Articles on Art history

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Watercolour painting of a Haida painted wooden mask. Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford 2014.89.1a

Here’s why you should care about the scrapping of A-level anthropology

With the refugee crisis, Brexit, and the rise of populist extremism, we must defend the teaching of anthropology. And in doing so, we might expand and rethink ideas of "the humanities".
Detail of Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with monkeys 1943. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art © 2016 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico DF

Here’s looking at Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait with monkeys

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo kept monkeys as pets and painted them often. They symbolised the children she couldn't have and were worshipped as gods of fertility in Aztec times.
Detail of ‘The Morteratsch Glacier, Upper Engadine Valley, Pontresina,’ by Albert Bierstadt, 1895. Wikiart

Using computers to better understand art

A new field of research aims to deepen, and even quantify, our understanding of artistic style. We use mathematical techniques to help discover novel insights, even in well-studied paintings.
Visitors look at the painting The Visit from 1939 by Paul Delvaux during the 2011 exhibition Surrealism in Paris. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Explainer: Surrealism

As the longest-running avant-garde movement of the 20th century, Surrealism's scope and richness is perhaps unparalleled in its influence of modern art and culture.
Long Island gallerist Glafira Rosales (left) sold fake paintings to Knoedler director Ann Freedman (right), who then turned them around for millions. Was Freedman aware that they were fakes?

The rise and fall of the Knoedler, New York’s most notorious art gallery

What, exactly, was going on at the Knoedler Gallery in the years leading up to a forgery indictment?
Han van Meegeren’s Vermeer forgery, Christ and the Adulteress. Amazon

The secret to all great art forgeries

The best forgers don't simply create convincing fakes; they go after the preconceived beliefs of the very people who judge a painting's value and authenticity.
Rembrandt’s famous painting – commonly known as The Night Watch – doesn’t even take place at night. 'Rembrandt' via www.shutterstock.com

How the painting got its name

The history of the picture title is really a history of the last 300 years.
White painter William Gilbert Gaul’s To the End (1907-1909) uses the loyal slave trope. Wikimedia Commons

Exploring how black and white artists depict race

Black Like Us? – a new exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art – looks at how blackness has been portrayed in American art through the years.
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), by James McNeill Whistler (1871). Wikimedia Commons

The extraordinary life of Whistler’s mother

The famous portrait, usually resident in France, is on a rare tour in the US. From looking at it, one might assume its subject had a tranquil, even monotonous, life. But one would be wrong.

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