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When you visit the Brooklyn Museum, you can use our app to ask us questions or chat about the artwork you see.

You’ll be connected with a team of art historians and educators who know our collection, can answer your questions, and can give you recommendations on what to see next. 

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Explore our permanent collection or a special exhibition on a guided group tour led by one of our friendly and experienced Museum Guides, or on your own with a self-guided group tour. These tours are for adult groups with at least 10 people, last about one hour, and can be tailored to meet the interests and needs of your group.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're renovating our second floor to bring you a better experience, which means the Libraries and Archives are closed to the public until fall 2017. If you're a researcher who would like to access our resources, send us an email and we'll do our best to assist you.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fifth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fourth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Third Floor

Also on the Third Floor: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Our Second Floor galleries are currently closed for renovations.

Also on the Second Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Parking
Parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays, there's a flat rate of $6 starting at 5 p.m. Park your bicycle in the rack behind the building, next to our sculpture garden.

Shopping
Our Shop offers an eclectic mix of gifts, jewelry, books, clothing, crafts, and foods from around Brooklyn and around the world. Shop hours

Dining
Have small plates, dinner, or drinks at The Norm restaurant and bar, led by Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton. Or stop by the BKM Café or Bowl. Planning a group tour? Consider a catered lunch for your group.

Rest Rooms
Rest rooms are on the first and third floors (floor plan), are wheelchair accessible, and have baby-changing tables. A family rest room is located just off the main lobby.

Coat Check
A free coat check is available on the first floor, where you can leave any packages, large bags, umbrellas, or strollers.

Wheelchairs
Complimentary wheelchairs are available at the coat check on the first floor. Our entrances and rest rooms are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our Accessibility page.

Strollers
You're welcome to use strollers throughout the building (although from time to time there are certain areas where we might need to restrict their use, on account of small spaces, especially fragile art, or other circumstances). If necessary, leave your stroller at the coat check.

Wireless Access
We offer free wireless access throughout our galleries and grounds. During your visit, we encourage you to switch to wifi (BrooklynMuseum) for faster download speeds. The wireless project was created by the Brooklyn Museum Technology Department, with help from NYCWireless.

Go Mobile
Need information on the go? Planning your next visit? Access www.brooklynmuseum.org from your mobile phone to view our mobile-friendly website.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're committed to making our galleries and facilities accessible to everyone.

  • We are fully wheelchair accessible. Check our online and printed floor plan for details.
  • If you need a wheelchair during your visit, they're available for free at the coat check in the lobby.
  • Companions of people with disabilities are admitted for free.
  • The parking lot behind the Museum is fully accessible. There's a free, 15-minute grace period for pickups and dropoffs.
  • If you need an assistive-listening device, they're available for free at our Admissions Desk, on the first floor.

We also offer a wide range of services for our visitors of all ages with special needs.

  • For those who have low or no vision, guided visits that include verbal descriptions can be scheduled for both adult and school groups, with advance notice. We also offer Sensory Tours, monthly public tours designed to accommodate and engage both sighted and non-sighted visitors. Verbal descriptions of collection highlights are available via Art Beyond Sight.
  • For those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, American Sign Language interpretation for both adult and school group tours can be arranged, with advance notice.
  • For those with intellectual disabilities or other special needs, we offer specially tailored guided gallery visits to adult and school groups.

We hope that you'll get in touch with us via email or at 718.501.6229 if you have questions about any of the above services, or if you'd like to make advance arrangements.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

No matter what your interest, there's a tour for you:

  • Join our Museum Guides for daily public tours (free with admission) focusing on a variety of themes, eras, and movements in art.
  • Book a group tour for ten or more adults.
  • Explore tours and programs for school groups, all designed to help students and teachers construct meaningful experiences with works of art.
ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the First Floor

Also on the First Floor

  • Admissions Desk
  • Museum Shop
  • Dining (The Norm restaurant and bar; BKM Café and Bowl)

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

By Subway

2/3 to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Transfer to 2/3 from 4/5 (at Nevins Street) and B, D, Q, N, R, and LIRR (at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center). See a subway map. Make sure to check with the MTA for any service changes, especially on the weekend.


By Bus

The closest bus stops are:

B41 and B69 at Grand Army Plaza

B45 at St. Johns Place and Washington Avenue

Check with the MTA for the most up-to-date bus information.


By Car

From Manhattan:

Brooklyn Bridge; left at Tillary Street; right on Flatbush Avenue for about 1.5 miles to Grand Army Plaza; about 2/3 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at the first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue). Or: Manhattan Bridge enters directly onto Flatbush Avenue.

From Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, or Connecticut:

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Triborough) to Brooklyn Queens Express (BQE); Manhattan Bridge exit to Tillary Street; left onto Flatbush Avenue and proceed according to the directions from Manhattan.

From Staten Island and southern or central New Jersey:

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Gowanus Expressway (Route 278 towards Manhattan); exit to 38th Street; left on Fourth Avenue for about 2 miles; right on Union Street; 5 blocks to Grand Army Plaza; go 1/2 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue).

From northern or north central New Jersey:

George Washington Bridge/Holland or Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan; follow directions from Manhattan.

From Long Island:

Grand Central Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway; exit at Bushwick Avenue; left at third traffic light to Eastern Parkway; about 3 miles to Washington Avenue. We're across intersection at left.


Parking

On-site parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays there's a flat rate of $5 beginning at 5 p.m.


Bikes

Park your bicycle at the racks behind the Museum, next to the Sculpture Garden. Bikes are parked at your own risk; we don't accept responsibility for vandalism or theft.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Traditionally in ancient Egyptian statuary, men are depicted with their left foot advanced and clenched fists at their side. The pose symbolizes movement or action and the reason for it being the left foot draws from hieroglyphs. The preferred direction of ancient Egyptian writing read from right to left. In this case the hieroglyphs usually faced right, i.e. showing people with their left foot advanced. 3-dimensional statues often imitate hieroglyphs.
Women, on the other hand, are usually seen with their feet together and their hands either at their sides or holding various objects. I encourage you to look for these stylistic distinctions as you explore the galleries!
Could you tell me a bit more about this piece here?
For one thing, this room is a parlor, decorated in the Rococo Revival, inspired by older styles of French furniture and decor. You'll see that nearly everything in the room is decorated with floral patterns or curving lines.
And this piano is definitely something that an upper-middle-class family like the Milligans would have had in their parlor, for their leisure time (something that was a new concept in American life!).
This kind of instrument was actually called an "upright harp-piano. They were popular in America around 1860, and they were often made in England or Germany.
You would play the keyboard and the keys would cause small leather-tipped hooks to pop up and play the strings! It makes sound like a regular piano would its just that rather than having a horizontal sounding board (usually located in the back of the piano) it was made vertical.
This mask did not have a description, and I was wondering what it might have been used for
That mask is meant to resemble the head of an elephant -- can you see how the round pieces suggest ears, and the long flap stands in for a trunk?
This mask would have been worn in a dance/masquerade. Elephants are symbols of political power in the Cameroon grasslands, where this piece was made.
One more note: the person who wore this would have also worn a complete costume including a long tunic and a headdress. Complete costumes are very rare -- even the masks are rare, so we're fortunate to have this one!
Looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
This also looks like a photo. Was this the intent in the way it's painted?
For a work like the first one you shared, the scene in Delhi, the artist was giving his American viewers an opportunity to "see" a place that was very distant and different from their own world, so the amount of detail would have pleased them.
Look at the tiles on that mosque, for example!  Weeks took many photographs during his travels to records architectural details and landscapes. He also wrote and illustrated a book on his travels, "From the Black Sea through Persia and India," published in 1896.
For both works, this degree of detail and fidelity to what the artist observed (always allowing for artistic likeness -- artists always choose what to show us!) demonstrated the artist's training and skill.
However, European and American art from just a decade or so later shows that priorities were shifting -- artists became less concerned with accurate representation of the world, and more interested in experimenting with color and form, or with showing their own inner visions.
What do these paintings represent?
These paintings both depict the American landscape. In 19th-century terms, Bierstadt's "Mount Rosalie" is an example of a "Great Picture," a large-scale painting intended for public exhibition. He would make many sketches on-site and then complete the actual painting later, in his studio. This scene of a dramatic Colorado landscape would provide Eastern audiences with the excitement of a view that they couldn't easily see in person. It also carries the message of "Manifest Destiny," the European-American movement to settle the entire North American continent (and the idea that this settlement was divinely granted to them). Also, since this was the era before movies and TV, going to see a painting like this one on exhibition was an important affordable form of entertainment for many Americans!
Durand was another important American landscape painter and one of the central figures in the movement that came to be known as the Hudson River School. He applied techniques of traditional European landscape painting to the American landscape -- like the trees that help to "frame" the image. He was known for his use of fine detail and soft lighting. This view is calmer (and closer to reality) than Bierstadt's, but also symbolic. Do you see the stone with "Graham" written on it? Durand was making a tribute to Augustus Graham, a wealthy manufacturer who became a philanthropist and social activist. Durand may have seen him as a "pioneer" of cultural and social causes. Graham was also a founder of the Brooklyn Museum!
May I please have more information on this painting?
Sure! The artist Robert Colescott was thinking about the triumph of the Cuban people over the imperialism and dominance of the United States. "Corona" is a pun: it means "crown" (like the victory wreath of pink flowers) but it is also a famous cigar from Havana that was prized by Anglo-Americans. (Do you see the hand holding a cigar, at the left?) Colescott himself was African-American and his art often took a satirical look at racial identity and social issues.
What was the artist's intention in creating this painting? What inspired them?
The artist Boris Anisfeld was inspired by the site itself: The view of the Black Sea from Aiou-Dagh Mountain in the Crimean Peninsula. This mountain was then a popular destination for Russian painters seeking to paint outdoors. Anisfeld challenged traditional ways of depicting a landscape. He shattered the illusion of depth by flattening the picture's different elements—the mountain’s edge, a warship, and sailboats punctuating the horizon appear as if they are on a single plane. If you look closely, you can just make out the warship.
I like this monochromatic color scheme painted by an African American artist in Paris.
Great eye. It's true that Tanner's work became more monochromatic throughout his career. He was heavily inspired by the artist James McNeill Whistler, who experimented with tonal harmonies in his painting.
And yes, I often wonder what it was like for Tanner to be a minority in such a predominantly white painting environment.
His use of blue is so incredible. As I look at it, I feel like it hovers between day and night, really creating the effect of twilight.
What's the story behind Jane Dickson's "Cops and Headlights V"?
The artist Jane Dickson lived in Times Square in the 1980s and many of her paintings depict the scenes which she saw out of her studio window. At the time, the crime rates were still very high in Manhattan, so she would have seen plenty of police activity nearby. She creates a feeling of suspense by giving us a dramatic viewpoint and a steep, narrow composition. Plus, we can't see the faces of the police and bystanders, and we're not sure exactly what is happening -- all of which creates a feeling of suspense. It's almost like a scene from a movie. Dickson has said, "I use paintings to deal with things I'm afraid of." 
Is this Kwakiutl?
In a way, yes. It is actually Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakiutl is an outdated term that no tribes use anymore.
This piece was collected from a Kwakwaka'wakw community in Knight's Inlet, British Columbia, Canada on a museum expedition by museum curator Stewart Culin in 1908 working with Charles Newcombe from the Vancouver Curio Shop. At that time, the group was labeled as Kwakiutl, but this was a misunderstanding and an attempt by early white settlers and anthropologists to transcribe the name of one tribe, the kwagu'l from Fort Rupert. "Kwakiutl," a garbled name for one subgroup of Kwakwaka'wakw people, became embedded in the anthropological literature through its use by noted anthropologist Franz Boas. Kwakwaka'wakw actually means "Kwak'wala speakers."
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.