallery in Munich, Germany in 1968. The show, titled “Walter de Maria The Land Show: Pure Dirt...
A Miniature Playhouse
Imaginative author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his 1884 essay, A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured, “If you love art, folly, or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s…”[1] The toy theatre was a beloved pastime in 19th-century England that appealed to the creativity and craftsmanship of children and adults. Benjamin Pollock inherited his...