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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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.

Did the artist get in trouble for his paintings? They're very moving.
Yes, Vasily Vereshchagin's depictions of the negative, rather than the heroic, aspects of war found him in opposition to the Russian state for most of his life. This painting and the one next to it were both painted from his personal observations of a horrific event  during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). After the Russian army sacked the city of Plevna in northern Bulgaria, they marched thousands of Turkish soldiers to Russian prisoner-of-war camps on the Danube River in the dead of winter. Thousands died. The paintings were so displeasing to the Russian military and those closely tied to the monarchy that the Grand Prince refused to see them when they were exhibited in Moscow in 1879. Consequently,later that year when the Grand Prince was in Paris, Vereshchagin refused to see him or let him see his paintings. After this, Grand Duke Vladimir, the President of the Academy of Arts, began to severely criticize Vereshchagin for his "impossible subjects." Vereshchagin's works were censored in Russia and he had a difficult time selling them in Europe. By the turn of the century, he was famous for his "war against war" and his work was cited and debated by peace activists and politicians. In 1901, he was nominated for the first Nobel Peace Prize.
Very cool. What does the cuneiform writing across this work say?
The translated text speaks about the power of King, here is a translation of part of the text: "I am Ashur-nasir-pal the obedient prince, the worshiper of the Great Gods, the fierce dragon, the conqueror of all cities and mountains to their full extent, the king of rulers who tames the dangerous enemies, the [one] crowned with glory, the [one] unafraid of battle, the relentless lion, who shakes resistance, the king of praise, the shepherd, protection of the world, the king whose command blots out mountains and seas..."
Why is this considered innovative?
If you look at details like the waterfall and the stream, you can see one of Tiffany's innovations in glassmaking. These included swirling together different colors of glass while they were still hot and liquid. It was almost like painting with glass.
I love the marbleized floorcloth in the dining room, it's a painted canvas meant to resemble fancy marble. This was popular in 18th century America and England and these cloths generally simulated marbles or elaborate stonework floors. They provided a practical, but beautiful, floor covering because they were easy to clean.
I wondered whether we know how Whistler reacted to Boldini's portrait. I read that Whistler was not pleased with Chase's wonderful portrait, now in the Met.
Whistler was not pleased with Boldini's 1897 portrait, either. Described variously as scintillating, witty, wiry, delicate, restless, a great artist, a dandy, a man running on reserves, Whistler was sharp-tongued and mercurial. Whistler disliked posing and said, "he hoped he did not look like that." In the words of Pennell (Pennell, 1908, II, p. 193), the portrait "is however, a wonderful presentment of him in his very worst mood, and ... he was in his worst mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler whom the world knew and feared." Edward Kennedy, Whistler's art dealer and friend, was in the studio for the last sitting and and related to Albert Gallatin (Gallatin, 1918, 18) that Whistler disliked the painting. Kennedy further noted that "he (Whistler) always wanted to be depicted as over six feet high and to look like a Major-General." (The above info is pulled from Sweet, Frederick, James McNeill Whistler, The Art Institute of Chicago Catalogue, 1968, 125-126).
Whistler, while handsome and somewhat of a dandy, was quite short (known as a pocket Apollo). For that matter as you noted he was equally displeased with William Merritt Chase's earlier portrait referring to it "as a great lampoon." (Olsen, Roberta, Ottocento: Romanticism and Revolution in 19th Century Painting, 1992, 215). Nonetheless, John Singer Sargent who recommended the portrait to Isabella Stewart Gardner, singled it out as “...a first rate Boldini and a wonderful picture of Whistler." But, she did not go so far as to buy it. (Olsen, 215)
Did people pray to this?
Yes. This small triptych was intended for personal devotion in a private chapel or a corner of the home (as opposed to communal devotion in a Church or during public ritual.) It would originally have stood on its base (rather than being hung on the wall). The fervor with which individual Christians practiced their faith often took a toll on the objects that aided their devotion. Owners might repeatedly kiss and caress them, wearing away details carved into the surface and obliterating the features of holy figures. In this triptych, some of the paint is abraded and damaged, specifically the robes of the Madonna and of the saint to her left and the image of the Redeemer above. A late-Medieval or early-Renaissance viewer would have imbued the images with spiritual power. The Christian symbolism, the frontal orientation and careful rendering of the holy subjects, and the precious materials were all intended to prompt spiritual meditation by making the object of devotion tangible.
Who is Princess Mayet?
Princess Mayet was the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom and a great conqueror. She died very young.
How come the bottom is round instead of flat?
These vessels would be placed in a ring or in the sand so the rounded bottom would actually make it easier for them to stand upright.
Was the artist gay? Did he receive backlash for its creation if he showed it in the 60s? Are they lovers in the picture?
Interesting questions, and yes, I can see how you would read that into the painting. "The Sculptor" is actually by an artist who did not identify as gay (he was married for many years to a woman)...but there is an ambiguity here because this is a quasi-self portrait (the artist is painting himself as a sculptor) and the model in the painting was a friend of Koch and his wife (he was a piano student of Koch's wife).
Also my dad thought there might be a joke with the artist holding the measuring tool, perhaps measuring the model's penis.
Yes, many people notice that. The painting is very playful and referential. There is also a play between the sculpture in the background and the lighting of the cigarette. The sculpture in the background is Prometheus and there's some humor here in the Prometheus reference, in the fact that the male model in this painting is giving fire to the painter for his cigarette like Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myth.
Interestingly, the painter didn't receive backlash during that time for the content, but rather for his almost photo-realistic style. (He painted this work during the rise in popularity of Modernism, abstraction, etc.)
Why is his hand outside of the frame?
A fictitious painted frame is effective means to heighten the illusionistic effect of a picture—especially when part of the subject extends beyond the painted frame, seemingly into the viewer's space outside the canvas. This is the case in Hals' portrait: the young man extends his left hand through the simulated oval frame and into the viewer's space.
Trompe-l'oeil  (meaning "to fool the eye") frames, windows, and parapets (low protective walls) have a long history in Western art. The device was first used by ancient Roman sculptors and was taken up by Renaissance portraitists in the 15th century. It is similar to the Baroque pictorial convention of co-extensive space used by Hals' Italian contemporary Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's religious paintings, foreshortened figures serve as the bridge between the religious space of the composition and the real world beyond the picture frame, thus inviting the viewer to participate in the message of the Church. This was a direct response to the preceding elegant but artificial style of Mannerism, which privileged style over content and was not intended to connect with the viewer. Instead of a foreshortened figure, Hals has extended his sitter's hand beyond the frame to invite us into the portrait.
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.