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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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.

Hi there, thank you for using our app. I see that you are looking at the "Christ Child with Passion Symbols." What do you think about it?
It's very striking in a way that it stands out from the other works on this wall. I can't say why. In painting religious icons, did artists generally use the faces of their models or were they more inclined to base faces on previously established works?
Great question! Artists would often paint the faces based on previously established works. If you look at the Christ Child's face you will notice the blush cheeks, fair skin, and pink lips. These were common characteristics used for painting christ as an infant/child.
The orb that he is holding is something that is not common in paintings of the christ child. It is identified as an "imperial orb." Such balls are often a symbol of the cosmos, or of the universe as a harmonious whole (this is derived from the ancient Romans, who associated it with Jupiter and, hence, with the emperor as his earthly representative). Christians adapted the symbol by setting a cross above the ball to signify the world dominated by Christianity. In many of these paintings of Christ or depictions of the infant Jesus, the orb is said to represent "worldly sovereignty" or "one nation under God." So Christ holding a ball is a way of symbolizing "Christ the King." Rulers or kings are also sometimes depicted with such orbs (the first to hold it in hand at his coronation was the Holy Roman emperor Henry II in 1014. The “imperial apple” became an important emblem of the royal power invested in the monarch).
I didn't think of this figure as a he! I found the figure to be more feminine than masculine.
For many centuries, art has shown male figures in ways that we now associate with femininity. Historically, paintings of youth (male and female) are often presented with round faces, long eyelashes, and blushed cheeks. It is a technique to show the age before maturity.
If you look at the portrait of a "Boy with a Floral Garland in His Hair" in the Ancient Egyptian galleries you will see the rounded face and other "feminine" characteristics. Visitors often mistake him for a girl!
Can you tell me about how this was painted?
The museum conservators did a technical examination of this painting, and found that Hassam first covered the canvas in a layer of pale purplish paint, before adding the details of the trees and carriages and subsequent layers of blues and greens. I think this is one of the reasons he captures the chill and gauzy feeling of an early evening in winter so beautifully.
What is this?
Depictions of Europeans by African artists come up throughout this gallery. Here we have a Yoruba depiction of a French soldier and at the entrance of this gallery you'll see another Yoruba beaded crown which mimics the wig of a British barrister.
How were these ear ornaments kept from falling out?
The posts would be inserted through the earlobes, much in the way that people still wear plugs in their ears today. The wide front would rest against the ear and the rods in the back would likely tip back slightly from the weight. Usually these types of ear ornaments would be/are enlarged gradually, so the opening in the earlobe stretches to accommodate the width.
Are the windows in he Cupola House original? The glass has that watery effect you often see on older windows.
We only have the original woodwork to the house, we do not have the windows, the exterior or the staircase, interestingly. In this case, the glass in the window is not original, it was fabricated by the Museum. The original staircase was left in the home and the Brooklyn Museum hired Frank E. Muth, a contractor from Edenton, to recreate the staircase. During the 1960s renovations of the home in Edenton, it was discovered that the house likely had a curved staircase and the staircase there was re-created but was not changed in the museum installation.
Ok, thanks so much for all of that information!
My pleasure!
What is this about?
That is the mummified body of Thothirdes. His coffin is shown in a nearby case. As you can see, the body is covered in many shrouds of linen, and would then have been placed in the wooden coffin. The process of mummifying the body was incredibly elaborate, and involved many religious and medicinal rituals. This was to ensure the protection of both the body and the soul of the person as they made the long and difficult journey through the afterlife.
How do we know this is a woman?
Great question! Representations of female figures with highly abstracted forms occur throughout most of the Predynastic Period. On statuettes of this period, the legs are usually not articulated and the faces are beaklike. However, features like the breasts on the left figure help identify the sex of the piece. The symbolism, function, and identity of the figure are not certain. However, similar female figures painted on Predynastic vessels appear to be goddesses, because they are always larger than the male "priests" shown with them. Perhaps represents a priestess or a goddess dancing or performing ritualized mourning at a funeral ritual.
The figure on the right is of a man. His form is more box shaped with bird type head. There is a bulge in between his legs which also indicates that it is a male.
I am trying to figure out what the thing is the bald guy is holding, do you know?
He's holding an instrument called a caliper that sculptors use in order to make accurate proportions.
Thank you.
The bald man is actually John Koch, the artist who painted this work, so this is partially a self-portrait. Koch also made sculptures. The sculpture painted in the background here was one that he had made. It's a scene from Greek mythology, with Hercules and Prometheus.
Is there a meaning behind having the sculpture in the back?
The sculpture alludes to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give to humans. This made Zeus very angry.
So the model = Prometheus and the artist = humans. Is there a specific reason why the sculpture captures the moment where Hercules is helping Prometheus? Or is it more up to interpretation of the viewer?
Yes exactly, there are many loops and inside references in this work. And that's a great question about choosing that moment, it's certainly a great opportunity for interpretation!
I also think there are possibly some homoerotic references happening in both the sculpture and the figures in the painting. I think the calipers themselves might have a cheeky, sexual overtone, considering the painter's point of view in this position. I'm also thinking about the masculine energy of Hercules coming to the aid of Prometheus. And it must have been a great challenge to Koch's skill to sculpt these two strong men in such an active moment.
Ah that makes sense, thank you! That was really helpful.
What is happening in this painting?
This young lady has wandered too far in the countryside, perhaps separated from her party of nature-seekers, and finds herself caught in a dark storm. Frightened and tearful, she seeks shelter from the battering winds under a sturdy oak tree. Féréol de Bonnemaison painted this picture just after the French Revolution, a time of great social upheaval, so it's thought to be symbolic of the national mood. The young girl is dressed in white, the traditional color of Innocence, and might therefore represent the innocent victims of the Revolution. She might also represent France itself since she wears the colors of Le Tricolore, the new republican flag: red (a ribbon in her hair), white (her Greek inspired dress), and blue (her flowing shawl).
What is this?
That sculpture was very famous in the United States in the mid-19th century. Powers worked in Florence and was very influenced by ancient Greek and Roman art, hence his use of white marble and his idealization of the human body. However, he was making reference to a more recent event: the Greek War of Independence against the Turks in the 1820s. This was a sympathetic treatment of the subject, at a time when it would have also been seen as a commentary on slavery in the United States. Make sure to walk around the sculpture --  it was meant to be viewed from every angle. The detailed carving of the fringed cloth is especially beautiful.
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.