Artwork in Focus
Handmade quilts were valued household items in 18th- and 19th-century America, providing both warmth and beauty. This quilt was not meant to keep anyone warm, however. It was made to display the talent of the women who sewed it and to be an admired gift, decorated with emblems of friendship and civic pride.”
Chinese Scholar's Study
All is quiet. A trickle of water flows in the garden outside the window. A breeze whispers through the window screen. An inky brush slaps softly against the paper as you write at the desk. At home in 18th century China, you might easily forget that a bustling town lies beyond the walls of this room.
Italian Half Armor
Can a man wearing steel plates be graceful and elegant? From the look of this armor, the answer is yes. Every inch of the upper body is shielded from harm. But the arms are still slender and the waist trim. Delicate designs summon a picture of high society, not the mud-spattered mess of a battlefield. Make no mistake though this armor was meant to keep the man inside alive in the heat of a fight.
Dance your eyes around this full circle of objects. Jump along zigzag lines and sail around curves. Skip from bright rows of beads and shells to the brown backs of giant seashells. Even laid out flat in the quiet of a museum, the twenty-three pendants hanging from this belt make a lively collection of patterns and materials.
Paul Revere Tea Service
Paul Revere is famous for his patriotic midnight ride, in 1775. But did you know that he was also an artist? It’s true! Paul Revere was a silversmith. He created beautiful and usable plates, bowls, teapots, spoons, and many other household items from silver. He is considered one of colonial America’s most important silversmiths.
Portrait of an Older Woman
Let your eyes wander over this sculpture. Folds of fabric cross the woman’s chest, drop off her shoulder, swing across her belly, fall to her ankles only to swoop back up towards her head. But the action stops there. Curls of hair cling tightly to her scalp in orderly rows. They frame a stern face, with firm jaw and tight lips.
What is going on in this picture? If we take a careful look at the figure’s body language and facial expressions, we might assume a confrontation is taking place. The young man on the left appears to be saying something. His gaze is focused on the older gentleman across from him. Further in the background, another young man seems to want to be part of the action.
View of Fort Snelling
Leaves are turning color and starting to fall. A flag hangs limp in the crisp air, high over the fort on the bluff. Smoke rises from tipis on the island mid-river. The drums of a group of Dakota dancers are the only sounds to break the quiet. It is a fine day for a soldier-artist from the fort to cross the river and paint the scene.
Virgin and Child in a Landscape
A woman sits outdoors, a child on her lap. Flowers bloom around them, and a tame peacock perches on the garden gate. The nearby buildings are typical of 15th-century Brabant, now a region of Belgium, where the artist lived. The mother smiles tenderly at her child as they turn the pages of a book. But is this an ordinary family in their garden?