Home

Discover Artwork

Thomas Germain - Inkpot and desk clock 1752 silver 37 x 32 x 41cm

François Thomas Germain inherited his father’s position as silversmith to the King of France in 1748 — a time of rococo luxury for the wealthy and powerful. His whimsical designs in silver brought commissions from Russia and Portugal, but the attrition of the Seven Years War crippled the indulgent lifestyle of the monarchy. In 1765 Germain declared bankruptcy. 

Claude Monet - Impression Sunrise 1872 Impressionism 48x63cm

The accidential genesis of a movement. 

Today, Impressionism is one of the most well known and beloved movements in Western Art. But in 1872, when Claude Monet was painting a hazy interpretation of the seaport in his hometown of Le Havre in France, the birth of a movement was far from his mind. Monet was interested in light, and the reflections of light on the water made the port a perfect subject to study. In his words, Monet painted "during dawn, day, dusk, and dark and from varying viewpoints, some from the water itself and others from a hotel room looking down over the port." It was practice — an experiement.

William Blake - Pity 1795 etching watercolor 42.2x52.7cm MET

‘Pity, like a naked newborn babe, striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim horsed, upon the sightless couriers of the air, shall blow the horrid deed in every eye’ — These lines from scene 7, act 1 of Macbeth inspired William Blake to create one of his ‘frescos’ — a heavily worked form of monoprint where Blake began with a relief etching, then applied oil or tempera mixed with chalk, and finally finished by hand with  and pen. Blake illustrated many scenes by Shakespeare and Milton — creating a strangely cohesive world of ghostly figures and supernatural ritual.

J.M.W. Turner was a great admirer of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson — the unconventional tactition and brilliant leader of the British Navy at the close of the 18th century. In 1822, King George IV commissioned Turner to commemorate Lord Nelson's victory and tragic death at the Battle of Trafalgar — Turner's first and only royal commission. While Turner had painted the Battle of Trafalgar multiple times, he exhaustively researched his new work, studying Lord Nelson's ship, the "Victory" — requesting the ship's plan from the admirality and working with marine artist J. C. Schetky to capture accurate perspective. 

Playing cards has never been less fun.

During the Dutch golden age, paintings of card players were popularized by artists like Jan Miense Molenaer and Antoine and Louis Le Nain. Men and women lit by candle light, laughing and shouting and drinking and betting on a good hand. They were fun paintings, and 150 years later Paul Cézanne came along and bled all the fun out of the genre.

In renaissance Italy it was rare for women to have access to artistic education — but in 1558 Sofonisba Anguissola had already been apprenticed to two painters of the Lombard school, and traveled to Rome to meet and learn from Michelangelo. At the time of this self-portrait, she was just 26 years old, and her career was about to explode. This was the year she would meet the Duke of Alba, who would recommed her to King Philip II of Spain. 

Albrecht Dürer was obsessed with proportion and symbolism. In this engraving, Adam holds a mountain ash branch, the tree of life, while Eve holds a fig branch — the forbidden tree of knowledge.

The Rose Trellis Egg was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife, Alexandra Fedorovna commemorating the birth of their son — Alexei Nicholaievich. This was the first Imperial Easter egg that Peter Carl Fabergé made for the Tsar since the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. Each of Fabergé's Imperial eggs contained a surprise, to delight the tsarevich. This egg hid a diamond necklace and an ivory miniature portrait of Alexandra Fedorovna framed in diamonds — unfortunately, these items are now lost. Fabergé's invoice, dated April 21, 1907, listed the egg at 8,300 rubles, roughly a half a million US dollars today.

For a year and half, Rosa Bonheur dressed in mens clothes to avoid attention and wandered the Parisian horse market at the Boulevard de l’Hôpital. Her sketches informed The Horse Fair — a painting of such grand scale that Bonheur called it her “Parthenon frieze.” The Horse Fair was first shown in the Paris Salon in 1583, but Rosa reworked the painting for the next two years. 32 years later the painting would be aired by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

— 2000 BCE

Heavy Jade Cong 琮

Jade cong are among the most enimatic Neolithic artefacts. Buried with bodies in grave sites, and found in most of China's important archeological excavations, cong were extrordinary to difficult to create, since Jade cannot be split and had to be sanded to a smooth flat surface. This cong follows a common pattern, being hexagonal, with a round hollow core, with a slight taper from top to bottom. Each corner is inscribed with a stylized face.