Trivium is a free art history platform. Dig in, and explore 40,000 years of creativity. Bust of Five-Headed Shiva, 950

The Child King

Meet Louis XV. He's ten years old in this portrait by Rosalba Carriera. Young Louis was the heir apparent of France, since the death of his father in 1715. But you can't have a ten-year-old running France.


Louis XV of France as DauphinRosalba Carriera, 1720 - 1721

During the Italian Renaissance it was rare for women to have access to artistic education — but by 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.

Italian RenaissanceSelf-portraits

Self-portraitSofonisba Anguissola, 1558

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.

Northern RenaissanceAdam and EvePrintmaking

Adam and EveAlbrecht Dürer, 1504

Ad Reinhardt wanted to create work “about which no questions can be asked” — images that represent only themselves. But we're pretty sure we can spot a cigarette in this untitled work, and pacman eating a mountain. Reinhardt's early work feels like an extension of cubism and the abstraction of early modernism. Later, his work would become severely minimal, less like looking for shapes in the clouds, and more like staring into a star-less night sky.

Early ModernismAbstract Art

UntitledAd Reinhardt, 1937

Piet Mondrian is famous for his rigorously geometric abstract paintings, but earlier in his career, like many of his fellow painters in the early 20th century, Mondrian painted landscapes. In 1911, Cubism was exploding in Paris, and Mondrian was vacationing in the Netherlands seaside town of Domburg, where his paintings of sand dunes and churches blended cubist shapes with fauvist color. 


Church Tower in ZeelandPiet Mondrian, 1911

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