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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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
ASK App ASK Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
ASK App ASK Team

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

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Here's what people are asking.

Is this the original frame?
Thanks for your question. It is indeed the original frame, designed by O'Keeffe.
This is a really evocative piece. O'Keeffe would collect bones, rocks and other findings from her walks in New Mexico for these paintings. She was also very adamant about not explaining her work to other people and she didn't like to discuss what different things symbolized in her art. So, you're free to make your own interpretations. If you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please do!
Are these sculptures of the same person?
I see you're looking at Metjetji, all of these sculptures were made to represent different points in his life, the statue with the long white kilt shows the fashion of a senior official, and his torso shows the signs of aging as well.
Ahhhhh ok. Thank you
Egyptian art is extremely stylized, and the way that people were depicted wasn't to show what they actually looked like, but to give a sense of their position and role in society. As you can see, all three figures have the same exact pose, standing men were often shown this way throughout Ancient Egypt, with their left foot forward. This changed drastically in the later dynasties when Egypt was under Roman rule. Then, portraits attempted extremely accurate depictions of their subjects, in the middle gallery next to the one you're in (with the ceiling mural) you'll see several of these really striking Roman portraits.
Do you know what kind of flower the woman is holding, and if it has some symbolism?
Hello! Thank you for trying the ASK app today. That is a very interesting question re: the flower. I think you are the first person to ask. One moment while we look through our curatorial notes and see if we can find an answer for you. Feel free to walk around that room while we research!
Great, thanks again.
Thank you for waiting! We cannot find anything in our notes about this particular flower (i.e., what type of flower it is and if that particular flower had symbolism due to the type/color/etc.). However, we do have a few sources that discuss women in colonial portraiture holding flowers as a symbol of everything from fertility (i.e., she is a young woman of marriageable age at this point) to the fleeting nature of life and age (i.e., she is in the prime of her life, but like a flower, will eventually wither), to hobby interests (i.e., the woman being painted may have been an avid gardener!).
Apologies for such a very broad answer, but thank you for giving us a new question to research!
No, it's great! Thanks
I don't see the wall card for this painting, but it reminds me of portraits by John Singleton Copley. What is the time period in relation to Copley? Is there some connection, or is it a coincidence?
I could definitely see how this would remind you of Copley. William Williams was painting at the same time as Copley, and they were working for the same kinds of clients in the same geographical region (affluent English colonists and their descendants).
Also, colonial Americans would have wanted their portraits to look like British portraits, so there were overall similarities in style and content between different artists' work at the time.
I see.
This portrait is also full of symbolism. You may have read this on the wall panel text already: "William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an 'open robe,' not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status."
I didn't see that. Thanks!
You're welcome! Colonial portraits of young people with pet squirrels symbolized diligence and patience, since the owners had to carefully train the squirrels and they learned responsibility in the process. In fact, Copley made several portraits of young boys with squirrels on leashes. There's one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You are giving us so much material to research; thank you for your observations.
Why is this photo so long and narrow?
That painting does seem to be an unusual shape! It's actually a study for a much larger finished painting.
The finished painting is a mural -- 26 feet long! -- designed to hang on a long wall in a building at Texas Southern University, a historically black university in Houston, Texas.
Now it's on view in a museum on the TSU campus.
Awesome!
I love the way this work shows the cycles of life -- for so many different living creatures. It's even divided into the four seasons, to show the yearly cycles of nature. Look closely for some interesting details!
I see indicators of that
He finished this painting after visiting West Africa, so he was influenced by West African folklore and storytelling. That was a very different approach for American art at the time -- looking back to African roots and culture.
He also used inspiration from Western art history -- do you see the two large figures touching fingers? He may have borrowed that idea from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling (The Creation of Man).
yes! very cool
I like to peek into all the little hollows and burrows he painted in that earth -- to see the various creatures in different stages of being. I see something different every time.
Why does the Dona Maria have moles on her face? Is that a mistake?
She is wearing several fake beauty marks because it was considered exceptionally stylish and beautiful at the time!
They were made from velvet fabric and they were applied to the face with adhesive. Similar to temporary tattoos, in a way!
This is awesome!
What is this about?
That's a really mysterious-looking work, isn't it? Aaron Gilbert's wife modeled for the figure of the woman.
Gilbert's art often depicts moments of emotional and psychological tension between individuals. He has said that this painting was inspired by the birth of their son, and by the fear that comes with the new role of being a parent.
Sometimes people tell us that they think the baby looks like an alien from outer space! I guess we're all like aliens when we're born, though -- arriving in a new world.      
What is Serapis?
Serapis was a combination of Egyptian and Greek deities. This work was made at a time of Greek rule in Egypt, and it combined aspects of Egyptian gods with Greek gods in order to unify the local Greeks and Egyptians.
This particular Serapis is interesting because its two heads seem to suggest a male/female duality. The horns point to Zeus/Amun (an Egyptian creator or sun deity on one side), and Hera (a Greek queen of the gods) on the other.
Can you tell me more about this?
The artist, Lewis Simon (also known as Louis Simon) was born in Russia and immigrated to New York City. He was an avid motorcyclist and he opened a shop to sell and repair motorcycles on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn in 1912. He made several man-on-bike signs like this one. The pedals and wheel would actually move by a motor and the boy's eyes would have lit up.
Hi, I'm writing a paper on Teti's coffin and I need some help. Could you tell me what some of the symbols mean?
There is so much to see on it--do you see those two big black dogs on the top? Those are representations of the god Anubis, Anubis was the guardian of mummies and he was responsible for escorting souls to the netherworld.
This looks like an eagle, what does it represent?
That is actually a falcon and falcons represent the god Horus. Horus symbolizes order over chaos.
Thanks! What is this eye for?
You will see that eye on many of the coffins--it's called a wedjat-eye or the eye of Horus. These eyes were painted on coffins because it was believed they would allow the deceased to see and participate in funerary rituals. They were painted so that when the person was buried they would always face east toward the rising sun.
Wow. What is this bird for?
That bird represents the goddess Nekhbet and she spreads her wings across the chest of the deceased to protect the mummy.
Is this Anubis too?
Anubis as the jackal on top of an image of a sarcophagus shows him protecting the body during its journey in the afterlife.
Are there any other coffins like this at Brooklyn that I could look at?
There is a whole mummy chamber in the back of the galleries and on your way there the Coffin of Nespanetjerenpere is a good one to check out.
Do we know who painted Teti's coffin and why it is painted so detailed?
Coffins were very important and they were all created with great care--there were many images and prayers you would want on your coffin to ensure you made it safely to the afterlife. In fact, Teti spent one year's salary on his coffin.
One year's salary? Wow.
Yes--that alone shows you how important it was! I can't think of anything I would spend one year's salary on.
Was anything buried with him?
I don't think we know exactly what Teti was buried with but Ancient Egyptians were usually buried with offerings for use by the deceased in the afterlife.
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.