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Spanning four decades, Rembrandt's inventive self-portraits record his uncompromising study of a face more remarkable for character than beauty. When he completed this painting, Rembrandt was the young master of a modest workshop in his hometown of Leiden. His move to Amsterdam and rise to international fame still lay in the future, yet his skill and originality are already apparent in this small panel. Varied brushstrokes define volume and texture; Rembrandt conveyed the strands of hair by scratching into the wet paint. At the upper right, changes just visible beneath the paint surface reveal how Rembrandt worked to perfect the shape of the beret. His silk scarf and iron gorget, a military accessory, are exotic attributes that transform the artist into a figure of fantasy.

Samuel van Hoogstraten, who studied with Rembrandt in the 1640s and wrote a manual on painting in the 1670s, recommended that artists learn to depict expression by mugging in a mirror. In this likeness, Rembrandt may well have been doing just that. The shaded eyes, the parted lips, and the low, slightly angled vantage point invite a dynamic and somewhat unsettling interaction with the viewer. This painting and others were copied and emulated by Rembrandt's followers, turning the art of self-portrayal into a specialty valued by collectors as a display of both personality and technique.
Study your emotions in front of a mirror, where you can be both performer and beholder.
-Painter Samuel Van Hoogstraten, 1678

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Offering an alternative to the nonobjective, introspective paintings of the Abstract Expressionists,
surprised the public with the familiar, the obvious, and the populist. They lifted their images from newspapers, magazines, television, and movies, the media through which most Americans received their daily dose of the visual arts.

In <1962>, painted thirty-two identical "portraits" of , one for each available variety. These constituted his first one-man show. In 1967, when Warhol gave up painting and established a workshop called to produce prints, he turned again to Campbell's soup cans. Like the paintings, his twenty were identical in all ways except the varietal name.

Like many of his fellow Pop artists, Warhol was a former commercial artist who knew that every label derives its appeal from the bedrock principles of color and design. By divorcing a soup can from the clutter of the pantry, magnifying it, rendering it in the of a screen print, and isolating it against a pristine , Warhol elevated this tossable commodity into a commanding .

I knew Andy very well. The reason he painted soup cans is that he liked soup.
-Artist Robert Indiana, 2002

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Since the late 1970s, has been investigating what he calls our "unconscious visual library," producing images of that recall various social institutions-including churches, prisons, asylums, and boarding schools-that we may have visited or seen in photographic reproductions. To create his uncanny,
, Casebere carefully lights tabletop as a Hollywood director might light a movie set. After photographing his , Casebere enlarges the pictures to a monumental scale, suggesting a continuation of the viewer's space.

Printed on three large panels,  depicts a reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. At the end of the arched hallway are two symmetrically placed doorways separated by a vacant niche. To the left, stairs ascend through another doorway toward a light source. One of the doors hangs off its hinges, a signal of something awry, reinforced by the unexpected presence of rippling, silvery . The beautiful but scene raises questions that are left unanswered: What is this space? Why is it ? Where do the doorways lead? Casebere belongs to the first generation of

like Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons, who beginning in the late 1970s used photography to the existing world of representation in advertising, film, and architecture.
My experience of art was primarily through photographs, so it made sense to photograph the things that I made.
-James Casebere, 2000

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Majestic and luxurious, this is a prime example of . The style, which developed during the reign of Napoleon I, was one in a succession of late 18th- and 19th-century decorative approaches that revived the . Made by , a goldsmith to , the tureen is, in effect, a piece of Napoleonic that demonstrates France's passionate embrace of at that time. Over the course of Odiot's career, the distinguished artisan regularly supplied important objects not only to Napoleon and other European rulers and aristocrats, but to the French emperor's mother, known as Madame Mère.

The tureen and its mate, now in the collection of the , , each feature two supporting a massive central with . The surface of the silver vessel is , creating the impression that it is made of solid gold. The two tureens are the largest items in a <140-piece service> , a wealthy Polish nobleman. In <1819>, the year it was commissioned, the complete service was displayed at the Louvre in a prestigious exhibition of contemporary French artistry. The IMA's tureen is one of the few pieces from this celebrated service that is known to survive.

[There is] no crowned head in Europe, no prince, nor private person of wealth who is not eager to come and order his silver.
-Odiot catalogue, 1819

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Widely hailed as the most important sculptor of his generation, trained as a painter, but soon began building up his two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional reliefs. Moving into the realm of , he created , constructions inspired in part by the Cubist and Surrealist sculpture that Pablo Picasso and Julio González created in the early 1930s.

Around 1938, Smith started making silver castings, beginning with a group of small medallions. In 1954, the same year that he contributed work to the exhibitionSculpture in Silver from Islands in Time, Smith created -the first that he made for himself and displayed in his home. Smith titled the work after he completed it, perhaps alluding to the central form, which resembles an .

Born in Decatur, Indiana, Smith lived in the Midwest until he was twenty-one. In 1929, he started visiting Bolton Landing, New York, on the hills overlooking Lake George. He moved there permanently in 1940 and named his studio . Although best known for his large-scale steel sculptures, which are often described as drawings in space, Smith also produced paintings and drawings that demonstrate a close connection to his three-dimensional work. Seven of Smith's drawings are in the IMA collection.

[It is] a good sculpture and the only one I'll probably ever make with such delicacy.
-David Smith, 1957

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This panel depicts an episode from the story of , which was especially popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. As told by the 2nd-century Greek biographer Plutarch, Cleopatra sailed up the Cydnus River in a barge with a gilded stern and silver oars to meet Anthony. He invited her to supper, but she asked that he join her instead. He complied with her request and was dazzled.

The design of the central panel of this , one of a set of six in the collection of the IMA, is attributed to . The son of a Flemish artist-scholar who maintained an art academy in Haarlem, Karel II became a painter and then the official designer for the in . Van Mander probably sketched the cartoons, or preparatory drawings, for these tapestries in 1620, but they were not woven until after his death. Their elaborate,

, which create the illusion of a , show the influence of the Baroque painter and tapestry designer Peter Paul Rubens, suggesting they were perhaps designed in 1630. This influence, together with the central design by Van Mander, indicates that the set must have been woven between <1635 and 1650>. The tapestries were probably , who likely displayed them in a banquet hall.
[T]he last and crowning mischief that could befall him came in the love of Cleopatra.
-Plutarch, from "Anthony," Lives of the Noble Romans, about 100 CE

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Ribera's image of is one of a series of six of . Ribera's conception of Aristotle as an ordinary man wearing a scholar's and a , a "," is a type that enjoyed great popularity in the 17th century. The artist's direct, style and his dramatic , both of which derive from the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio, combine to create a powerful evocation of a philosopher deep in thought.

, born in the Valencian town of Játiva in 1591, spent his entire career in Italy, principally in Naples, which was then governed by Spanish viceroys. He frequently asserted his nationality, as he does in this painting, by adding the word "" to his signature. In 1618, the year Ribera received his first commission from the Spanish viceroy, the artist Ludovico Carracci wrote with admiration of the "young Spaniard working in the manner of Caravaggio." The bold of Ribera's work is enhanced by his achievement of a more tactile sense of physical presence, readily seen in the and creases of his philosopher's and .
Naked and poor thou goest, Philosophy.
-Poet Petrarch, 1304-1374

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This dramatic , which may appear to a western viewer’s eye, is actually a lifelike depiction designed to imitate the confident countenance and of an at her . The was carved of , over which fresh, damp was stretched taut. The pale skin tightened as it dried, then was secured with pegs, nails, or string. The crest has and metal inserts for eyes, and it is finished with painted hair, eyebrows, and circular markings at the temple. The shaved hair patterns and dark circles at the temples resemble the of . From a slight distance, the crest, with its real skin and gleaming eyes, gives an impression of that is unusual among .

As in other parts of Africa, men created and wore these for participating in , , or , or in a . Typical of crests and masks of , this piece would have been worn on top of the masker’s concealed head. Complemented by a flowing garment, the crest and its magnificently coiled, ramlike horns of hair would have emphasized the wearer’s stature. The object packs a striking visual punch, at once naturalistic and idealized.

In sharp detail, this mask renders an actual hairstyle of Efik girls.
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In the garden of the English poet , posed for Tennyson's neighbor and friend . This was no family snapshot, no captured moment of reality-the purpose for which William Henry Fox Talbot had invented his photographic process in 1839. Cameron meticulously orchestrated a , personifying a verse in Tennyson's "," where flowers, "in gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls," are "sunning over with curls" in a "rosebud garden of girls."

Cameron was forty-eight when her daughter gave her a camera in the hopes that it would "amuse" her, and with the assumption that she would join the legion of amateurs who were exploiting the increasingly easy and reliable picture-making possibilities of

. Instead, Cameron embraced photography with a passionate zeal, challenging the highbrow position that photography was too scientific and too mechanical to be a fine art. By softening the focus, managing the light, and costuming her sitters in , Cameron dissolved the boundary between fact-the province of the photographer-and fiction-the realm of the creative artist. She aimed to achieve the same that inspired the Victorian poets and the Pre-Raphaelite painters with whom she was closely connected.
My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of high Art.
-Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864

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From its individually carved to the , this figure pays homage to a person of in culture. Broad refer to his fortitude as a , while the thickset leg and shoulder muscles, indicating
, are a stylistic feature of many Chokwe leadership figures. The on one thigh and the on the other may refer to a legendary who introduced to the Chokwe people.

Chokwe art intended to honor leaders flourished when the Chokwe gained independence from the Lunda people in the mid-19th century and expanded their influence across northern Angola and southern Congo. To memorialize fierce chiefs, artists drew on a long tradition of , producing elaborate figures and masks and intricate stools and chairs. Here, the Chokwe carver incorporated the desired aspects of

, , and —through stylistic elements such as the in relief and the broad, gleaming . Figures such as this one reinforce the notion of rulers as , responsible for the , , and of their people.
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The quality of  is characteristic of the work of . It looks like an ancient and mysterious ritual object, yet it is cast in , which places it in our technological age. The glass is both and , which allows the work to respond to its environment. Second Vase is a masterpiece of restraint-the rough glass and its imperfections countered by the sculpture's ideal proportions, the interior of its neck embellished with . It belongs to a based upon . Ben Tré has said of the works of this series that "there are always two cavities or hollows which never connect. This separation speaks to me of the that exists between the sexual, spiritual, and intellectual aspects of ourselves."

Ben Tré's sculptures begin as gestural drawings, which he develops into full-scale models made of cardboard and polystyrene. The casting process, which involves repeatedly heating and cooling the glass within a sand-and-resin mold, can take two months. The works are finished in Ben Tré's Pawtucket, Rhode Island, studio, where they may be enriched with materials such as bronze powder or gold leaf.

Second Vase is part of the of , one of the nation's most extensive, which includes works by many leading American and European artists.

He is engaged in inventing the forms of an imagined civilization, which has discovered how to mold glass.
-Critic Arthur Danto, 1999

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Born in Williamsburg (now Nineveh), Indiana, was a gifted, versatile, and cosmopolitan painter who, through his work and his teaching, became one of the most influential artists of his era. He excelled at both Impressionist landscapes and realistic still lifes, but his most memorable canvases are the
, which add an engaging
note to his virtuosity. Here the artist's , who confronts the viewer with a , assumes her place within a delightful series of female that Chase painted between 1886 and 1902. Chase and his family lived in , and Chase's elaborately decorated studio on Tenth Street was a center for the promotion of his art and a gathering place for New York artists. Dressed in a flowing cape and accompanied by his Russian wolfhounds, Chase presented himself as an aristocratic bohemian.

The vigorous brushwork and fresh color that are characteristic of much of the best American painting of the early 20th century owe a good deal to Chase's style. Among his many pupils were painters who would emerge as leading American modernists, including Charles Demuth, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a large collection of canvases by William Merritt Chase, including numerous early works and a variety of still lifes and figure paintings.

The entire New York world of painting was dominated by William Merritt Chase, a glittering personality.
-Artist and critic Guy Pène du Bois, 1940

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Real , carved ridges representing the , and encircling the eyes make this a remarkably realistic likeness of an . This is traditionally worn by an participating in an on the , part of the nation of Guinea-Bissau. The youngest Bidjogo boys wear masks in the shape of calves or nonthreatening species of fish; as they progress toward full maturity, young men wear more elaborate ox or shark masks and mimic the animals’ ferocity. The masker wears the sculpture on top of his head, with the animal’s face pointing upward, and sometimes assumes the ox’s four-legged stance. The heavier the mask, the more courage and maturity its young bearer demonstrates.

The Bidjogo Islanders’ carvings are , whereas those of their mainland neighbors tend to be more abstract. This mask is made with real horns axed with resin. Ox-headed masks such as this one are the most representational of the Bidjogo animal-shaped headpieces, which also include images of crocodiles, sharks, and hippopotamuses. These masks honor the animals’ power—and threat—within the life of the Bidjogo people.

For the Bidjogo, the ox is a valued domestic animal that signifies .

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This work importantly demonstrates 's movement away from what he came to perceive as the limited realm of painting into the expansive world of light, space, and multisensory perception. belongs to the celebrated of that Irwin created between <1966 and 1969>. This , which consists of a central, slightly convex acrylic disk bisected by a horizontal three-inch-wide gray line, appears to in the air, but is in fact from a concealed clear Plexiglas cylinder protruding nearly two feet from the wall. The disk is cross-lit by two incandescent lights on the floor and two on the ceiling. The lights, which are equidistant from each other, cast four symmetrical, overlapping on the wall, producing a four-leaf clover or halolike effect. In this work, Irwin used plastic, aluminum, light, and color to blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture, architecture, and the viewer.

Before moving into the disk series, Irwin exhibited Abstract Expressionist paintings at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, where he met artists interested in Asian mysticism and Zen. He also began reading the existential perceptual philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which emphasized that perception requires an interactive relationship between the body and an object in the world. Increasingly, Irwin experimented with reductive, Minimalist painting techniques in order to make the edges of his paintings appear to dissolve. In the disk series, Irwin eliminated the square format entirely, using an oval as a means of engaging the surrounding world more directly.

Visually it was very ambiguous which was more real, the object or its shadow. They were basically equal.
-Robert Irwin, 1982

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In this , a flaunts its prey, possibly a goat. Boldly textured with triangles mimicking the spots of the fur, stout bowed legs, coiled tail, and linear teeth, the stool is designed for a man of . This seat would have served as a public statement of a prestigious man’s taste, personality, and wealth. It links the owner with the unmistakable might of the leopard, an animal portrayed often in the leadership arts. The object’s nature means that the community could take pleasure in its design, in the skill and invention of the artist, and in the carving style unique to his locality. Nian dan is a Baule phrase meaning “to look fixedly, to take a good, long look,” referring to the derived from nonreligious objects such as this stool. In contrast, stools carved by some neighbors of the Baule contained ancestral spirits and therefore could only be appropriately regarded with deference to their sacredness.

The drama of a feline predator conquering a smaller animal may echo popular fables. The dense pattern, emphatic lines, and sturdy balance reflect the enviable stature of the stool’s owner, as well as the decisive order of nature.

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This work questions the role of -what refers to as "the idea of the model"-and the various ways they can be interpreted. Amer made two jumpsuits, one noticeably "female" and the other recognizably "male." Embroidered across the suits are the words " loves " and "Ken loves Barbie." This famous couple may evoke childhood memories of a powerful role-playing game. The fantasy of the perfectly beautiful Barbie meeting the handsome, romantic Ken becomes a stereotypical heterosexual model that many young girls aspire to re-create in their own lives.

Here, though, we have just the suggestion of these emblematic dolls, blown up to life-size. Barbie and Ken are missing, replaced by for us to inhabit. But what woman or man could fill these suits, with their loaded childhood dreams? Are these outfits empty because people have abandoned the limitations of these roles? Despite the title of the work, the absence of a female in Barbie's suit or a male in Ken's leaves open the possibility that either gender could choose which one to wear. Amer characteristically resists the rigid fixity that these childhood toys rely upon.

The idea of the model to be followed is what interests me in stereotypes; and we are all confronted by this in our lives.
-Ghada Amer, 1994

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The forty-one-character inside the neck of this —there is an identical one on a similar vessel in the Palace Museum, Taipei—is famous for being the first to mention the in order to make other . The older bronzes were melted down at the behest of Yi, a nobleman who lived in south central China, near today’s Wuhan in Hubei province. The inscription in the container continues, explaining that Yi’s vessel held “ for entertaining guests. May his virtue be without flaw; thereby being filial, thereby feasting [ancestors], and thereby being given long life. May his descendants thereby receive limitless great blessings.” The “wine” was a grain-based alcoholic beverage.

The style of their bronzes shows that the people of the modified many of the traditions they inherited from Shang artisans. Where Shang containers are often elegant in shape, Zhou vessels become more and while the bold, animal-based decoration of the earlier objects gradually yields to designs of a more and fluid nature, like the wavy grooves that encircle this container. The numerous creatures of earlier times are here reduced to two: a on either side of the neck.

Yi, the earl of Zeng, used auspicious metal from old vessels and he made this pot. . . .
—Inscription, about 800 BCE

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At some time during its life, the mouth and neck of this common were and broken, yet it was saved and treasured by someone with a discerning eye who appreciated its strength and beauty. The uneven,
and robust shape of this magnificent but
container recall the natural variations in form and color of granite. Typical of ware, the is mixed with pebbles and fragments of stone. The full shoulders taper decisively in an uneven profile, because the potter quickly patted down the clay coils used to form it. During firing, ashes from the burning wood landed on the vessel's surface and were liquefied by the high temperature, forming a natural glaze upon cooling. The variation in color resulted from the different amounts of iron naturally occurring in the ashes.

The jar's eloquence belies its simplicity. The physical damage speaks of the transience of life, even as it exudes an air of antiquity. And despite its surface and shape, the jar evokes a sense of stability. Such contrasts exemplify the Zen Buddhist tenet of , of the innate wholeness of all things. In the latter 16th century, tea masters began to favor rugged, unpretentious vessels like this one as water jars in the ritual of the tea ceremony.

Old Shigaraki pots are fascinating. . . . [I]n these we see . . . the sky and fields of the middle ages.
-Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, 1910-1998

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Densely populated with and active figures, this
depicts a . The Yoruba believe that who die shortly after birth are continually into the same family. These reborn spirits are known as . The scene depicts bringing their to a divination
, who performs a ritual intended to and entice the child spirit to remain with the community.

of Abiku Children is dominated by a large mother-figure, who faces the viewer as she awaits guidance from the priest framed in a doorway to her right. The scene teems with people engaged in various tasks; their large, prominent eyes and the linear scarification marks on their cheeks represent traditional Yoruba .

The artist is the only survivor of seven sets of twins. Formerly known as , he changed his name to in the early 1960s, when he first became successful. His work fuses personal vision with classical Yoruba elements, resulting in a distinctive style characterized by rhythmic designs that often fill the entire picture plane. Some of his works, like this one, cross categories by realizing a due to the . Trained in the workshop of German painters in Nigeria in the 1960s, Twins Seven-Seven is one of that country's most prominent and versatile contemporary artists.

An abiku [is] a child who, according to Yoruba belief, is born to die.
-Dele Jẹgẹdẹ, 2000

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, the dominant figure in American decorative arts for more than half a century, founded several firms to satisfy the strong demand for his metalwork, pottery, and furniture. But his zeal for sensuous materials and striking colors found its fullest expression in his . , the lower half of which appears here, was , second wife and widow of President Benjamin Harrison, upon her husband's death in 1901. It was installed at the , where the president had served as an elder for more than forty years. Perhaps because he carries a trumpet, the figure is often mistaken for Gabriel, Angel of the Annunciation, but it is actually , who signals the dead to rise.

Tiffany, who was absorbed in scores of projects, likely left the window's conception to his team of designers, contributing ideas before giving final approval. His assembly of windows was innovative-the lead does not just hold the glass, it defines the contours of the images and creates decorative patterns. Tiffany also perfected the

, in which glass sheets are sandwiched on top of each other, producing mesmerizing effects of color and depth. The blue ring behind the angel, for example, consists of five layers, creating a dark background that increases the drama of the image.
Awake thou that sleepest. Arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.
-Window inscription, from Ephesians 5:14

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This features a , , and with a lid in the form of a . Evoking , the offering pose of the kneeling female suggests that the object was designed for use in a public room in the owner's home. The bowl probably held kola nuts, a tropical edible, or other offerings traditionally provided to guests.

The mother wears a prominent , while the child has small . The carver devised pleasing and subtle relationships among the sculpture's elements. The work is a handsome example of . In the early 20th century, Yoruba laborers from Nigeria traveled hundreds of miles west to another British colony, Sierra Leone, for work. A quintessential Yoruba object rendered in a style common to the Vai people of the Sierra Leone, this bowl fuses two distinct artistic traditions. Offering bowls depicting a kneeling mother and child are a common Yoruba motif, while Vai carvings are characterized by the shiny black finish, rounded proportions, and cornrow hairstyles notable in this figure. Recent research suggests that a Yoruba resident in Sierra Leone commissioned a Vai carver to produce this remarkable hybrid piece.

Power and awareness lie with the mother; the child's image is proof of her ability and the image of continuity.
-Scholar Martha J. Ehrlich, 1996

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