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Articles on Art history

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Jeffrey Smart, Margaret Olley in the Louvre Museum. 1994–95 Tuscany, Italy. Oil on canvas 67 x 110 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Bequest of Ian Whalland 1997. 85.1997

On the elegance and wry observations of Jeffrey Smart, one of Australia’s favourite painters

Jeffrey Smart is admired for his carefully structured paintings of Tuscany and Rome. This National Gallery of Australia’s centenary celebration of his birth takes the viewer back to Adelaide.
Henri Matisse, Still life with green marble table (Nature morte à la table de marbre vert) 1941. Oil on canvas, 46 x 38.5 cm. Centre Pompidou, Paris, MNAM-CCI, purchased 1945 AM 2591 P. © Succession H Matisse/Copyright Agency 2021. Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI / Philippe Migeat / Dist RMN-GP

Henri Matisse was an artist of colour and sensuous line; an unerring eye until the end

Matisse: Life & Spirit is a celebration of the creativity of the master of colour.
Art historians have long used traditional X-rays, X-ray fluorescence or infrared imaging to better understand artists’ techniques. Metropolitan Museum of Art/Wikimedia Commons

How AI is hijacking art history

Breathless headlines of artificial intelligence discovering or restoring lost works of art ignore the fact that these machines rarely, if ever, reveal one secret or solve a single mystery.
Dušan Marek, born Bítouchov, Czechoslovakia 1926, died Adelaide 1993. Analysis of Substance, 1952, Kings Cross, Sydney. Oil on canvas, 36.5 x 88.2 cm. Purchased with the assistance of James Agapitos OAM and Ray Wilson OAM 2007, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Surrealists at Sea: Dušan and Voitre Marek finally receive their place in the pantheon of Australian surrealism

Australian surrealism has long been understood as if it was imported from Paris. This new exhibition places two Czech-Australian émigrés at the heart of the movement.
Winner: Archibald Prize 1972: Clifton Pugh. ‘The Hon EG Whitlam’ 1972. Oil on composition board, 113.5 x 141.5 cm. © Estate of Clifton Pugh

‘I think Archie would be pleased’: 100 years of our most famous portrait prize and my almost 50 years watching it evolve

It’s 100 years since the Art Gallery of NSW first held the Archibald Prize. Though loathed by some critics, it is an annual snapshot of the kind of society we are, and who our heroes might be.
After an Indian politician recently tried to shame a woman for wearing ripped jeans, women’s responses were swift and sharp. (Twitter/@prag65043538, @sherryshroff, @ruchikokcha)

How women in India reclaimed the protest power of ripped jeans

After an Indian politician disparaged a woman for her lack of morals because she was wearing ripped jeans, an online protest erupted, reviving the original protest-culture of the ripped jean.
The iconography of the Pestsäule in Vienna indicates that the plague the city suffered was viewed as punishment for sin. Noppasin Wongchum / iStock via Getty images

Will there be a monument to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Although memorials to past pandemics are not as prolific as war memorials, they do exist. A scholar of visual culture provides a brief history of monuments around the world.
A bird house on an exterior wall of the Yeni Valide mosque in Istanbul. Christiane Gruber / Anurag Papolu

Video: A place for people to pray and birds to sing

The mosque is where men and women and children go to pray. But, according to art historian Christiane Gruber, some make room for other, non-human creatures too.

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