An allegory of a flawed democracy by Plato, a fragment of a triptych by Bosch, then two paintings in 1922 and 1930. What is its meaning?
A visual history tracing wings back to their origins in messengers of the gods and messenger-gods of the dawn of civilisation, 4 millennia ago.
Rediscovering our iconology and visual tradition, starting with a Ship of Fools, Death and the Maiden, Truth coming out of her well, and the wings on angels.
Grisaille – grey underpainting used to set the tone for a finished work – is like underwear, waiting for richly coloured clothes to go on top. Not in these paintings, though.
From sacred symbols in a mosaic of Theodora and the Adoration of the Lamb, to roadside watering holes, and the town’s fresh water supply.
What do paintings look like to someone with deuteranopia? Why do great paintings ‘draw’ the eye? Do we see the colours the artist intended? And how many words for blue are in Ukrainian?
Everyman’s journey through life, starting as a fallen human, moving with the haywain through sinful ways, and ending in Hell and eternal torment.
Physiognomy originated in ancient Greece, but was codified by Lavater in 1772; phrenology followed from 1796, and together they attracted many painters.
Once the mark of rural poverty, thatched roofs were common throughout the countryside of Europe. Here are some up to the 1890s.
One of the world’s most famous paintings, a conversation piece for his noble friends, was commissioned by a Count with strange voyeuristic tastes.