Joanna Hiffernan and James Whistler: The Model and the Artist

Margaret F. MacDonald— In 1861 Whistler wrote to his closest friend, Henri Fantin-Latour, about his work on Wapping (pictured above), and described the model, Joanna Hiffernan: “a girl who is jolly difficult to paint! … I have painted her three times and I do not want to get tired … …  I

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Medieval Artists Painted Such Things? Images that Surprise and Delight in Illuminated World Chronicles

Nina Rowe— In the century between roughly 1330 and 1430, books known today as illuminated World Chronicles were in vogue among the upper ranks in the cities of Bavaria and Austria. Created before the era when print became widespread in Europe, these manuscript volumes were richly illustrated with hand-painted images,

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From Dante to Disney

José María Pérez Fernández and Edward Wilson-Lee— A few days ago, a subsecretary in the newly-installed Italian government led by Mario Draghi tweeted out to followers an inspiring message which showed the continuing relevance of the great poet Dante to our present day: “Chi si ferma è perduto, mille anni

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Ep. 81 – Alice Neel’s Deep Humanism

In a fascinating conversation that ranges from Alice Neel’s politics to her painting practice, we talk with Kelly Baum and Randall Griffey, the co-curators of the current exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and co-editors of the related catalogue, Alice Neel: People Come First. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher

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Swing Landscape: A Conversation on 1930s Abstract Mural Paintings

Last year Yale University Press was pleased to publish two illuminating studies of 1930s public murals: Swing Landscape: Stuart Davis and the Modernist Mural (selected as Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue of 2020 by the Midwest Art History Society) and Modernism for the Masses: Painters, Politics, and Public Murals in 1930s New York.

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How the Russian State Sustained an “Empire of Difference”

Janet M. Hartley— In the late thirteenth century, Muscovy was a small, landlocked principality and a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. By the late the sixteenth century, however, it had experienced an extraordinary expansion of territory under the control of Ivan IV, who styled himself no longer grand prince

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Why the Past Four Years Might End Up Doing Us More Good than We Think

Zizi Papacharissi— The list is staggering: a president who tweeted incessantly and in polarizing ways; a pandemic the might of which we had not seen for 100 years; civil rights violations unacceptable in a country purporting to be a global democratic leader exposed from a veneer of political correctness by

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A Conversation with Marilyn Booth

This month, Yale University Press published Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat, a chilling novel that weaves together a series of devastating confessions about life in contemporary Arab society.  Set in an unnamed, war-torn country, the novel consists of six letters—all intercepted by unintended recipients, all of whom are compelled

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A Poem for Spring

Spring officially arrived this past weekend, bringing with it the reminder that roughly one year has passed since the United States first entered lockdown. Maya C. Popa’s poem, “Spring,” recalls that initial period when time and season seemed to “persist” without us. It suggests the grief and isolation felt amidst

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