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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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.

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Here's what people are asking.

Who were some of the artist's contemporaries?
Other Dutch artists of that period were Gerard Dou (whose tiny self-portrait hangs nearby), Rembrandt (who was older), and Vermeer, to name just three.
Are there other artists like him and Rembrandt that weren't, "afraid of the dark," so to speak?
Elsewhere in Europe! He overlaps slightly with Francisco de Zurburán (Spanish) and Georges de la Tour (French), both of whom were famous for their use of darkness and their candlelit scenes.
Ah cool, thanks!
Hi! What can you tell me about this fellow?
This is Don Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez Altamirano Velasco, who was a colonel in the Spanish Army. The shield by his right hand on the left side of the picture gives his titles and dates. Also, the gold key protruding from his coat pocket symbolizes his appointment as Gentleman of the Royal Chamber of His Majesty.
There is another painting, also on the 5th floor, that shows George Washington in a very similar pose. I encourage you to check it out! This was a popular pose for portraits of men painted in the 18th century.
We found the Washington, thank you!
This is powerful! Can you tell me more about it?
Of course, I love this mirror. This is a piece called, "Iago's Mirror" by Fred Wilson. It is is based on traditional 18th-century mirror designs and uses a material called "Murano glass" which is a type of glass that originated in Venice, on the island of Murano. Wilson was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmakers and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Most of the glass would be silvered however, Wilson has altered the tradition by painting the glass black instead of silvering it. Wilson's works often challenge persistent museum display techniques that are used to differentiate between the hierarchies of "art" and "artifact."
Awesome!! Thanks for that :)
You're welcome! We have another amazing Fred Wilson piece on the 4th floor in the new contemporary art exhibition. I recommend checking it out if you like his work.
Are those charcoal lines that are visible?
The drawing lines are definitely visible. I am not sure if Larry Rivers was using charcoal (it is not listed as a medium, so he may have been using a different type of pencil or pen), but his process is definitely very visible and a part of the work. The way in which the pigment soaks into the canvas is also interesting for its nod to other Modernist painters who were working during the 50s.
Do we know who the figures are? And how many there are!? It's so hard to tell.
There are 4 figures in the painting, and it's a family portrait of sorts. In 1956, Rivers was living in Southampton, Long Island, and the background of this scene suggests that location. The seating figure is actually doubled -- two portraits of the artist's mother-in-law, known as Berdie. The young man with the bicycle is most likely one of the artist's sons.
Where did the pigments on these vessels come from?
Nasca artists used mineral based pigments to produce slip paints in a variety of colors including black, white, purple, yellow, gray, brown, violet, pink, and various shades of red and orange. Minerals, particularly iron oxides along with kaolin and carbon, were ground into a fine powder and mixed with fine clay in varying ratios to produce different color densities.
That's really cool. I found a book in France about pigments, it's really interesting!
I find it so interesting how since the beginning of humanity (as far as we know) people have been finding ways to add color to their world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, and the funny thing is when there was a color used a lot in a century, it was not because of the fashion but because of the price of pigment or because of religion, like how the Catholics used to think that colors were created by God and nobody should mix colors to create new ones.
You're so right about color! I also think it's funny how vibrant blue throughout cultures and time is always a unique or rare or sought after color. In Renaissance and Medieval religious paintings, you had to pay extra to have more blue on the Virgin's clothing, for example, because lapis lazuli (the material used for blue) was rare and expensive and had to be imported. Also, in ancient Egypt there are many beautiful objects created out of 'faience,' a brilliant blue material.
I think it's because blue doesn't exist in the nature, I mean that you can't find it in plants.
Great point, it's much easier to get reds, browns, oranges, greens (literally, earth tones) from the earth! On the third floor of the Museum we have Renaissance paintings and our Egyptian collection where you can see examples of those blues.
Cool! I'll go check it out, thanks.
Why is baby Jesus holding a bird?
And this baby Jesus is holding a bird as well!
In Renaissance religious painting, the small bird often shown in baby Jesus' hand is the European goldfinch. At that time, it was a popular pet for children because of its beautiful plumage, which included red feathers around its beak. According to James Hall in Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, “The reason for its association with the Christ Child was the legend that it acquired its red spot at the moment when it flew down over the head of Christ on the road to Calvary and, as it drew a thorn from his brow, was splashed with a drop of the Savior’s blood.” The goldfinch can symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death... Following the plagues of the 14th century, it also took on a another meaning as a symbol of healing and redemption.
Apparently, an ornithologist named Herbert Friedmann (1946) made a scholarly study of this phenomenon in which he traced no fewer than 486 devotional pictures containing the goldfinch!
How much did Hancock pay Peale for this portrait originally?
Great question! However, we don't have any record of the price paid available.
I wonder if famous painters then were paid a lot or a little. I believe they depended on patrons or commissions, like composers.
Artists were paid very well by wealthy and powerful individuals that commissioned them to paint portraits of themselves and family members.
Are these ears?
They are in fact jade ear effigies from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico. The naturalistic carving of these effigies beautifully conveys the cartilaginous structure and texture of real ears. The holes in the lobes may have held attachments because if they were worn as pendants, the ears would have hung upside down. The function of these isolated, body parts is unknown, although they may have been used as funerary ornaments.
What did scarabs and hippos represent to ancient Egyptians?
This kind of beetle was highly symbolic to ancient Egyptians, it represented rebirth and renewal. They believed that the sun was pushed across the sky every day by a giant scarab, the god Khepri. In real life, the scarab beetle lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls the ball ahead of it wherever it goes. When the young beetles hatch they pop out through the dung which seemed like a miracle to the Egyptians!
As for hippos -- they were a common sight along the Nile river, for one thing. They are powerful animals and dangerous ones, they were hazards to boats and to humans.
Some sculptures of hippos are decorated with designs of plants that were common to the Nile region. Do you see any like this?
We did!
Was it a blue hippo?
Yeah! Is that color special for Egyptians?
Yes, incredibly special!
For the Egyptians the lighter shade of blue was almost interchangeable with green, the color of the sea, plants, vegetation, and thus health and life. Turquoise, a popular stone, mined primarily in the Sinai was closely linked to the goddess Hathor, the Lady of Turquoise.
The darker shade of blue was associated with the dark primordial waters out of which creation first appeared, as well as the night sky through which the sun-god travelled to be reborn every morning. The close links between dark blue and black also evoke the black mineral-rich soil of the Nile valley which was great for agriculture. All of the above hold the significance of creation and resurrection. In sculpture this color usually appears as lapis-lazuli, an imported stone often used to represent dark hair.
Was Rietveld's furniture expensive when it was first produced? What kinds of people had access to buy it?
It was definitely an avant-garde style, and a very utopian one. Architects and designers were seeking ways to renew society after the first World War. In other words, it wasn't a style to everyone's taste. It was highly non-traditional, with its use of primary colors and its simple, visible means of construction.
He made many pieces for himself and his close acquaintances, knowing that it would only have a small audience because it was so experimental.
That answers my question, thanks. I was interested in whether a general audience could access these items, or if they were more people in the movement.
Some of his colleagues were more interested in sharing their work with a wider market but Rietveld was very much in an inner circle by the 1920s and was experimenting within that group.
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.