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1470s
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452 - 1519 ), Ginevra de' Benci, c. 1474/1478, oil on panel, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

Ginevra de’ Benci - 1474

Portrait Painting in Florence in the Later 1400s She was the daughter of a wealthy Florentine banker, and her portrait—the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas—was probably …

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Wreath of Laurel

Wreath of Laurel - 1474

Ginevra de’ Benci’s portrait is two-sided. This is the back, an emblematic portrait of Ginevra. A scroll bears her Latin motto, meaning “Beauty Adorns Virtue.” In the emblem’s center, a …

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1500s

The Mona Lisa - 1503

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most …

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1510s
Giovanni Bellini and Titian (Italian, c. 1430/1435 - 1516 ), The Feast of the Gods, 1514/1529, oil on canvas, Widener Collection

The Feast of the Gods - 1514

Giovanni Bellini and Titian’s The Feast of the Gods is one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in the United States by two fathers of Venetian art. In this illustration of …

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Venetian 16th Century, Orpheus, c. 1515, oil on panel transferred to canvas, Widener Collection

Orpheus - 1515

Artist: Venetian 16th Century Title: Orpheus Dated: c. 1515 Medium: oil on panel transferred to canvas Classification: Painting Dimensions: overall: 39.5 x 81 cm (15 9/16 x 31 7/8 in.) …

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Cariani (Italian, 1485/1490 - 1547 or after ), A Concert, c. 1518-1520, oil on canvas, Bequest of Lore Heinemann in memory of her husband, Dr. Rudolf J. Heinemann

A Concert - 1518

Reproduced on the cover of the standard monograph on Cariani, A Concert is widely regarded as the artist’s masterpiece. The painting first came to light in the 1960s, when it …

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1620s
Hendrick ter Brugghen (Dutch, 1588 - 1629 ), Bagpipe Player, 1624, oil on canvas, Paul Mellon Fund and Greg and Candy Fazakerley Fund

Bagpipe Player - 1624

Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588–1629), as no other Dutch artist, could capture the rhythms of music in the very way he composed his paintings. His musicians lean into their instruments, their …

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1630s
Judith Leyster (Dutch, 1609 - 1660 ), Self-Portrait, c. 1630, oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss

Judith Leyster - 1630

Judith Leyster’s Self–Portrait exudes pride and self–confidence, and it has become one of the National Gallery of Art’s most popular Dutch paintings. Leyster has depicted herself at her easel, briefly …

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The Repentant Magdalen

The Repentant Magdalen - 1635

According to the tenets of the 17th–century Catholic church, Mary Magdalen was an example of the repentant sinner and consequently a symbol of the Sacrament of Penance. According to legend, …

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IMG_4031

Light in the Darkness - 1638

In 17th-century Europe, many artists drained their paintings of bright colors, creating drama instead through strong contrasts of light and dark. This installation of six paintings in the European art …

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1650s
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri - 1655

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (February 8, 1591 – December 22, 1666), best known as Guercino or Il Guercino, was an Italian Baroque painter and draftsman from the region of Emilia, and …

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Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt van Rijn - 1659

Rembrandt van Rijn painted, drew, and etched so many self–portraits in his lifetime that changes in his appearance tempt us to gauge his mental state by comparing one image to …

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1660s
The Dancing Couple

The Dancing Couple - 1663

The mood and subject matter in Steen’s paintings range enormously, from intimate moments when a family says grace before a meal to festive celebrations of Twelfth Night. But to all …

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Woman Holding a Balance

Woman Holding a Balance - 1664

A woman dressed in a blue jacket with fur trim stands alone before a table in a corner of a room. She holds a balance in her right hand and …

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1700s
Nicolas de Largillierre

Nicolas de Largillierre - 1707

Largillière’s father, a merchant, took him to Antwerp at the age of three. As a boy, he spent nearly two years in London. Sometime after his return to Antwerp, a …

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1770s
Young Girl Reading

Young Girl Reading - 1770

Perhaps more than the work of his two teachers, Boucher and Chardin, Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s bravura handling of brushwork and color embodies 18th-century painting aesthetics. In A Young Girl Reading, the …

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Watson and the Shark

Watson and the Shark - 1778

Watson and the Shark’s exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1778 generated a sensation, partly because such a grisly subject was an absolute novelty. In 1749, 14–year–old Brook Watson had …

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1810s
The Emperor Napoleon

The Emperor Napoleon - 1812

Careful examination of the details embedded in this portrait reveals the key to David’s success as a painter during the time of Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Napoleon: the artist’s ability …

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1820s
Chester Harding

Chester Harding - 1825

Harding was born at Conway, Massachusetts. Brought up in the wilderness of New York state, he was a lad of robust physique, standing over 6 feet 3 inches. His family …

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View from Vaekero near Christiania

View from Vaekero near Christiania - 1827

In 1811 Johan Christian Dahl moved from his native Bergen to Copenhagen, where the twenty-three-year-old landscape painter studied in the Academy of Fine Arts. Dahl combined an interest in Dutch …

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1840s
Still Life with Fruit and Nuts

Still Life with Fruit and Nuts - 1848

African American artist Robert Seldon Duncanson (1821–1872) was widely recognized during his lifetime for pastoral landscapes of American, Canadian, and European scenery. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to focus on …

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1870s
The Railway

The Railway - 1873

The Gare Saint–Lazare, in 1873 the largest and busiest train station in Paris, is unseen in this painting. Advances in industrial technology and train travel, intrinsic to most contemporary depictions …

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Masked Ball at the Opera

Masked Ball at the Opera - 1873

Manet came from a well–to–do family, and this painting provides a glimpse of the sophisticated Parisian world he loved. He was uncomfortable in the countryside, preferring instead the finery of …

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Woman with a Parasol

Woman with a Parasol - 1875

With Manet’s assistance, Monet found lodging in suburban Argenteuil in late 1871, a move that initiated one of the most fertile phases of his career. Impressionism evolved in the late …

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A Girl with a Watering Can

A Girl with a Watering Can - 1876

In 1876, Renoir began to paint anecdotal depictions of women and children, subjects in which he excelled. A Girl with a Watering Can, typical of these works, displays a mature …

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1880s
The Old Violin

The Old Violin - 1886

The Old Violin is one of Harnett’s most famous paintings. The subject is deceptively simple; a violin, a sheet of music, a small newspaper clipping, and a blue envelope are …

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Breton Girls Dancing

Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven - 1888

Gauguin wrote to art dealer Theo van Gogh (brother of Vincent), “I am doing a gavotte bretonne: three little girls dancing in a hayfield… The painting seems original to me, …

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Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh - 1889

Although his career was brief, lasting a mere 10 years, Vincent van Gogh proved to be an exceptionally prolific and innovative artist. While he experimented with a variety of subjects—landscape, …

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