Gyula Benczúr – Narcissus (1881)

We all know the story by now. Narcissus, a beautiful youth, sees his reflection in a pond and falls in love with his image. Yearning to touch the handsome face staring back at him, but realizing that he cannot, Narcissus pines away and dies. After death, in his place sprouts a flower bearing his name….

Jusepe de Ribera – Penitent Magdalene (1611)

If there was ever an ultimate “Am I a sociopath?” test, it would have to be Jusepe de Ribera’s Penitent Magdalene painting. I dare you not to cry. It’s hard for me to put into words what moves me about this painting. Ribera’s artistry and understanding of the human psyche are beyond words. In fact,…

Artemisia Gentileschi – Jael and Sisera (c. 1620)

The sight of a female painter in 17th century Italy must have been an absolute rarity, but Artemisia Gentileschi was lucky enough to be taught to paint in her father’s workshop. It was there where she also met Agostino Tassi, another artist that her father, Orazio Gentileschi, had hired to tutor her. One day Tassi…