Images: Edward Hopper

I had heard of Edward Hopper before, but it wasn’t until a summer or two after high school, when I was working the overnight shift at a gas station, that I was hooked. I saw his painting “Gas” and was shown how even my lonely hours at BP could become the subject of art. He…

Images: Gustave Courbet

Take a look through some of the best paintings of Gustave Courbet (1819-1877). Is the general claim true, that in his landscapes, portraits and self-portraits, that what we call modern art, began here? Click on each image to enlarge, or watch the video below.

Images: Caspar David Friedrich

Three weeks ago I’d barely heard of the painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). Awhile ago I had noted down that I might want to look at his paintings, and now they’re burned into my mind forever. Here are some of my favorites: you can watch the video below, or click on each image to enlarge:

Images: Jean-François Millet

Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) was a formative influence on artists as diverse as Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh (his famous sower was lifted from Millet). Looking at two dozen or so of his best paintings, I understood why. Click on any image to enlarge:

Picasso’s Blue Sympathies

Picasso’s Blue Period–or basically anything he did before Cubism–has always struck me as more powerful than anything he did later, which seems mostly theoretical playing. Not that I think somebody as vast as Picasso could stay in one phase forever (I’ve asked before what a genius is supposed to do when they’re almost too good.)…

Manet the Mystic

Manet’s 1862 painting The Old Musician is a great human riddle. Just what everybody is doing here, and why they’re gathered together, is a mystery. Yet it’s a puzzle more emotional than academic. Held in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., you can read their page about it here, or the Wiki page.

Caravaggio’s Dirty Feet

The affront that many of Caravaggio’s greatest paintings presented to their first audience must have been astonishing: casting a local girl as the Virgin Mary being visited by pilgrims, or the body of a prostitute as her corpse after death; filling almost the entire canvas of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus with the…

Images: Dürer’s Self-Portraits

From childhood through old age: Albrecht Dürer, “Self-Portrait” (1484) Albrecht Dürer, “Self-Portrait” (1493) Albrecht Dürer, “Self-Portrait” (1498) Albrecht Dürer, “Self-Portrait” (1500) Albrecht Dürer, “Self-Portrait” (1522)

A Gallery of Greeks & Romans

Here are a few dozen faces I always go back to, from the collection of Greek & Roman sculpture I was lucky enough to at the National Archaeology Museum in Athens, back in 2007: