Obelisk Art History
Themes in Art


Your kingship is good for the people. The people spend their days in abundance thanks to you.

A Praise Poem of Iddin-Dagan

1900 BCE

I’d like to find and lose the philosopher’s stone. Make love and never lose control. Remove a great number of living beings with impunity. Afterward resuscitate a very small number of the dead.


Man Ray, André Breton, 1937
Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto, Florine Stettheimer

Sad poems from a strange artist

Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto

Florine Stettheimer, 1949

Old poor poverty, fried rice with pickled sesame seeds

Fish Head

Lê Thị Lựu, 1967

In this city of the generous, all are chivalrous

From a Paris Window–High

Marsden Hartley, 1913

I would, to immerse my consciousness into your serenity

I Would to Love You

Milena Pavlović-Barili, 1940

Must toiling Man for ever meet disgrace, and eat his hard earn’d bread with heated face, and all his acts in dull Oblivion lay

On Labour, Creativity and Patriotism

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1809

Without doubt you can call him John Testicle, who sets himself to criticizing someone else who could be his master for a hundred years.

Poems in mockery of painter Giovanni Baglione

Caravaggio, 1603
Six Tuscan Poets, Giorgio Vasari

Six Tuscan Poets

Giorgio Vasari, 1544

And I made a rural pen, And I stained the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs — Every child may joy to hear.

Songs of Innocence

William Blake, 1789

And I who am changed through her, as the winged magician wishes, do not see or ask anything but virtue and beauty, whence I could perhaps discern your whole soul.

Sonnets for Laura Battiferri

Agnolo Bronzino, 1560

I travelled through a land of men, A land of men and women too, And heard and saw such dreadful things, As cold earth wanderers never knew.

The Mental Traveler

William Blake, 1803
The Oldest Love Poem, Mesopotamia

The Oldest Love Poem

800 BCE
The Poet Dainagon Sees an Apparition, Utagawa Kuniyoshi

The Poet Dainagon Sees an Apparition

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1860

Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight The Stars before him from the Field of Night,

The Rubaiyat

Omar Khayyam, 1120

More than annoyed, sad. More than sad, unhappy. More than unhappy, suffering.

The Sedative

Marie Laurencin, 1917
More Themes in Art
Boats, Themes in Art


Autobiographies, Themes in Art


Hear it from the source

Art Theory, Themes in Art

Art Theory

Artists unpack the nature of art

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